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) …
Fewer technologies are hotter than artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which mimic the behavior of the human mind to help companies improve business operations. Even Uber, weathering several legal challenges, has made time to reveal Michelangelo, an internal ML-as-a-service platform, that "democratizes machine learning and makes scaling AI to meet the needs of business as easy as requesting a ride." For the past several months, he has been using Salesforce.com's Einstein AI/ML technology to increase personalization across the bank's small business, wholesale, commercial wealth and commercial banking units. Key advice: Using ML to identify patterns is the key to creating self-healing capabilities.
Ten to twenty years from now if you're going to be an effective lawyer, doctor, or financial analyst, it will be in part your ability to use the technological implements, loosely going under the name of artificial intelligence," Hoffman explained. However, the jobs that do exist will be technology enabled and part of the skill set is having the necessary technology skills," Hoffman said. It is a common and an intelligent worry that our education is insufficiently S.T.E.M., insufficiently technical, and insufficiently aggressive at younger ages. It's not just learning new programs its learning to use them to work effectively," Hoffman noted.
Sure, when we stop and think about it--or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion--we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain's best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Hoffman has spent the past three decades studying perception, artificial intelligence, evolutionary game theory and the brain, and his conclusion is a dramatic one: The world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality. Getting at questions about the nature of reality, and disentangling the observer from the observed, is an endeavor that straddles the boundaries of neuroscience and fundamental physics. On one side you'll find researchers scratching their chins raw trying to understand how a three-pound lump of gray matter obeying nothing more than the ordinary laws of physics can give rise to first-person conscious experience.
Now suppose your fitness function is linear, so a little water gives you a little fitness, medium water gives you medium fitness, and lots of water gives you lots of fitness -- in that case, the organism that sees the truth about the water in the world can win, but only because the fitness function happens to align with the true structure in reality. For example, an organism tuned to fitness might see small and large quantities of some resource as, say, red, to indicate low fitness, whereas they might see intermediate quantities as green, to indicate high fitness. Suppose there's a blue rectangular icon on the lower right corner of your computer's desktop -- does that mean that the file itself is blue and rectangular and lives in the lower right corner of your computer? My snakes and trains are my mental representations; your snakes and trains are your mental representations.
Researchers typically teach the so-called "deep learning" algorithms that underpin modern artificial intelligence by feeding them staggering amounts of data. So he and his team at Xerox started using the videogame engine Unity to feed images of things like automobiles, roads, and sidewalks to a deep-learning neural network in an effort to teach it to recognize those same objects in the physical world. Using skills learned in a program like Malmo, AI could, she believes, learn the general intelligence skills necessary to move beyond navigating Minecraft's blocky landscapes to walking in our own. Avatars in games typically don't move like real people move, and game worlds are designed for ease and legibility, not fidelity to real life.
The research project, which is currently being conducted at the Microsoft Research facility in New York City, aims to improve what researchers call general artificial intelligence, which is akin to the complex way human beings learn, decide, and resolve problems. Though numerous theoretical studies have been conducted on general artificial intelligence, researchers have been hampered by the lack of practical methods of exploring the technology. "Minecraft is the perfect platform for this kind of research because it's this very open world," Katja Hoffman, one of the developers behind the AIX platform that makes Microsoft's AI research possible, said in a press release. According to Hoffman, the idea for AIX was borne out of her own frustrations about the limitations of platforms utilizing less complicated video games for AI research.