Glossary: How to Talk About AI


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the concept of having machines “think like humans” — in other words, perform tasks like reasoning, planning, learning, and understanding language. While no one is expecting parity with human intelligence today or in the near future, AI has big implications in how we live our lives. The brains behind artificial intelligence is a technology called machine learning, which is designed to make our jobs easier and more productive.

 

Machine Learning is the core driver of AI, and involves computers learning from data with minimal programming. Essentially, instead of programming rules for a machine, you program the desired outcome and train the machine to achieve the outcome on its own by feeding it data — for example, personalized recommendations on Amazon and Netflix. Machine learning is a broad term that encompasses related AI techniques, including:

 

Deep Learning which uses complex algorithms that mimic the brain’s neural network to learn a domain

with little or no human supervision. Consumer apps like Google Photos use deep learning to power face

recognition in photos.

 

Natural Language Processing (NLP) uses machine learning techniques to find patterns within large data sets in order to recognize natural language. One application of NLP is sentiment analysis, where algorithms might look for patterns in social media posts to understand how customers feel about a specific brand or product.

 

Big Data is the raw fuel of AI — large amounts of structured or unstructured information that provide the inputs for surfacing patterns and making predictions.

 

Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of billions of digitally connected devices, from toasters to cars to houses and jet engines, that collect and exchange data and can communicate with one another to better serve users.

 

Predictive Analytics is a branch of advanced analytics that is used to make predictions about unknown future events, based on patterns in historical data. You might see this in marketing offers that become more relevant to you each time you take action (or don’t) on an email offer.


What Is Artificial Intelligence?

 

Technology is evolving faster than ever. Cloud computing, social media, and mobile devices are ubiquitous. Everyone (and everything) is getting connected: 3 billion internet users, 5 billion mobile users, and 6 billion connected devices make up a network of information and interaction never before seen in history. But that’s just the beginning.

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the next major wave of innovation, driven by advances in computing power, the ability to store large volumes of data in the cloud at minimal cost, and easier access to advanced algorithms. And it will be more disruptive and powerful than any previous shift in technology.

 

AI is often represented by various related terms: machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, predictive analytics, and so on. All of these terms point to a future in which our platforms and systems are smart enough to learn from our interactions and data, not only to help us with what we ask, but also to anticipate our needs, taking care of mundane and forgotten tasks and reminding us of important ones. AI can connect the various nodes of our lives (home, work, travel) into one experience that moves seamlessly with us from house to car to office. Much of that experience comes through our phones. Within a few years, AI will be infused in everything digital.

 

As consumers, we are already using AI without even realizing it. Google harnesses AI to autocomplete search queries, predicting what you are searching for with great accuracy and without human involvement. Facebook news feeds and Amazon product recommendations are tailored for you via machine-learning algorithms. Self-driving cars apply various AI techniques to avoid collisions and traffic congestion. All of these consumer apps have trained consumers to expect more from businesses: The new standard for every customer interaction is a smart, fast, seamless customer experience engagement.