The Basics of Artificial Intelligence

Put simply, artificial intelligence is the branch of computer science that delves into the possibility that machines can think. As it blurs the lines between human and machine, artificial intelligence is an amalgamation of physiology, philosophy, and computer science. While AI has met with considerable skepticism and even fear, scientists have made spectacular innovations proving that the claim of creating thinking machines is not as doubtful as many people feel. This article discusses some of the basic principles in artificial intelligence.

The first important goal of artificial intelligence is to define intelligence. Does it only consist of solving problems, seeing a connection between two different concepts, and making generalizations? How important is sensory perception to intelligence? These are some of the concerns which AI scientists try to understand. A great challenge among experts is creating a machine that can imitate the working of the human brain. A breakthrough invention in this matter was Alan Turing’s test. Turing was a British scientist who claimed that if a computer could convince a human that it was a human as well, it could prove that machines were intelligent.

It is important to know the history of artificial intelligence and the various pitfalls and struggles of the pioneers of the field. While ancient philosophers formulated the theories which would later be used in AI, interest in the field gained real momentum in 1943 when the first computer was invented. It made available to scientists the technology that could imitate intelligent behavior and perhaps even stimulate it. Over the years, AI has grown into a flourishing science with people developing programs that can play chess with humans or even diagnose a variety of diseases.

The Different Approaches
The different methods of research have caused artificial intelligence to branch into two approaches. The first is known as the bottom-up approach and the second is the top-down approach.

The first school of thought suggests that artificial intelligence can be achieved through building an electronic counterpart of the human brain. It starts from the absolute basic by focusing on the work of neurons. The scientists then build electronic circuits in the place of the neurons which carry out the same functions.

The top-down approach establishes that to achieve artificial intelligence a computer doesn’t have to be designed like the human brain and instead only needs to imitate its behavior. This approach focuses more on rules and the computer’s ability to decide whether a certain fact applies to this rule or not. The scientists, then, design the computer to answer to different prompts based on this rule. For example, if a food is sweet, cold, and brown, the computer will use its programmed rules to deduct that this food is a chocolate ice cream. This imitates the process of logical deduction of the human brain.

Artificial intelligence has made great strides and constantly aids us in different aspects of our lives. From word processing applications to the humanoid robots, scientists are working hard to create a machine that can perform the functions of the human brain.