Artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals. Computer science defines AI research as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals.
“Artificial intelligence” is often applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving.”
Artificial intelligence was founded as an academic discipline in 1956, and in the years since has experienced several waves of optimism, followed by disappointment and the loss of funding (known as an “AI winter”), followed by new approaches, success and renewed funding.
For most of its history, AI research has been divided into subfields that often fail to communicate with each other.
These sub-fields are based on technical considerations, such as particular goals (e.g. “robotics” or “machine learning”), the use of particular tools (“logic” or artificial neural networks), or deep philosophical differences.
Subfields have also been based on social factors (particular institutions or the work of particular researchers).