Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

A brief look at the past

Alan Turing proposed the ever-important question that we still are asking ourselves and don’t have a complete sophisticated answer to. It was, “Can Machines think?”. The answer to this question is perhaps a bit fuzzier than permitted to be called completely scientific. What we know for sure, is that we, currently can’t conclude any of the existing extremities. Machines might end up thinking like we do, or they might not. The only way to be absolutely sure is through continued and selfless advancements in science and technology which brings us to the question, where are we now, how far to go and how far ahead are we?

The overall computational capability of machines and how well they can mimic humans has increased manifold. Right from Deep-blue defeating World champion Garry Kasparov in Chess to Deepmind’s AlphaGo achieving the holy grail of intelligence by mastering the ancient Chinese game GO, machines are getting closer to thinking and acting like humans and in some cases even better. Machine learning forms the basic of all the technology that enables our computers to become “smart”. To formalize, Machine learning is a way to make machines recognize objects and patterns on their own without giving them any explicit instructions.

This might seem a little unsettling to someone with only a general knowledge about how basic tech nowadays work but in reality, basic implementation is quite simple. Apply machine learning to a level where we would not even be required to predefine the question, we need answer to, then what we have is an AI. Scientists are constantly researching to formalize human intelligence and to create a quantitative framework that would assist us in creating and deploying more of these Artificial Intelligence systems.

The Importance of Data

Data is everywhere around us. Data is paramount to creating and deploying competent AI systems. Machine learning algorithms, which are one of the most basic and widely used techniques to create primitive AI systems, are built to “learn” to perform tasks by understanding data. The efficiency of the result depends upon the amount as well as the quality of the data that we provide to any system. Humans get better at cognition and decision making with age as humans acquire knowledge and accumulate experiences. For a computer system, we provide these experiences that a human accumulates over the course of his life through huge sets of data. To put it in perspective, the ability of a 20-year-old human in recognizing dogs can be given to a computer system by training it over thousands of pictures of dogs for a few hours. It is exactly similar to how a human learns, the difference being a computer is able to do it at a much faster rate. Data drives technology today enabling businesses and professionals to deliver exactly what the customers need.


How does AI affect us?

AI is impacting every single aspect of our lives nowadays. From huge data centres of multinational corporations to right in the grasp of our palm, AI is omnipresent.

  • Transforming the social media landscape by personalizing feed to our likenesses.
  • Digital assistants (Siri, Cortana, etc.) are revolutionizing the way information and services are being acquired over the internet.
  • Self-driving cars are using Deep learning (a subset of AI) algorithms to navigate through the best possible driving scenarios and through simulated training they are improving themselves learning from their own mistakes.
  • Gmail uses assistive technology for its email filtering and smart responses.
  • AI technologies are so embedded in our lifestyle today that by analyzing our habits they are able to provide us with product recommendations, music suggestions and even travel plans for the places we’d like to visit.
  • AI is transforming healthcare by assisting doctors in pre-diagnosis and prioritizing patients based on the risk factor.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning is completely transforming the entire landscape of technology and the way we see it. Automotive, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Business, Finance, AI applications have found their use in every sector. AI is the future, there is no stopping it. Businesses are now required to prepare for this technological outbreak. The advent of AI to be an inseparable element of human personal and social life is unrestrainable. What’s more important though is understanding that this progression in technology is not a sprint but is a long and enduring marathon that we all need to keep running as a species.