An Overview of Artificial Intelligence

Robot-WireframeArtificial Intelligence (AI) is an ever-growing field of study dedicated to the creation of intelligent machines that are adaptable to certain situations that arise. In contrast to normal machines, AI systems are programmed to think on their own and assess their environment to make the appropriate changes for solutions. The main idea behind this branch of computer science is that the uniqueness of the human mind, the intelligence that gives us sapience, can be accurately defined and simulated by a machine. It has been a popular idea stimulated by works of science fiction and discussions, but it has certainly been subjugated to controversy: some may see it as a technological advancement, but others may view it as an ethical issue involving the creation of artificial beings. However, despite heated debates, it is becoming a central part of today’s technology in its development.

The History

“The intellectual roots of AI, and the concept of intelligent machines, may be found in Greek mythology.” Even in ancient times, people crafted stories involving intelligent mechanical devices and human-like machines. Slowly from ancient times to the 19th century, people began making mechanical devices and toys to image the ones they imagined in the stories about them. In regards to contributions made in this time frame, some laid out logical thinking systems and others worked on mechanical advancements. For example, Aristotle developed systolic logic, and Pascal created the first mechanical digital calculating machine in 1642. Great minds of history strove for thinking of how our minds work and developing programmable systems for machine use.

As time moved on into the 20th century up to today, science fiction has further introduced concepts to be later implemented as technology advanced. Great works like Principia Matthematica formed the modern structure of formal logic. However, only when computers were being implemented for general use would scientists be able to fully culminate past knowledge and current ideas into complex, intelligent systems.

AI Technology Today

AI certainly has a strong presence in the modern world, and integration for AI technologies is becoming much more prevalent compared to the last few decades. The iPhone’s Siri application, for example, was based on a DARPA sponsored research project for creating an intelligent virtual assistant. In addition, video games are popular environments to test various AI design approaches. Game developers use programs to mimic behaviors similar to the players to challenge them, as they must react to various actions by the player. Although games are fairly simple in comparison to more practical applications, they still provide a virtual environment to test AI designs.

As commercial applications of AI technology work to serve more basic tasks, there are plenty of practical applications that serve more specific, complex purposes. Studies of intelligent systems can range from surgical robots to robots that mimic organic movements for adaptation to certain terrains. Although more robots are being built with the idea of organic behavior and accuracy, they certainly do not reach the level of interactive sentience of organics. Nonetheless, scientists focus on what intelligent systems can do and how they can adapt to be versatile machines. In time, the technology will continue to develop and perhaps come close to the sentience we have seen in science fiction.

Julia Hall, a graduate of the University of Florida's Film and Video Cinematography Program, has over a decade of experience working in the entertainment industry. Now that she is a stay at home mom living on the outskirts of Atlanta GA, she is leveraging her entertainment background into a writing career. She provides the latest news and information from both the Television and Film industries. You can follow her through the buttons below.