Short for artificial intelligence, AI is the science of creating intelligent computer programs and machines in an attempt to mimic the human level of intelligence.

Artificial intelligence (referred to as AI in this article) and computing are inextricably linked, and whether you realize it or not, AI plays a huge role in our daily lives. In reality, this is less than HAL 9000 and more iPhone X . Here is a rundown of where AI originated, where it is today, and where it is headed in the future.

History of artificial intelligence

Since the dawn of computing in the mid-20s th century, AI has been central to many computer scientists; discipline was outlined and formalized at Dartmouth College in 1956. Immediately after, the industry faced an avalanche of funding and looked like human-level artificial intelligence was on the horizon.

Early AIs were tasked with solving mazes, communicating in simple sentences, and controlling rudimentary robots.

However, 20 years later, the promise of near-human intelligence has not come. Limited computing power made many difficult tasks impossible, and as public support faltered, funding also dwindled. Most importantly, the researchers overestimated and underestimated what turned investors off.

The second boom in the 1980s brought about computers that could make decisions based on a pre-programmed set of problems. Yet these AIs were too dumb. They lacked practical application, so after a few years the industry experienced another downturn.

Then came a new class of artificial intelligence: machine learning, in which computers learn and improve from experience rather than needing special programming to complete a task. In 1997, as a result of machine learning to artificial intelligence, a supercomputer defeated a chess opponent for the first time, and just 14 years later Watson computer defeated two human rivals in «Danger»!

From the early 2000s until today, a high level of artificial intelligence has been noted. Other subsets of artificial intelligence have emerged, including data mining neural networks and deep learning. With ever faster computers, able to perform more complex tasks, AI has seen a huge surge and has become an important part of everyday life, affecting everything from your drive to working in a cat’s gif you’re just sharing with your mom.

AI now

Today, artificial intelligence has found limitless applications. Research is focused on just about any application, but robots, autonomous vehicles, and even drones are some of the best known.

Simulation and simulated environments are another area that has benefited from increased computing power. Indeed, some video game simulations have become so detailed and realistic that some have suggested that we have to live in a computer simulation.

Finally, language learning is one of the most ambitious and challenging AI projects currently being worked on. Of course, Siri can answer a question with a preprogrammed answer, but the type of conversation you saw in «Interstellar» between TARS and Matthew McConaughey’s character is still undecided.

AI in your daily life

  • Spam email filters : If you’ve ever wondered why you don’t see letters from Nigerian princes anymore, you can thank artificial intelligence. Spam filters now use AI to recognize and learn which emails are real and which are spam. And as these AIs learn, they get better — in 2012, Google claimed to have detected 99 percent of email spam, and by 2015 that indicator has been updated to 99.9 percent .
  • Mobile checks : How can your phone read and deposit checks, even handwritten ones? You guessed it — AI. Handwriting reading has historically been a problem for AI systems, but has now become commonplace. Now you can even see live translations of text using camera smartphone with google translate.
  • Tagging images on Facebook : Face recognition has long been a common theme in spy movies, but with the world uploading billions of face images online every day, it has become a reality. Every time Facebook recognizes and offers to tag a friend in a picture, it’s artificial intelligence that’s hard at work.

What is the future of AI?

Although films like «Terminator» and «Matrix» have convinced some people that maybe we shouldn’t teach computers to think, researchers are more focused on building C3POs and WALL-Es. Useful AI like driverless cars, smartphones and houses that predict your every need, and even robots that deliver groceries are right around the corner.

And as we move further into the stars AI controlled robots will be invaluable when exploring worlds too hostile to humans.

Some experts such as Elon Musk warn that advanced AI presents significant risks and challenges, such as robots taking over almost all jobs, especially those in manufacturing, which already faced a huge job loss due to automation . However, progress is being made in AI, even if we’re not sure where it’s headed.

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