You’ve seen it mentioned in a myriad of sci-fi films, such as the Terminator series, and have heard your friends talk about it in an off-the-cuff fashion…you maybe even saw exhibits about it at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center. But now that we’re in the year 2020, do the images of a SkyNet-like AI taking over our world seem so far-fetched?

Well, we’re not going to go that far…but what exactly is artificial intelligence at its core? What is it bringing to the technology sector in all disciplines? This is a subject that we here at Vizen know something about, given our approach to performance management via Empowered-AI, a transformative SaaS enabled solution that’s changing customer and employee engagement. We also offer compelling AI services in the areas of operational analytics, including strategic data workshops, business analytics as a service and the aforementioned Empowered-AI Performance Management.

As a basic definition, artificial intelligence is described as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks usually requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translation between languages.” In more practical terms, you have a machine with the skills that mimic human intelligence in order to complete a task.

One thing we want to make a distinction about, though, is that a machine boasting the intelligence to process human speech and converse is not the same thing as thinking like a human. In other words, the robots and a Jetsons-esque society may be coming, but they’re a long way off.

The Different Types of Artificial Intelligence

For informative purposes, the following are ways to think of the different parts of the artificial intelligence definition as they relate to human intelligence:

The Intelligence to See This is also referred to as “computer vision;” to be able to see what is going on or process images.
The Intelligence to Hear and Speak The machine needs to be able to listen to what you’re saying, process it and then, depending on the application, respond (this ability is known as natural language processing, and virtual assistants like Alexa use it).
The Intelligence to Do (and Translate) While this may be the most obvious of the three, it’s just as important to detail; this is when the machine can learn to perform tasks, including being able to translate between languages.

Technical Distinctions Between the Types of Artificial Intelligence

There are two primary specialized types of artificial intelligence – “weak” and “strong” – and each brings with it different benefits.

Weak AI The AI focuses on one task that doesn’t demand “true” intelligence; the benefit here is an automation of tasks.
Strong AI The AI here receives more stimulus and the machine begins to boast the same level of intelligence as a human brain; the primary benefit from all this is problem-solving.

You should now have a good understanding of what artificial intelligence is essentially about. We are excited that you have turned to Vizen to learn about it!

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