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What is AI and how can it be a gamechanger?

First, we need a basic definition of artificial intelligence.

AI is the ability of machines and computers to mimic the human mind’s decision-making and problem-solving capabilities. Note that that ability is limited at present. But, it still has massive implications for everything that constitutes the human world.

Now let’s go a little deeper.

With AI, machines can understand and achieve specific goals. It is built on machine learning and deep learning.

Machine learning is the process by which machines automatically learn from existing data. However, some human intervention is involved in the process. Here, the machine usually requires more structured data to learn.

The second component, deep learning, allows machines to absorb large amounts of unstructured data in the form of text, images, and audio. Unlike machine learning, it doesn’t require human intervention to process data. Deep learning comprises neural networks.

Key features of AI
An AI system must have some of the following characteristics:

  • Observation
  • Analytical ability
  • Problem-solving
  • Learning

The sub-fields of AI are:

  • Deep learning
  • Machine learning

Broadly speaking, AI can be divided into two categories.

The first is known as narrow AI, and it’s the kind that can today be found everywhere – from detecting faces in pictures and flagging content online to dealing with simple customer care inquiries. The most common example of narrow AI that you’ll run into is the online chatbot.

The second is general AI, and it remains just a concept to date. General AI is envisioned to be as adaptable and flexible as human intelligence.

However, by when we will be able to develop general AI is a subject that is being hotly debated. Some say it’ll arrive as soon as 2040, while others say it’s centuries away.

So what are we using AI for at present? Some of the most common examples of real-world applications of AI systems are speech recognition, customer service, computer vision, recommendation engines, and automated stock trading. However, this is by no means an exhaustive list.

But why is this technology considered a gamechanger? Let’s just listen to what Pricewaterhouse Cooper has to say on the topic.

According to PwC, AI could contribute up to 15.7 trillion dollars to the global economy in 2030. Of this, 6.6 trillion dollars are likely to come from just increased productivity and the remaining 9.1 trillion dollars from consumption-side effects.

China and North America are expected to be the biggest beneficiaries, with China seeing a 26% boost to GDP, and North America 14.5%

Let that sink in.

Only time will tell whether AI will replace humans and take over the world like in the movies. However, either way, it’s best that we prepare ourselves for an AI-driven life. Business Standard


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