What is Artificial Intelligence?

Every day, a large portion of the population is at the mercy of a rising technology, yet few actually understand what it is.

AI is designed so you don’t realize there’s a computer calling the shots. But that also makes understanding what AI is — and what it’s not — a little complicated.

In basic terms, AI is a broad area of computer science that makes machines seem like they have human intelligence.

It includes programming a computer to drive a car by obeying traffic signals.

The term “artificial intelligence” was first coined back in 1956 by Dartmouth professor John McCarthy. He called together a group of computer scientists and mathematicians to see if machines could learn like a young child does, using trial and error to develop formal reasoning. The project proposal says they’ll figure out how to make machines “use language, form abstractions and concepts, solve kinds of problems now reserved for humans, and improve themselves.”

But during the past few years, a couple of factors have led to AI becoming the next “big” thing: First, huge amounts of data are being created every minute. In fact, 90% of the world’s data has been generated in the past two years. And now thanks to advances in processing speeds, computers can actually make sense of all this information more quickly. Because of this, tech giants and venture capitalists have bought into AI and are infusing the market with cash and new applications.

When it comes to AI, a robot is nothing more than the shell concealing what’s actually used to power the technology.