Due to a computer passing the ‘Turing test’ for the first time, many have been debating if this is the start of something that will eventually be smarter than humans. AI (artificial intelligence) is an area in computing technology that often confuses people. Many might consider it somewhat of a threat, fearing that their job will be replaced by a machine.
One cannot hope to understand the scope of the AI area of study without knowing what AI actually is. Artificial intelligence is a part of computer science where the aim is to develop systems that are able to do things usually done by humans. Anything that requires a computer to act intelligent can be considered AI. Unlike what many people think, it doesn’t matter how the system solves the problem. The fact that it is able to it is what makes it AI. It does not need to do it by replicating human behaviour.
Artificial Intelligence can be split into 3 main categories which contain a specific type of AI. Strong AI, Weak AI and those in between. When people hear the words AI they often think of a super smart computer that can think and trick humans and is able to take over the world like in the movies. While this is very far from what has actually been created, this is behaviour that falls under Strong AI. Don’t panic just yet … Strong AI are systems that aim to replicate human reasoning. Such systems would be able to think as well as explain how we humans think. However there has never been such a software and we are a long way away from actually being able to create one. The task of creating something that is able to imitate human cognition is incredibly difficult and you can be sure that if it ever happens you can see it on the news!
A weak AI is a system that although it can replicate what a human does, it does it in a completely different manner and has nothing to do with the way humans think. IBM’s Deep Blue is an example of such a system where although it was a master chess player, it did not move the pieces by thinking the way humans do.
Everything in between is where most of the progress is taking place. This middle area of AI is where human behaviour and reasoning is somewhat used as a guideline for the basis of the software. There is no need to entirely replicate it. An example of this is Google’s Deep Learning.
The debates currently taking place are due to a computer passing what is known as the ‘Turing Test’ for the first time. Simply put the Turing test is a test where a judge has to determine whether he is speaking with a person or a machine. A program named Eugene Goostman managed to trick 30% of the judges while posing as a 13 year old Russian boy.
We are still a long way away from having the problem of robotic rebellion on our hands however one cannot deny that AI is a very interesting field in the area of computer science.