Artificial Intelligence – A Simple Definition

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence sounds like something the average person is not dealing with on a regular basis – like, something out of a sci-fi movie. But, if you work in the technology industry you know that artificial intelligence is here to stay and will be impacting everyone on a daily basis. While the world is going through an artificial intelligence craze, prompting immense investment, and gaining the public’s eye, the concept is still little understood.

Layering on top of this, are the concepts of machine learning, deep learning, and neural networks add to the confusion. While the science behind these concepts are rapidly evolving, and can be extremely complex, it is not necessary for most individuals to understand these technologies at this level. For business leaders, having a general idea of the concepts, and their impacts on their businesses will be enough to decide if their company should take advantage.

A Working Definition of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is, at its core, a system that can perform a task using intelligence that mirrors (or is better than) human intelligence. Theoretically, any task that requires human intelligence to accomplish could instead be performed by artificial intelligence assuming the system has the adequate information and capabilities programmed. It accomplishes this by utilizing processes such as machine learning to scour sets of data and utilizing algorithms (instructions, or list of rules a computer should follow to solve a problem), to discover trends in data and provide insights for decision-making. According to the Brookings Institute, the current definition of AI is considered to be, “machines that respond to stimulation consistent with traditional responses from humans, given human capacity for contemplation, judgement, and intention… and make decisions which normally require a human level of expertise, and help people anticipate problems or deal with issues as they arrive.” How this translates into the real world is assisting humans handle repetitive tasks such as data entry, or garnish insights to complex problems by discovering trends in data, and presenting them in a way that is easy for humans to digest and act upon.

AI – Time to Accept and Adapt or Get Left Behind

Artificial intelligence is so powerful because it takes the data gathered from machine learning, analyzes it, and then optimizes operations to improve processes. One significant advantage of AI is that it has the advantages of human intelligence without the risk of human error. Those that are skeptical may decide to wait out adapting to see what others are doing.  While this is better than completely turning a blind eye to artificial intelligence, it still may be problematic. If businesses choose to delay adapting to AI, they may struggle to keep up with their competitors who have already started utilizing the advantages that AI has to offer.

Artificial Intelligence I is not something that is easy or fast to adopt and integrate into business practices, which means that by the time you have decided to use AI, you will already be behind many competitors. Moreover, as you begin the early stages of AI, your competitors will already be improving upon their processes and better utilizing AI. The question lingers – if it is inevitable, why wait and end-up at a disadvantage that could detrimentally affect your company? Artificial intelligence will inevitably uncover insights that facilitate efficiency, targeted and personalized communication, and predict potential problems before they happen. Because of that, businesses that adopt and strategically utilize AI will be at an advantage over those who do not or delay adapting.

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