artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence: what it is, how it works and what it’s being used for


Throughout history, the possibility of creating artificial systems capable of thinking and acting as human beings has been speculated. It was a matter of time before an idea as attractive as Artificial Intelligence was becoming relevant in this era in which computing and digitization are growing exponentially. But what is Artificial Intelligence?

What Is Artificial Intelligence – Definitions

The Artificial Intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence by machines .

In other words, it is the discipline that tries to create systems capable of learning and reasoning as a human being , learn from experience, find out how to solve problems under given conditions, contrast information and carry out logical tasks.

The fact that a system has humanoid hardware and physically acts as such is a field that belongs to robotics, and is far from the concept of Artificial Intelligence, which focuses on emulating the way of thinking and reasoning of humans.

It should be noted that, if a system could learn and think like a human, it would have considerable advantages over it thanks to its speed and calculation capacity.

Types Of Artificial Intelligence

Computer science experts Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig differentiate between several types of artificial intelligence:

  • Systems that think like humans: automate activities like decision making, problem solving, and learning. An example is artificial neural networks.
  • Systems that act like humans: these are computers that perform tasks similar to how people do them. This is the case of robots.
  • Systems that think rationally: they try to emulate the logical logical thinking of humans, that is, it investigates how to make machines perceive, reason and act accordingly. The expert systems are included in this group.
  • Systems that act rationally: ideally, they are those that try to rationally imitate human behavior, like intelligent agents.

What is Artificial Intelligence

Throughout history, the possibility of creating artificial systems capable of thinking and acting as human beings has been speculated. It was a matter of time before an idea as attractive as Artificial Intelligence was becoming relevant in this era in which computing and digitization are growing exponentially. But what is Artificial Intelligence?

Historical Context And Milestones Of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is not a new concept at all; to give an example, in the 17th century the philosopher Descartes already theorized about the possibility of intelligent automata .

Of course, it was not until the middle of the 20th century when the topic began to take on relevance.

One of the first formal challenges in this field was proposed by Alan Turing in 1950, which consisted of the following test : ” A system is smart enough if it manages to pass itself off as human when asked by a judge .” Curiously, this test is still a great challenge today.

Years later, the renowned computer scientist John McCarthy coined the term “Artificial Intelligence” at the famous Darthmouth Conference of 1956 . However, what seemed like the rise of a branch of technological research ended in speculation and isolated projects for decades, among other reasons because it turned out to be a field in which no one dared to invest money seriously.

Despite this, important advances were made, such as ELIZA, the first chatbot that implemented natural language (NLP) in 1966 ; the BKG 9.8 program that won the world backgammon champion in 1979 , the first autonomous vehicles to travel significant distances in Paris in 1994, or the AI Deep Blue created by IBM, which beat the chess champion Gary Kasp├árov in 1997 .

With the entrance of the new century and the remarkable technological evolution, AI has become one of the unstoppable trends and the milestones in this field begin to be very numerous, from expert systems capable of defeating a human in any intellectual activity to virtual assistants able to organize ourselves day by day.

Examples And Use Cases Of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is found in every corner of the modern world, yes, we do not always find it in the form of luxurious virtual assistants capable of recognizing our voice. Let’s see some examples, from the simplest to the most complex:

Home devices

From smart thermostats to vacuum cleaners that walk through every corner of our house. Home automation is one of the “simple” fields of Artificial Intelligence that users have been able to enjoy for many years.

SPAM filters

It is not one of the most striking AI, but companies like Google or Microsoft apply a multitude of constantly evolving algorithms with the aim of detecting fraudulent and SPAM-type emails.

Custom Ads

AI systems mainly powered by search engines and social networks, are those that analyze all the information that the user has, to show them ads with which they will probably interact.

Expert agents

They are usually highly trained systems in a specific intellectual activity, based on the knowledge of experts in the field. A classic example is that of systems that play chess.


Systems that make an interesting use of NLP (Natural Language Processing) and improve with each experience; they allow coherent two-way communication with human beings , whether oral or written.

Video game

Perhaps one of the most obvious, and that is why it is often forgotten, but it has always been one of the main sources of AI improvement, in that eternal quest to get “the machine” to act consistently and realistically. in a game, be it an enemy soldier or a racing car.

How is a computer program different from an AI?

We have seen what AI is, and how there are different interpretations, and varied objectives. But we still don’t know how it works. How is artificial intelligence software different from a computer program?

There are many types of AI, some of them still experimental. In order not to wander too far, we will focus on those used in computing, mobile phones, Internet services, and other areas close to ordinary users. Concepts such as machine learning or machine learning , neural networks , and other technologies that we often hear, but that we do not know very well how they work.

For more than half a century, computers, robots and other machines have functioned through computer programs or applications , the basic structure of which has hardly changed in all this time.

A computer program is just a list of commands that tells the computer what to do.  ” Do this mathematical operation, write the result on the screen, reproduce this sound” , etc. Programs have bifurcations such as ” if this happens, do this and if this happens, do this .” And they can also perform random actions, using random numbers. And many other things, of course …

But the main characteristic of a program is that it is a set of commands that cover all the possible options that the computer faces . Even if an error occurs, there is a part of the program that tells you: ” if there is a failure, write the message: An error has occurred .”

With a computer program, a machine does not think. It just does exactly what they tell it to . 

The great revolution of AI is that it does not receive orders to obtain a result . It is she who, with some input data, must manage to obtain the results.

As we have seen, artificial intelligence tries to imitate human thought. When we are born, our brain is practically an empty hard disk. You need years of learning to learn basic concepts, from not urinating on yourself to learning to walk, to speak, to add, and other more complex activities. We learn something, we put that theory into practice, failing a lot at first until we take practice and we improve with time.

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