Artificial intelligence can be defined as the intelligence demonstrated by machines, as supposed to that shown by human beings and other living beings. In computer science, an artificial intelligence is referred to as an intelligent agent. This includes any device that is capable of perceiving its environment and that performs actions that allow it to achieve its goals.
In general however, most people think of an artificial intelligence as a machine that mimics the sort of abilities that are associated with the human mind, usually the ability to learn and solve problems. Developed by Alan Turing in 1950, the turing test was proposed as one method of determining a machine’s intelligence. Simply put, the test is whether or not a human could see the difference between a conversation they were having with a human, and another they were having with a machine. While it is both criticized and highly influential, it is one of the first examples of any person wondering if a machine could be made to think.
As technology has developed over the last few decades, it has become more important to find a useful definition for the term. In some form, it can be argued that artificial intelligence is beginning to become a crucial aspect of a variety of industries. From advertising to military applications, artificial intelligence is being used and developed at an accelerating rate.
In 1997, Deep Blue became the first computer chess playing system to beat a current world chess champion. In 2011, Watson soundly defeated the two best Jeopardy contestants in the show’s history. In 2017, AlphaGo won a three-game match against the current world Go champion. While these events are insignificant in and of themselves, they represent significant milestones in the development of artificial intelligences.
While it may come as a surprise to many, the healthcare industry has welcomed the development and use of artificial intelligence with open arms. Currently, IBM’s Watson is now being used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients. Another robot has proved capable of performing a successful surgery on a pig. Other programs are in development to help predict what combinations of drugs are ideal for a patient, and other ways to reduce the enormous workload doctors face every day.
Another advancement in artificial intelligence technology has been the development of driverless cars. While Google and Tesla are at the forefront of this cutting-edge technology, there are over thirty other companies looking into the use of AI in the creation of these cars. The United Kingdom passed legislation this year that will allow the testing of the world’s first self-driving truck platoon. This would consist of a number of autonomous trucks which follow the lead of a manned vehicle.
Unsurprisingly, while it is difficult to find accurate information on the current level of development, the use of artificial intelligence in modern warfare is becoming common place. Military drones, unmanned machines capable of autonomous action, are already widely considered to be useful in combat. The soldiers of tomorrow imagined in film and literature will soon be the soldiers of today instead. As a result, we could see both a huge increase in military spending on research and development, and a huge decrease in the cost of lives lost in battle.
As artificial intelligence is developed further, it will spread throughout every aspect of our lives. Soon, everything will be automated, and science fiction will become science fact. This could eventually lead to a third industrial revolution, one that society as we know it is not prepared to face. While the first two lead to periods of economic turmoil, neither had the potential to make labor an obsolete resource that this one has. For now though, those companies which don’t want to fall behind their competitors should look into the application of artificial intelligence in their businesses.