The human brain is the most advanced and complex part of the whole human body. It is a result of billions of years of evolution. Even today, scientists are unable to entirely explain how exactly the thinking process works. We apparently are not intelligent enough to understand how we became intelligent. Scientists believe that we are not even making use of a fraction of our brain’s potential. But that discussion is for another day. This article is focused on a new interesting field of science that popped up in the last few decades, artificial intelligence or AI.
What is artificial intelligence?
Wikipedia defines Artificial intelligence (AI) simply as intelligence exhibited by machines. That is the core idea, but there is more to it.
Hollywood movies have made believe that AI means giving emotions to machines. That is far from the truth. Artificial intelligence is the use of smart algorithms and complex computer programming to make machines mimic human thinking. It means enabling machines to take inputs, think like a human brain and give an efficient and logical output. A fully fledged AI can thus, theoretically pass the Turing test.
Many readers will think that this happens only in fiction and are something that will never happen, many readers would be wrong. There is immense research happening in this area, and there has been many commendable products and advancements in the field.
Things such as Self-driving cars, Virtual assistants, speech recognition are happening around us. Optical recognition, or simply “Reading”, a human ability, is now no more a wonder, even smartphones can do that now. Similarly, there will come a time in our lifetime where AI will find a place in our day to day lives.
Applications of artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence has so much potential that once it gets advanced enough, it will be a part of absolutely everything. Even the sky will not be the limit when this time. Even now, AI is advanced enough to find the following uses in the world:
In the last decade, we saw smartphones becoming popular taking over the world. Virtual assistants became a part of them over the past few years. iOS has Siri; Windows has Cortana and Android has the Google Assistant. Of these 3, Siri is by far the most advanced. It comes integrated with every Apple iPhone. You can give it instructions to set alarms, reminders, ask for the weather conditions and do tons of things with it. Virtual assistants are programmed to learn with each human interaction and develop its understanding of human behavior, and this helps serving users better.
Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive computing will once reach that point when it can anticipate human needs and make human-like split second decisions based on inputs and experience.
This is a field that is so advanced that you will see the technology getting implemented in the next few years. Cars that does not require the involvement of a human. Think that it is fiction? It is not. Google and Tesla have been working on independent projects, and both of them are at its final stages. The car is driven by an AI and the AI, decides routes, controls the car and transports the passenger without disturbing them. All of these becomes possible through sensors and brilliant programming.
Online customer support (Chat bots)
These days, a lot of companies are using chatbots as a part of their customer service. These are algorithms that attempts to solve the problems of the users taking ideas from a data set and previous user experience. Try using the several chatbots in Facebook messenger app, or have a chat with the Google Assistant, you will certainly be amazed. All of these are possible due to smart algorithms and even smarter programmers.
Apart from these, AI finds uses in medical, military and communication fields.
Cognitive computing VS traditional programming
A program is how humans can give machines tasks and make them process data. Traditional programming refers to the use of programming languages to create software. Cognitive computing is the more advanced counterpart of that.
Cognitive computing or CC refers to technology platforms that make use of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, etc. Software or hardware that makes use of all these advanced computing techniques and imitates the functioning of a human brain can be called as examples of cognitive computing.
Cognitive computing is most used in the field of data analytics. Some of the existing applications are Face detection, Speech recognition, Behavior Analysis, Sentiment analysis.
IBM Watson is a super computer that powers many applications in the field of Cognitive Computing. The IBM Watson APIs are used by a lot of developers to create applications.
Artificial Neural Network VS Human Brain
The human brain is the most complex and powerful computer in existence. We haven’t even tapped the edge of its full potential. The neural network is a biological network that connects every part of our body to the brain. The transmission speed of nerve impulses can be as high as 119m/s.
An artificial neural network, as you guessed is the digital version of this. It is a smart network that can change its structure based on the information that flows into it. It is always learning from each of the inputs and adapts itself to be more efficient. An ANN can learn from the input data sets. It can find patterns, ideal inputs, ideal solutions.
ANNs have more than three highly interconnected layers. Much like the human neural network, these layers receive data sets from the layer before it. The first layer takes the input, and the processing happens on each layer. Each layer has its own area of processing and uses rules that it knows or understood itself to process the input data. Ultimately, the last layer gives the output.
ANNs are being used widely where advanced processing is required. Cognitive computing, data mining, pattern recognition, face recognition, Temperature and Force Prediction, weather forecast are some of the common places where you will find an ANN in action.
List of programming languages for artificial intelligence
After creating algorithms, it needs to be coded in a specific programming language to be run on a machine. Even in its current adolescent stage, artificial intelligence, a lot of programming languages are available to back it up. Some popular programming languages such as Python and C++ can also be used for this. Deep knowledge of a language is necessary for a programmer to be able to work on artificial intelligence programs.
IPL or Information Processing Language, developed in 1956, was the first language to be made for artificial intelligence.
AIML or Artificial Intelligence Markup Language, an advanced form of XML is used to create the chatbots that you use.
Smalltalk is an Object Oriented Programming language, that is being used a lot for Artificial neural networks, machine learning, etc.
Good old Python
Conclusion: Artificial Intelligence and Human Conscience
Science fiction movies such as “I, Robot” directed by Alex Proyas have talked about Artificial Intelligent systems that grew a conscience. These had plots that mostly centered on such AI systems trying to take control of the earth. Even though that’s fiction, we are definitely nearing to a future where such systems will exist. Artificial Intelligence is a field where extensive research is going on, and a lot of money is flowing. Maybe one-day science fiction will become fact and it may or may not lead to a better life for humankind.
Also published on Medium.