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Artifical Intelligence (AI)

An introduction to Artificial Intelligence which can be described as the growing ability of computers to imitate human intelligence.
© University of Exeter

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a generic term which applies to the growing ability of computers to imitate human intelligence. According to the English Oxford Living Dictionary it can be defined as:

“The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”

You can read about alternative definitions of AI which highlight its growing importance in this Forbes article.

This white paper by LUCA (the data arm of Telefonica) provides a good introduction to the enormous scope of AI and its applications.

In sport, AI is providing detailed analysis of players’ performance at the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, as highlighted in this brief BBC Click video

Particularly relevant at the moment are the healthcare applications. For example, this BBC Click programme discusses how AI can help fight coronavirus.

Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, was initially sceptical about the role of artificial intelligence, claiming that it would not scale or be flexible enough for mainstream application. In this short article, he admits he was wrong. Contrast Schmid’s prediction with this video from Facebook AI highlighting Facebook’s recent developments in artificial intelligence research.

A survey report by Infosys titled “Leadership in the Age of AI” found that AI is not just about automation, but is becoming a core aspect of business strategy. Many businesses begin using AI to automate routine or inefficient processes, but as they explore its applications further it starts to play a significant role in innovation.

Overall the survey findings were positive. Over 1000 senior executives took part in the study.

  • 53% of respondents reported that their organisations have increased training in the job functions most affected by AI.

  • 77% were confident that employees in their organisations could be trained for the new job roles AI technologies will create.

  • 70% felt that AI technologies will have a positive impact on their workforce.

You can read a more detailed analysis of the survey results in this Forbes article.

There are many emerging business applications of AI. For example, in the retail sector Amazon’s Go store in Seattle uses AI to operate with no checkout staff. Instead, purchases are tracked as shoppers take items from the shelves.

What do you think about the Amazon Go example? Would you be comfortable to shop in this way? Do you have similar projects in your part of the world to share?

© University of Exeter
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