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Artificial Intelligence | An Introduction

Last Updated : 03 Apr, 2024
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think and act like humans. It involves the development of algorithms and computer programs that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation. AI has the potential to revolutionize many industries and has a wide range of applications, from virtual personal assistants to self-driving cars.

Before leading to the meaning of artificial intelligence let understand what is the meaning of Intelligence- 

Intelligence: The ability to learn and solve problems. This definition is taken from webster’s Dictionary. 

The most common answer that one expects is “to make computers intelligent so that they can act intelligently!”, but the question is how much intelligent? How can one judge intelligence? 

…as intelligent as humans. If the computers can, somehow, solve real-world problems, by improving on their own from past experiences, they would be called “intelligent”. 
Thus, the AI systems are more generic(rather than specific), can “think” and are more flexible. 

Intelligence, as we know, is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge. Knowledge is the information acquired through experience. Experience is the knowledge gained through exposure(training). Summing the terms up, we get artificial intelligence as the “copy of something natural(i.e., human beings) ‘WHO’ is capable of acquiring and applying the information it has gained through exposure.” 

Artificial Intelligence

Intelligence is composed of:  

  • Reasoning
  • Learning
  • Problem-Solving
  • Perception
  • Linguistic Intelligence

Many tools are used in AI, including versions of search and mathematical optimization, logic, and methods based on probability and economics. The AI field draws upon computer science, mathematics, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, neuroscience, artificial psychology, and many others. 

The main focus of artificial intelligence is towards understanding human behavior and performance. This can be done by creating computers with human-like intelligence and capabilities. This includes natural language processing, facial analysis and robotics. The main applications of AI are in military, healthcare, and computing; however, it’s expected that these applications will start soon and become part of our everyday lives.

Many theorists believe that computers will one day surpass human intelligence; they’ll be able to learn faster, process information more effectively and make decisions faster than humans. However, it’s still a work in progress as there are many limitations to how much artificial intelligence is achieved. For example, computers don’t perform well in dangerous or cold environments; they also struggle with physical tasks such as driving cars or operating heavy machinery. Even so, there are many exciting things ahead for artificial intelligence!

Uses of Artificial Intelligence :

Artificial Intelligence has many practical applications across various industries and domains, including:

  1. Healthcare: AI is used for medical diagnosis, drug discovery, and predictive analysis of diseases.
  2. Finance: AI helps in credit scoring, fraud detection, and financial forecasting.
  3. Retail: AI is used for product recommendations, price optimization, and supply chain management.
  4. Manufacturing: AI helps in quality control, predictive maintenance, and production optimization.
  5. Transportation: AI is used for autonomous vehicles, traffic prediction, and route optimization.
  6. Customer service: AI-powered chatbots are used for customer support, answering frequently asked questions, and handling simple requests.
  7. Security: AI is used for facial recognition, intrusion detection, and cybersecurity threat analysis.
  8. Marketing: AI is used for targeted advertising, customer segmentation, and sentiment analysis.
  9. Education: AI is used for personalized learning, adaptive testing, and intelligent tutoring systems.

This is not an exhaustive list, and AI has many more potential applications in various domains and industries.

Need for Artificial Intelligence  

  1. To create expert systems that exhibit intelligent behavior with the capability to learn, demonstrate, explain, and advise its users.
  2. Helping machines find solutions to complex problems like humans do and applying them as algorithms in a computer-friendly manner.
  3. Improved efficiency: Artificial intelligence can automate tasks and processes that are time-consuming and require a lot of human effort. This can help improve efficiency and productivity, allowing humans to focus on more creative and high-level tasks.
  4. Better decision-making: Artificial intelligence can analyze large amounts of data and provide insights that can aid in decision-making. This can be especially useful in domains like finance, healthcare, and logistics, where decisions can have significant impacts on outcomes.
  5. Enhanced accuracy: Artificial intelligence algorithms can process data quickly and accurately, reducing the risk of errors that can occur in manual processes. This can improve the reliability and quality of results.
  6. Personalization: Artificial intelligence can be used to personalize experiences for users, tailoring recommendations, and interactions based on individual preferences and behaviors. This can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  7. Exploration of new frontiers: Artificial intelligence can be used to explore new frontiers and discover new knowledge that is difficult or impossible for humans to access. This can lead to new breakthroughs in fields like astronomy, genetics, and drug discovery.

Approaches of AI

There are a total of four approaches of AI and that are as follows:

  • Acting humanly (The Turing Test approach): This approach was designed by Alan Turing. The ideology behind this approach is that a computer passes the test if a human interrogator, after asking some written questions, cannot identify whether the written responses come from a human or from a computer.
  • Thinking humanly (The cognitive modeling approach): The idea behind this approach is to determine whether the computer thinks like a human. 
  • Thinking rationally (The “laws of thought” approach):  The idea behind this approach is to determine whether the computer thinks rationally i.e. with logical reasoning. 
  • Acting rationally (The rational agent approach): The idea behind this approach is to determine whether the computer acts rationally i.e. with logical reasoning. 
  • Machine Learning approach: This approach involves training machines to learn from data and improve performance on specific tasks over time. It is widely used in areas such as image and speech recognition, natural language processing, and recommender systems.
  • Evolutionary approach: This approach is inspired by the process of natural selection in biology. It involves generating and testing a large number of variations of a solution to a problem, and then selecting and combining the most successful variations to create a new generation of solutions.
  • Neural Networks approach: This approach involves building artificial neural networks that are modeled after the structure and function of the human brain. Neural networks can be used for tasks such as pattern recognition, prediction, and decision-making.
  • Fuzzy logic approach: This approach involves reasoning with uncertain and imprecise information, which is common in real-world situations. Fuzzy logic can be used to model and control complex systems in areas such as robotics, automotive control, and industrial automation.
  • Hybrid approach: This approach combines multiple AI techniques to solve complex problems. For example, a hybrid approach might use machine learning to analyze data and identify patterns, and then use logical reasoning to make decisions based on those patterns.

Applications of AI include Natural Language Processing, Gaming, Speech Recognition, Vision Systems, Healthcare, Automotive, etc. 

Forms of AI:

1) Weak AI:

  • Weak AI is an AI that is created to solve a particular problem or perform a specific task.
  • It is not a general AI and is only used for specific purpose.
  • For example, the AI that was used to beat the chess grandmaster is a weak AI as that serves only 1 purpose but it can do it efficiently.

2) Strong AI:

  • Strong AI is difficult to create than weak AI.
  • It is a general purpose intelligence that can demonstrate human abilities.
  • Human abilities such as learning from experience, reasoning, etc. can be demonstrated by this AI.

3) Super Intelligence

  • As stated by a leading AI thinker Nick Bostrom, “Super Intelligence is an AI that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field”.
  • It ranges from a machine being just smarter than a human to a machine being trillion times smarter than a human.
  • Super Intelligence is the ultimate power of AI.

    An AI system is composed of an agent and its environment. An agent(e.g., human or robot) is anything that can perceive its environment through sensors and acts upon that environment through effectors. Intelligent agents must be able to set goals and achieve them. In classical planning problems, the agent can assume that it is the only system acting in the world, allowing the agent to be certain of the consequences of its actions. However, if the agent is not the only actor, then it requires that the agent can reason under uncertainty. This calls for an agent that cannot only assess its environment and make predictions but also evaluate its predictions and adapt based on its assessment. Natural language processing gives machines the ability to read and understand human language. Some straightforward applications of natural language processing include information retrieval, text mining, question answering, and machine translation. Machine perception is the ability to use input from sensors (such as cameras, microphones, sensors, etc.) to deduce aspects of the world. e.g., Computer Vision. Concepts such as game theory, and decision theory, necessitate that an agent can detect and model human emotions. 

    Many times, students get confused between Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, but Machine learning, a fundamental concept of AI research since the field’s inception, is the study of computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience. The mathematical analysis of machine learning algorithms and their performance is a branch of theoretical computer science known as a computational learning theory. 

    Stuart Shapiro divides AI research into three approaches, which he calls computational psychology, computational philosophy, and computer science. Computational psychology is used to make computer programs that mimic human behavior. Computational philosophy is used to develop an adaptive, free-flowing computer mind. Implementing computer science serves the goal of creating computers that can perform tasks that only people could previously accomplish. 

    AI has developed a large number of tools to solve the most difficult problems in computer science, like: 

  • Search and optimization
  • Logic
  • Probabilistic methods for uncertain reasoning
  • Classifiers and statistical learning methods
  • Neural networks
  • Control theory
  • Languages

High-profile examples of AI include autonomous vehicles (such as drones and self-driving cars), medical diagnosis, creating art (such as poetry), proving mathematical theorems, playing games (such as Chess or Go), search engines (such as Google search), virtual assistants (such as Siri), image recognition in photographs, spam filtering, prediction of judicial decisions[204] and targeted online advertisements. Other applications include Healthcare, Automotive, Finance, Video games, etc 

Are there limits to how intelligent machines – or human-machine hybrids – can be? A superintelligence, hyperintelligence, or superhuman intelligence is a hypothetical agent that would possess intelligence far surpassing that of the brightest and most gifted human mind. ‘‘Superintelligence’’ may also refer to the form or degree of intelligence possessed by such an agent. 

Drawbacks of Artificial Intelligence :

  1. Bias and unfairness: AI systems can perpetuate and amplify existing biases in data and decision-making.
  2. Lack of transparency and accountability: Complex AI systems can be difficult to understand and interpret, making it challenging to determine how decisions are being made.
  3. Job displacement: AI has the potential to automate many jobs, leading to job loss and a need for reskilling.
  4. Security and privacy risks: AI systems can be vulnerable to hacking and other security threats, and may also pose privacy risks by collecting and using personal data.
  5. Ethical concerns: AI raises important ethical questions about the use of technology for decision-making, including issues related to autonomy, accountability, and human dignity.

Technologies Based on Artificial Intelligence:

  1. Machine Learning: A subfield of AI that uses algorithms to enable systems to learn from data and make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed.
  2. Natural Language Processing (NLP): A branch of AI that focuses on enabling computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language.
  3. Computer Vision: A field of AI that deals with the processing and analysis of visual information using computer algorithms.
  4. Robotics: AI-powered robots and automation systems that can perform tasks in manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and other industries.
  5. Neural Networks: A type of machine learning algorithm modeled after the structure and function of the human brain.
  6. Expert Systems: AI systems that mimic the decision-making ability of a human expert in a specific field.
  7. Chatbots: AI-powered virtual assistants that can interact with users through text-based or voice-based interfaces.


Issues of Artificial Intelligence :

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to bring many benefits to society, but it also raises some important issues that need to be addressed, including:

  1. Bias and Discrimination: AI systems can perpetuate and amplify human biases, leading to discriminatory outcomes.
  2. Job Displacement: AI may automate jobs, leading to job loss and unemployment.
  3. Lack of Transparency: AI systems can be difficult to understand and interpret, making it challenging to identify and address bias and errors.
  4. Privacy Concerns: AI can collect and process vast amounts of personal data, leading to privacy concerns and the potential for abuse.
  5. Security Risks: AI systems can be vulnerable to cyber attacks, making it important to ensure the security of AI systems.
  6. Ethical Considerations: AI raises important ethical questions, such as the acceptable use of autonomous weapons, the right to autonomous decision making, and the responsibility of AI systems for their actions.
  7. Regulation: There is a need for clear and effective regulation to ensure the responsible development and deployment of AI.

It’s crucial to address these issues as AI continues to play an increasingly important role in our lives and society.

The Future of AI Technologies:

1. Reinforcement Learning: Reinforcement Learning is an interesting field of Artificial Intelligence that focuses on training agents to make intelligent decisions by interacting with their environment.

2. Explainable AI: this AI techniques focus on providing insights into how AI models arrive at their conclusions.

3. Generative AI: Through this technique AI models can learn the underlying patterns and create realistic and novel outputs. 

4. Edge AI:AI involves running AI algorithms directly on edge devices, such as smartphones, IoT devices, and autonomous vehicles, rather than relying on cloud-based processing.

5. Quantum AI: Quantum AI combines the power of quantum computing with AI algorithms to tackle complex problems that are beyond the capabilities of classical computers.

Reference :

Here are some resources for further reading and learning about Artificial Intelligence:

  1. Books:
    “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach” by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig
    “Deep Learning” by Ian Goodfellow, Yoshua Bengio, and Aaron Courville
    “Artificial Intelligence with Python” by Prateek Joshi
  2. Websites:
    OpenAI (
    AI Conference (
    AI-Forum (
    Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (
  3. Online Courses:
    Coursera’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (
    Udacity’s Artificial Intelligence Nanodegree (–nd898)
    edX’s Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals (

These resources can provide a good starting point for learning more about AI and its various aspects and applications.

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