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AI – What is it?

This is the first post of  a series of blogs that will take you on a journey of Artificial Intelligence.

“A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing it was human.”

This is what Alan M. Turing, father of modern computer science, talked about a computer way back in the first half of the 20th century and after nearly 100 years, we can see this statement actually turning out to be true.

Have you heard about Sophia? No, she is not a secret Kardashian. She is an actual robot who can actually carry out a conversation without being fed lines……of code to talk about. Here is a video of her talking with Jimmy Fallon, the host of The Tonight Show. 

What did you think of her? She is amazing, right? 

Did you notice how she carries out a normal conversation with Fallon? If she was human, we would have said she is confident with a wicked sense of humour. She delivered the ‘wiping humanity’ joke in the most humanely way possible, with a wink and a laugh. Even though the joke did raise some eyebrows later, the mere thought of how she talked so beautifully makes us think how incredible the robots are nowadays.

Human Language and AI 

The human language, be it English, Mandarin, or any other language you find on earth, is quite complex. 

Time Magazine had the title of one of their articles in their 12th August 2013 issue as,

The Pope’s Baby Steps on Gays.

Shocking, right? It can go either way.

Why don’t we look at another example, shall we? Let us take the sentence below,

If you take out a thesaurus and replace the underlined words with their synonyms, this is an example of what it would look like,

Does it make sense? No, right! This is because the meaning of a word is based on the context of how it is used. Even if you place the right words in the correct order, the conversation will not make sense. 

This particular predicament is the biggest challenge that robots and their creators have to overcome before creating robots and sending them out to the wild, as in letting them deal with normal Homo Sapiens. 

The Robot gods, since they are actually trying to create artificial humans, have a lot on their hands. Apart from creating a robot that looks human, they need to make them sound human too. This is when they started working on the concept of AI or Artificial Intelligence. 

Artificial Intelligence, the Past & Present

Artificial Intelligence, the term, has been floating around for quite some time now. So, I am not going to bore you with the definition and what it is. But I want to just take you down the path quickly.

When Robot Gods first started off creating robots more like machines, it was all Rule-Based Learning where they had to predict all possible situations and think of all the code they had to write for each situation. It was based on algorithms where the robot followed a strict path based on the codes fed to it. In short, the RGs programmed a set of algorithms for the robots to follow for pre-determined situations. It’s fine when you are a factory robot but it was not enough for a self-reliant robot.

The scientists a.k.a the RGs finally tackled this problem by trying to give the concept of Self-Learning where the robot starts learning on its own from the repeated tasks it is given and situations it faces. Basically, the robot in its early stages starts behaving like a toddler on its learning path. Thus, the term Artificial Intelligence. 

The robot was not expected to finish the task on its first try. It was expected to fail in the beginning and then learn new ways to finish the task by repeating it till it learns to complete it successfully. After a period of time, it will start finding ways to complete the same task more efficiently and quickly. It becomes smarter at the different tasks it completes and also can handle situations in a better way similar to how a baby learns to walk by first learning to stand, then walk, and finally run.

You can read more about Artificial Intelligence from our other posts here.

1) AI – What is it?

2) AI – Applications 

3) AI – What next?

Hanfas Backer & Rantej Singh
Hanfas Backer & Rantej Singh