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) …
For example, for personalized recommendations, we have been working with learning to rank methods that learn individual rankings over item sets. Figure 1: Typical data science workflow, starting with raw data that is turned into features and fed into learning algorithms, resulting in a model that is applied on future data. This means that this pipeline is iterated and improved many times, trying out different features, different forms of preprocessing, different learning methods, or maybe even going back to the source and trying to add more data sources. Probably the main difference between production systems and data science systems is that production systems are real-time systems that are continuously running.
With growing interest in neural networks and deep learning, individuals and companies are claiming ever-increasing adoption rates of artificial intelligence into their daily workflows and product offerings. Coupled with breakneck speeds in AI-research, the new wave of popularity shows a lot of promise for solving some of the harder problems out there. That said, I feel that this field suffers from a gulf between appreciating these developments and subsequently deploying them to solve "real-world" tasks. A number of frameworks, tutorials and guides have popped up to democratize machine learning, but the steps that they prescribe often don't align with the fuzzier problems that need to be solved. This post is a collection of questions (with some (maybe even incorrect) answers) that are worth thinking about when applying machine learning in production.