If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
A former manager of mine once told me, "If I am going down, you are going down with me." That was in relation to having a bad sales quarter. From that point on, there was no need to pay attention to her. It becomes difficult to continue to feel passion for the job once you see a lapse in integrity in your boss. It only got worse from there, so I knew it was time to start planning my exit strategy.
If we're going to map the world, we're not going to do it with ever-greater volumes of elbow grease. There's just too much work to do. AI and computer vision are helpful assistants in this task, however, as a Facebook effort has shown, laying down hundreds of thousands of miles of previously unmapped roads in Thailand and other less well-covered countries. The problem is simply that there's a whole lot of Earth and only a handful of people actually making maps of it. Sure, Google and Apple have dueling products -- but their focus is on businesses in cities and accurate navigation, not including every dirt path and gravel road.
On a tower in the Brazilian rain forest, a sentinel scans the horizon for the first signs of fire. They don't blink or take breaks, and guided by artificial intelligence they can tell the difference between a dust cloud, an insect swarm and a plume of smoke that demands quick attention. In Brazil, the devices help keep mining giant Vale working, and protect trees for pulp and paper producer Suzano. The equipment includes optical and thermal cameras, as well as spectrometric systems that identify the chemical makeup of substances. By linking them to artificial intelligence, a small Portugal-based company working with IBM Corp. believes it can help tame the often unpredictable affects of climate change.
Today's world is built on information. Everyday data is generated or collected, with information on facts, figures and statistics continuing to grow. With so much data available, it becomes increasingly hard to know which data has value, and where exactly to look. The universal problem experienced by companies of all sizes is access to vast amounts of useful customer and market data masked (or engulfed) with valuable insights. There's simply too much information to process.
It is early July, almost 30C outside, but Mihkel Jäätma is thinking about Christmas. In a co-working space in Soho, the 39-year-old founder and CEO of Realeyes, an "emotion AI" startup which uses eye-tracking and facial expression to analyse mood, scrolls through a list of 20 festive ads from 2018. He settles on The Boy and the Piano, the offering from John Lewis that tells the life story of Elton John backwards, from megastardom to the gift of a piano from his parents as a child, accompanied by his timeless heartstring-puller Your Song. The ad was well received, but Jäätma is clearly unconvinced. He hits play, and the ad starts, but this time two lines – one grey (negative reactions), the other red (positive) – are traced across the action.