What is AI?


Artificial intelligence popularly known as AI is a broad area of computer science that deals with creating machines that are equally intelligent as human beings. In simple words, Artificial Intelligence is a concept of having ‘Thinking machines’ that can simulate human intelligence. It provides an ability to machines to independently perform tasks like Learning a language, Playing Chess, Self-driving a Car, Project Planning, Problem Solving etc. without the help of any human interference. Now, Let’s explore what is AI ?


The term AI was first conceptualized by American computer scientist John McCarthy in summer 1956 at Dartmouth Conference. Also in early 1950, English computer scientist, Alan Turing introduced – Turing Test, which indicated a machine or a computer’s ability to exhibit human intelligence. But at that time, due to limitations in computing hardware and slow processing speeds, research in the field of AI did not gain momentum. In 1997, AI came back into the limelight when a chess-playing computer developed by IBM named ‘ Deep Blue’ won the chess tournament by defeating world champion Grandmaster Garry Kasparov.


In the beginning of 21st century, due to advancements in computing hardware and powerful processing speeds, the forgotten chapter of AI was once again revived. Since then Technology that was once confined to classrooms and University conferences came out to unlock vast expanses for the betterment of mankind.

Again in 2011, IBM came out with a modern Artificially Intelligent computer system – IBM Watson. IBM Watson was first of its kind computer system that incorporated Natural language processing. Some researchers even termed it as – the most powerful natural language supercomputer ever produced. In the same year, IBM Watson proved its worth by winning Jeopardy- America’s favourite game show against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, two of the most successful contestants of the show. This Event captured enough attention from all over the world and was praised by prominent Business leaders.


AI - IBM Watson

IBM Watson

Now, you might be quite familiar with the term Artificial Intelligence. But have you ever wondered, How can a computer process natural human language? How can a computer learn on its own without any need for programming? Let’s explore.

How Does AI Systems work?


Let’s travel back into the summer of 1956 at Dartmouth workshop where Professor John McCarthy first conceptualized the term ‘ Artificial Intelligence’. Professor Mccarthy decided to organize a group of Mathematicians and Computer scientists to develop practical ideas about how to make machines intelligent. In his own words

” An attempt will be made to find how to make Machines use language, form abstractions and concepts, solve kind of problems now reserved for humans, and improve themselves”.

This Proposal gave birth to a new chapter of computer science, – ‘ Artificial Intelligence’. Artificial Intelligence is a very broad field of computer science which is further studied in disciplines such as  – Natural language processing, Theory of computation, Abstraction, Deep Learning, Neural nets and MachineLearning.


   Machine Learning

AI- Sofia Robot

Artificially Intelligent Robot- Sophia

Machine Learning is the Backbone of today’s AI systems. Machine Learning gives freedom to computers to learn from Data with minimal Programming. Machine Learning uses special algorithms that are fed up with structured(in spreadsheets) and unstructured(random) data. These algorithms analyze data to detect patterns and generate insights. To summarize, Machine Learning is AI-driven Technology that relies on special algorithms designed to generate Valuable Insights and aid in better Decision making. 

What makes these algorithms unique is their ability to improve themselves as they gain experience on the subject. These algorithms are categorized into three types: Supervised machine learning algorithms, Reinforcement machine learning algorithms and Unsupervised machine learning algorithms.

Supervised machine learning algorithms are first trained by providing both input data and desired output data. Based on the experience gained from training data set, these algorithms can apply what has been learned, to new data where only input is given and best-fit output is predicted by algorithms.

Unsupervised machine learning algorithms are complex algorithms which are fed with a large amount of input data. These algorithms then analyze large data sets and find out unique patterns. These algorithms are based on a unique approach termed as – ‘Neural Networks’ to find out desired output. Again, Neural networks form the building blocks of Deep Learning architecture.


Deep Learning

Deep Learning

Deep Learning is a subset of Machine learning. Deep Learning has true potential to revolutionize the field of artificial intelligence. Deep learning utilizes artificial Neural networks interconnected by neurons( similar to that found in the human brain) to analyze big data sets. These Neural networks can independently make connections and interpret information without relying on pre-defined algorithms.

In short, Machines powered with Deep Learning architecture can independently learn on any subject and over time refine its analysis based on experience. As we know, most of the data produced today by humans and machines are unstructured data (emails, documents, web pages, images etc.). Unstructured Datasets are very complex to analyze. It is very difficult to find outputs from unstructured data unless you have very high computational power and complex algorithm structure. These are where Neural networks come into play. Neural networks are designed in multiple layers so as to accurately analyze unstructured as well as structured big data and correctly predict insights.

Deep Learning and Neural networks are the core technology that gives the cognitive ability to Today’s machines such as Natural Language Processing, Speech Recognition, Image Recognition.


Applications of Artificial Intelligence


Artificial intelligence has a wide range of applications which are redefining technologies and making our lives more convenient than ever. By 2024, Artificial Intelligence industry is expected to cross $24 Billion. Let’s explore how AI is changing our lives.


Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: One of the most promising applications of AI is – the transforming of healthcare systems. Right from managing Medical records to Real-time monitoring of patient’s health and furthermore Robots assisting doctors in performing complex surgeries, artificial intelligence is literally revolutionizing the healthcare industry faster than we can ever imagine. With the introduction of IBM Watson Health Cloud, the healthcare industry has seen a big turnaround. With the help of IBM Watson cloud, Doctors can now effectively analyze real-time medical data of a patient and suggest the most effective prescription based on patient’s medical history.

Ibm Watson Health Cloud


Artificial Intelligence in Self-driving cars: Since the inception of AI in the automotive industry, companies such as Tesla, Google, Uber, Ford, Toyota etc. have developed successful prototypes of Self-Driving Cars. 

These Self-driving cars are equipped with speciality Sensors that are connected to a central computer powered by AI. These cars can sense moving objects such as cyclists, pedestrians, cars, trucks etc. as well as stationary objects such as Traffic Signals, Traffic signs etc. and can effectively take decisions based on the traffic situation.

ai google's self driving ca

  Google’s Lexus RX 450h Self-Driving Car

According to a report, Google is also currently working with Rolls-Royce to implement Artificial Intelligence in the maritime industry to make sea vessels more efficient and safe.  

Artificial Intelligence in Banking and Financial services: One of the topmost application of AI in banking and Financial services in fraud detection. Using Artificial Intelligence, Banks and Financial institutions can now process huge amount of transactions and instantly detect suspicious transactions, which could be an attempt at fraud occurrence and send warning message to banks and financial institutions

Insurance companies can now easily process a large number of claims and assist clients in the preliminary process such as to fill out forms, upload documents etc.

Artificial Intelligence in Energy Management: You will be amazed to know that of 100% power produced at the power plant, as much as 15% of power is lost in grid transmission. And frankly, for Power utility companies, 15% is a huge loss.

And further, today there are many consumers that are producing their own power by renewable energy sources such as, Windmills, Solar cells etc. and the surplus energy which is left unused is fed into the grid. These rises and falls in power demand are extremely complicated to handle for any human supervisor. This is where AI is helping utility companies by introducing – Smart Grids.

Smart Grids are powered by machine learning algorithms and Artificial Intelligence. Smart Grids with the help of Smart Meters (that are equipped with smart sensors) continuously collects real-time data of power demand and allocates the power based on demand. In short, Smart Grids with the help of artificial intelligence fully automates the power delivery network that will monitors and controls the flow of electricity to every individual consumer.

Artificial Intelligence in the Internet of Things: According to a report published by McKinsey Global Institute, Internet of Things(IoT) is expected to generate $11.1 trillion a year in economic value from the year 2025. And what happens when we connect IoT and AI, the answer is a Revolution.

Data created from the Internet of Things would provide valuable insights and would help us in making better decisions in our respective fields. But the amount of data generated from IoT would be very diverse and would be difficult for humans to analyze. But, Don’t worry because AI is here to help. Artificial Intelligence would accurately analyze complex data generated from IoT to detect patterns and provide valuable insights.

Artificial Intelligence in Smart Farming. Artificial Intelligence is rapidly revolutionising agriculture sector. Modern farmers are now relying on new technologies to increase crop yields. Right from Sowing to Harvesting and even Selling, AI solutions are giving effective predictions that help farmers. By studying Weather Patterns, Soil Conditions, Water Quality etc. AI models can guide farmers in parameters such as, What kind of crop to sow, What is the best time to sow, Where to sell agricultural produce etc.

Even many companies have started using Drones in the agriculture sector. Drones equipped with ai are effectively used in soil analysis, irrigation and aerial crop spraying. Apart from this, images collected from drones when analysed with Artificial Intelligence can help farmers detect unhealthy crops. These unhealthy crops when removed early helps the farmer in increasing overall production of crops.  


Image Credits:

Artificially Intelligent robot – Sophia: https://www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/34989456812

Google’s Self-driving car: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Google%27s_Lexus_RX_450h_Self-Driving_Car.jpg

IBM Watson healthcare cloud: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ibm_es/34622493670

IBM Watson: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IBM_Watson.PNG