What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to machines and computer programs displaying the kind of intelligence humans and animals use in problem-solving and decision-making. These machines and programs are designed to mimic the human mind, using similar methods of rationality and rational thinking.
As a formal discipline, AI was founded in 1956, although research and theories surfaced before then. One of the most famous examples of AI comes from Alan Turing who, in 1950, proposed the question of whether machines can think like humans. Turing devised a test that, if successful, makes the machine’s intelligence indistinguishable from that of a human.
Since then, AI has advanced in many fields and grown in sophistication and can be classified into weak and strong AI, with the former seen in a lot of everyday uses, like Siri, Alexa, artificial intelligence in healthcare, life science AI, and more, and the latter more closely mimicking actual human intelligence.
Other Names for Artificial Intelligence
- Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)
- Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)
- Machine learning
- Intelligence retrieval
- Expert system
- Knowledge engineering
- Neural network
- Turing test
Why is Artificial Intelligence Technology Important?
Artificial intelligence is important because it streamlines the work process and minimizes human error. Although the aim of AI is modeled after human intelligence, it aims to bypass common heuristics performed by people. Machines and programs that use AI aren’t susceptible to human pitfalls like repetition fatigue; inconsistent and/or slow processing speed; being negatively influenced by emotions or other personal events; the need for sleep to recharge; overestimation of one’s own abilities; and more.
For example, when beginning the patent application process, AI can be a tremendous help in performing a targeted, accurate search and ensuring the best results. A simple initial search with basic search terms can return millions of related patents, which would take far too long for a human to sift through. But with AI assisting the process, the process can be shortened to just a few minutes and return more appropriate and related insights. This is especially true when cross-referencing information against multiple databases, as there is no single, global patent database.
By allowing AI to do the heavy lifting, the operator can instead focus on using traits native to humans to enhance the process, such as personal experiences, gut feelings, emotion-based instincts, and more. Together, a human and AI can uncover technology or innovation trends that perhaps neither could have arrived at on their own.