This part describes how researchers and practitioners define “Artificial Intelligence,” and The areas of AI research and application that are currently flourishing. It proffers definitions of what AI is and is not, and describes some of the currently “hot” areas of AI Research. This section lays the groundwork for Section II, which elaborates on AI’s impacts and future in Eight domains and Section III, which describes issues related to AI design and public policy and prepares recommendations for encouraging AI innovation while protecting democratic values.
WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE? – DEFINING AI
Peculiarly, the lack of a precise, universally accepted definition of AI probably Has helped the field to grow, blossom, and forward motion at an ever-accelerating pace.
Practitioners, researchers, and developers of AI are instead guided by a grating sense of direction and an imperative to “get on with it.” Still, a definition remains important and Nils J. Nilsson has provided a useful one:
“Artificial intelligence is that activity devoted to making machines intelligent, and intelligence is that quality that enables an entity to function appropriately and with foresight in its environment.” From this perspective, characterizing AI depends on the credit one is willing to give synthesized software and hardware for functioning “appropriately” and with “foresight.” A simple electronic calculator performs calculations much faster than the human learning ability, and almost never makes a mistake. 4 Is a calculator intelligent?
Like Nilsson, the Study Panel takes a liberal view that intelligence lies on a multidimensional spectrum. Agreeing to this view, the difference between an arithmetic Calculator and a human brain is not one of a kind, but of scale, speed, point of autonomy, and generality. The same factors can be used to evaluate every other instance of intelligence—speech recognition software, animal brains, cruise-control systems in cars, Go-playing programs, thermostats—and to place them at some appropriate location in the spectrum. Despite our broad interpretation places the calculator within the word spectrum, such simple devices bear little resemblance to today’s AI. The frontier of digital photography AI has moved far ahead and functions of the calculator are only one among the millions that today’s smartphones can perform. AI developers now work on improving, generalizing, and scaling up the intelligence currently found on smartphones.
IN fact, the discipline of AI is a continual endeavor to push forward the frontier of
machine intelligence. Ironically, AI suffers the perennial fate of losing claim to its acquisitions, which eventually and inevitably get pulled inside the frontier, a repeating pattern known as the “AI effect” or the “odd paradox”—AI brings a new technology into the common fold, people become accustomed to this technology, it stops being consedring AI, and newer technology emerges.5The same pattern will continue in the future. AI does not “deliver” a life-changing product as a bolt from the blue. Rather, AI technologies continue to grow better in a continual, incremental way.
In the Next post we will talk about the importance of AI in Healthcare.