Artificial Intelligence, defined in simple terms | HCLTech

Artificial Intelligence, defined in simple terms

September 16, 2021
Aruna Pattam


Aruna Pattam
Head of AI & Data Science , Asia Pacific and Middle East Region
September 16, 2021

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a topic that has been discussed in philosophy and science fiction for decades but has rapidly become a reality.

In 2017, AI became a household name. It was all over the news every day with companies like Google investing billions of dollars into developing more and more AI applications.

AI covers some fascinating areas, from how we design intelligent machines to what our future might look like when these machines are more ubiquitous than humans.

An example might be when Siri tells you when it will rain in your city today.

In this article, let’s break down the basics of AI so you can better understand what it means more simplistically.

Topics covered in this article

  • What is artificial intelligence?
  • What is machine learning?
  • What is deep learning?

What do people think of AI?

When people are asked about AI, they usually think of Hollywood blockbusters like The Terminator.

It’s not surprising that someone who has never heard nor seen any mention about artificial intelligence before often conjures up images similar to movies such as The Terminator— something which most might consider an accurate representation.

They think we are at a point where AI applications can do all things for us— take care of our jobs, make decisions without consulting with humans, and so forth.

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence involves using computers to do things that traditionally require human intelligence.

But what exactly is it? And why are we so excited about it?

Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines that can think like humans. It can do things that are considered "smart."

AI technology can process large amounts of data in ways, unlike humans. The goal for AI is to be able to do things such as recognize patterns, make decisions, and judge like humans. To do this, we need lots of data incorporated into them.

AI technology is at the very foundation of some things, such as image recognition and classification. It's also changing how we make decisions— for example, it can be used to predict traffic light systems or when you get your coffee in the morning.

What is machine learning?

Machine learning (ML) is a subset of artificial intelligence and is a science of getting computers to learn and act as humans do.

In traditional programming, a computer is given input data and an algorithm to produce an output.

If a computer is given input data with the corresponding output data, it can learn the algorithm itself and, therefore, continue to predict the right output data. This is called supervised learning.

Alternatively, if a computer is given a complex set of input data with no corresponding output data, the machine identifies the relationships in the data to provide valuable insights for decision-makers. This is called unsupervised learning.

Why is machine learning such a big deal?

Since the advent of machine learning, programming has become easier.

Before machine learning became popular, programmers had to write out instructions for each program they wanted their computer to run.

If there was a variable that wasn't outlined in these rules and conditions, then the code would stop working altogether- which is why we must use technologies such as machine learning.

Machine learning allows us as developers to just give some basic suggestions on how certain things should be done and leave room open for more possibilities so our programs can learn from other data sets too!

Driverless cars are a good example. People don't need to write out instructions for how to deal with every possible thing that could happen involving a pedestrian.

Instead, they can teach the car not to hit pedestrians and provide it with millions of pictures of pedestrians walking near roads. This will help the car know what it needs to do when it "sees" something similar in the future.

How has machine learning changed our lives?

With machine learning, our computers can finally be more intelligent. It's not good by itself, so it needs other things to do that.

For example, recommendations are powered by machine learning. This is true for recommendations on Google, Netflix, and Amazon. These same principles also apply to Facebook and Instagram ads.

There are now genuinely viable alternatives for completing complex, time-consuming tasks with something other than a human.

All business people should recognise this new development and take it into account in their day-to-day work.

What is deep learning?

Deep learning (DL) can process, interpret, and make use of far larger and more complex data sets.

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning. As a result, deep learning can perform far more complex tasks.

How is deep learning transforming us?

Deep learning mimics the working of our brains. Data is processed through multiple layers and eventually, with enough training data, these neural networks can outperform humans at intelligent tasks like speech recognition or playing chess.

Machine learning has a simple “if this, then that” mechanism, whereas deep learning has “if this, then that, then what about (x)?” on repeat. In other words, machine learning can ask and answer one question, but it then requires human intervention.

Deep learning will ask and answer one question— based on that answer, ask another question, and answer it, and so on.

Why does deep learning matter?

Deep learning is the most advanced and sophisticated artificial intelligence technology.

For example, it enables Google to give you a search result that's tailored specifically for your needs— not just something they think everyone may want to know about.

Deep learning goes one step further by enabling Google to tell you what other people are searching for as well.

There are some great practical examples of how deep learning is helping us.

In agriculture, deep learning helps to predict crop yield. Water levels and plant diseases can be detected so that farmers can respond in time.

In insurance, deep learning helps to figure out the damage when cars get in traffic accidents. This is possible because deep learning can teach a computer how to identify damaged car parts, make predictions about how much it will cost for repairs, and make estimates about what will happen.

In medicine, deep learning is changing the way doctors diagnose patients by finding what's important on medical scans, surveillance images, and other diagnostic tests.

Deep learning has become more prominent in almost every industry, including financial services, retail, healthcare, utilities, Telcom and many others.

The future with AI, ML, and DL

When you think about artificial intelligence, many futuristic images come to mind. However, AI is quickly becoming a standard part of our everyday lives and businesses must learn.

Machine learning is used by businesses in their everyday activities. So, they need to understand how machine learning works to take advantage of this powerful technology in their business operations.

In future, AI, ML and DL will be able to do much more than what they can today. They will also have a bigger effect on our lives from social media to mobile phones, autonomous vehicles, wearable devices, home assistants, chatbots and so many others.

What do you think of artificial intelligence?

Do you believe in artificial intelligence? Why or why not?

How do you anticipate AI technology will change the way?

We are now in the era of smart technology where we don't need to move or touch anything to complete a task. Everything can be done at the click of a button and with an elegant voice command.

With more data becoming available, especially in the cloud, AI is going to become even smarter and able to do more things for us.

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