The term ‘artificial intelligence’ can be quite daunting to the less technologically inclined of us. What we find is that most people appreciate the benefits of what AI can do for you but don’t want to understand the intricacies thereof. They just swot their hand and say: “Just make it work”.

However, when you really dig deeper into what processes underlie AI, you’ll begin to understand more about this technology. This will make you see that it’s not all just about robots and be able to appreciate its use in your business.

The Important Concepts In Artificial Intelligence

There are a number of important concepts in AI. These are:

  • Neural networks
  • Machine learning
  • Deep learning
  • Cognitive computing
  • Computer vision
  • Natural language processing

The first concept that needs to be understood is the term ‘neural networks’. A human’s nervous system is made up of a number of neurons. These are responsible for conducting impulses throughout the body. For example, if you want to lift your arm your brain will send an instruction – via various neurons – to the muscles of the arm that they need to be activated so that you can lift your arm. In artificial intelligence terms, the neurons are units which react in a certain way based on external stimuli.

The next is machine learning. This process makes use of neural networks in order to find hidden insights in data. Through machine learning, the building of analytical models is automated. Deep learning also makes use of neural networks in order to learn patterns in complex sets of data. Outputs of deep learning include image and speech recognition.

Cognitive computing aims to get computers to interact with the world around them in a human-like manner. To borrow from one of our previous articles, an illustration of cognitive computing would be the robot played by Robin Williams in Bicentennial Man. Another example would be the Google Assistant on your Android cellphone. You are able to ask it questions and it responds to you in the same way that another person would. Natural language processing is a closely related concept. It is all about the ability of a computer to analyse, understand and generate speech.

Computer vision relies on the concepts of pattern recognition as well as deep learning in order to recognise what is in a picture or video. A great example of this is Facebook’s innovation for their visually impaired users where they are able to have their timelines read, and described, to them.

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