Wisdom Tree

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is defined as the study of how to make computers do things which, at the moment, people can do better. Artificial intelligence is a combination of computer science, physiology and philosophy. AI can be described as the attempt to build machines that think and act like humans that are able to learn and to use their knowledge to solve problems on their own. The element that is common in the fields of AI is the creation of machines that can ―think.

AI has grown from a dozen researches involving thousands of engineers and specialists; ranging from programs capable of playing checkers, to systems designed to diagnose a disease.

There is AI because we want computers to understand human reasoning and visa-versa. In all a mutual relationship it is.

The Hurdles:

While we have come a long way since the days of the first auto-pilots, a lot remains to be done. One must remember that the animal brain is a highly complex network. Developing purely logic-based programs (as we see in the computers of today) can only create machines, and not intelligence.

The second problem that needs to be overcome is that of inference. The machines of today are bounded by rational thinking – an out of the box way of thinking is not their forte. But for them to be intelligent, irrational thinking is also needed at times.

Thirdly, there is the problem of Integration – to be successful; an AI must be able to integrate two or more dissimilar events which occupy our daily life.

AI Applications:

Game playing

You can buy machines that can play master level chess for a few thousand rupees. There is some AI in them, but they play well against people mainly through brute force computation–looking at hundreds of thousands of positions

Pac-Man was the first game with fledgling AI. Pac-Man had definite enemy characters that seemed to conspire against you, moved around the level just as you did, and made life tough.

Pac-Man relied on very simple AI techniques.

Speech recognition

Speech recognition technology is also on the rise in the field of customer service call centers. Instead of pushing “1” for service or “2” for complaints; you now talk directly with the computer and learn your bank balance, when your last car payment was received and obtaining answers to a wide variety of frequent customer service questions. Some of the companies now using speech recognition technology to answer customers questions are: Bank of America, Sprint, United Airlines, Sony, Sears, Ticketmaster and Nike.

Want a dog, but don’t want to feed or walk it? Poo Chi is an interactive dog made by Tiger Electronics. The dog responds to commands through voice recognition.

Expert systems

A “knowledge engineer” interviews experts in a certain domain and tries to include their knowledge in a computer program for carrying out some task. One of the first expert systems diagnosed bacterial infections of the blood and suggested treatments. It did better than medical students or practicing doctors, provided its limitations were observed. Its interactions depended on a single patient being considered.

Heuristic classification

One of the most feasible kinds of expert system given the present knowledge of AI is to put some information in a fixed set of categories using several sources of information. An example is advising whether to accept a proposed credit card purchase. Information is available about the owner of the credit card, his record of payment and also about the item he is buying and about the establishment from which he is buying it (e.g., about whether there have been previous credit card frauds at this establishment).


Banks use intelligent software applications to screen and analyze financial data. Soft-ware programs that can predict trends in the stock market have been created which have been known to beat humans in predictive power.

Weather Forecast

Neural networks are used for predicting weather conditions. Previous data is fed to a neural network which learns the pattern and uses that knowledge to predict weather patterns.

AI Fun Facts:

The elite who basked in the AI sunshine:
John McCarthy — Father of AI, also developed the LISP language.
Marvin Minsky — Founder of the MIT AI laboratory.
Alan Turing — Known for the Turing test; researched computer-nature relationship.
Also, the Do you know fact?
In May, 1997, an IBM super-computer called Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Gary Kasparov in a chess match.

The father of artificial Intelligence – who inspired a million sci-fi fantasies that robots could one day live alongside humans – has recently died at the age of 84. The death of the Silicon Valley innovator follows those of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and C programming creator and UNIX co-developer Dennis Ritchie earlier this month.

Guess the heaven needs some more stock of  ‘intelligence‘!

Eliza: An agony aunt armed with semiconductors and ‘intelligence’ . Eliza was a computer program written by Joseph Weizenbaum at MIT between 1964 to 1966. Though initially thought, that the program could mimic human behavior via artificial intelligence, it basically tricks you into replies by string substitution and canned responses. It emulates a Rogerian psychotherapist. Thus it became one of the first chatterbox in existence. To try therapy with eliza, click here.