Artificial intelligence is intelligence showed by artificial or man-made items like machines or computers. This is in contrast to the natural intelligence that human beings and animals are known to demonstrate. When machines are capable of performing tasks on their own, without needing manual control or constant direction, they are said to be machines having artificial intelligence. This is extremely useful to increase productivity and efficiency and also results in minimal room for error. This is because unlike humans, machines are not prone to exhaustion, distraction and basic human error. This increases accuracy and efficiency. It has also found a place in enhancing user experience in mobiles and other devices. All the digital assistants like Siri and Alexa are examples of artificial intelligence.
What are the types of artificial intelligence?
There are four types of artificial intelligence. They are as follows:
- Reactive machines: Like the name suggests, reactive machines are only capable of functioning as reacting when encountered by an external or internal stimuli. They are designed to do a limited number of tasks and they cannot store any memory of tasks done. An artificial intelligence machine only acts according to the information and rules that is programmed in it. Therefore, it cannot refer to previous decisions made in order to decide its future actions. An example of a reactive machine is a basic chess simulation game where the computer is playing against a human. In this situation, the computer decides the next move solely based on the current position of the pieces.
- Limited memory machines: Unlike reactive machines, the limited memory artificial intelligence can store memory of past decisions and use it to analyze and plan the next decision. It is more complex because it is trained again and again to make precise and informed decisions. The problem solving range of such a machine is wider and more extensive.
- Theory of mind: Theory of mind is a level of artificial intelligence that is yet to be achieved by science. It relies on enabling the machine to have an emotional and empathetic system response in addition to the analytical response. It involves the understanding of feelings, emotions, thoughts and behavior by machines. The machine will essentially need a ‘mind’ to process such information and act accordingly.
- Self awareness: Self awareness in artificial intelligence comes after the stage of theory of mind. It is a level of intelligence where the machines become aware of their existence and develop a humane level of consciousness. They have an understanding about the emotions and feelings of others. This is also a very popular theory in various science fiction movies and books.
Artificial intelligence is now being applied in all phases of digital and online activities. The following are a few major uses:
- Speech recognition: Speech recognition is the ability of digital devices and applications to recognize and understand human speech and convert it into a written format. It is also possible for the system to analyze the written converted speech into being a command and then also convert it into a task. The system will then carry out the task.
- Site recommendations: Recommendation engines working on websites and applications use the data entered by the user to recommend related items or products that they might be interested in. This usually happens on sales retail sites and is a cross selling technique which helps promote related products and services using artificial intelligence.
- Customer service: Nowadays, all companies have replaced primary customer service representatives with online chatbots, that are equipped to answer basic queries and complaints. Even automatic recorded voice responses are used in helplines. This reduces waste of manpower and diverts it towards where it is needed more.
How can artificial intelligence be dangerous?
- Programmed to do illegal activities: Artificial intelligence can be used in weapons and programmed to do illegal and harmful activities by anti-national elements of society.
- Develops self awareness: It has not yet been possible to create artificial intelligence with self awareness. However, it is possible that the machines develop this self awareness and think on their own. If the intelligence has a destructive goal and proceeds towards it, then it can move outside the control of humans.
The benefits of artificial intelligence outweigh the concerns and dangers. However, it is crucial that this field of science be prodded extremely carefully and cautiously. It can greatly contribute to the steady progress of mankind.