Artificial Intelligence Then and Now

Artificial Intelligence is the hot topic of the moment in technology, and the driving force behind most of the big technological breakthroughs of recent years. In fact, with all of the breathless hype we hear about it today, it's easy to forget that AI isn't anything all that new. Throughout the last century, it has moved out of the domain of science fiction and into the real world. The theory and the fundamental computer science which makes it possible has been around for decades.

Artificial intelligence services can be understood as a set of tools and programs that makes software "smarter" in a way an outside observer thinks the output is generated by a human. In the most simplistic terms, AI leverages self-learning systems by using multiple tools like data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing. It operates similar to how a normal human brain functions during regular tasks like common-sense reasoning, forming an opinion or social behavior. The main business advantages of AI over human intelligence are its high scalability, resulting in significant cost savings. Other benefits include AI's consistency and rule-based programs, which eventually reduce errors (both omission and commission), AI's longevity coupled with continuous improvements and its ability to document processes - some of the few reasons why Artificial Intelligence agencies is drawing wide interest.

The first practical application of such “machine intelligence” was introduced by Alan Turing, the British mathematician who conceptualized machines that could “think” way back in 1950s. The Turing Test is used to determine a machine’s capability to think like a human being. The seeds of AI were set, and were watered by Marvin Minsky, who set up an AI lab in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1959. His tech mindset allowed him to provide radical ideas to Stanley Kubrick, who made the the iconic sci-fi fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL 9000 from the novel was the ultimate AI representation of those times. This AI-led excitement was then carried on to the 1980s, with the invention of the computer. Thereafter, technology corporations have been doing exploratory research, trying to bring the technology closer to the consumer, both by way of application and affordability.

Considering AI goes so far back in time, one may wonder why it is still called an “emerging technology”. In reality, AI is everywhere, influencing most of our decisions. Our smartphone-led personal assistant is using machine intelligence to recommend the best traffic route to us. Not just personal use, AI is transforming the way we work. Enterprise workforce applications are being remodelled basis machine learning. Brands are being advertised based on continuous learning data inputs that machines receive from various data channels.

Every new technology presents challenges in its widespread adoption. While the above pointers show the bright side of AI, there is the flip side too, which needs to be managed. This is the increased security risk due to data dependence. Also, some experts opine that AI will make human jobs redundant, causing social unrest. It is the responsibility of AI proponents to balance the good and the bad, to make the AI revolution a positive change.

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