December 26, 2018

Essay on Artificial Intelligence (870 words)

Essay on Artificial Intelligence

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI, is the ability of machines like computers to perform functions that normally require human intelligence. AI is intelligence demonstrated by machine, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals. These functions include the ability to learn, reason, analyse, take decisions, recognise speech and visual perception among others.

Types of Artificial Intelligence

Algorithm: Here, the computer executes a function without deviating from the program or algorithm given to it. With an algorithm, you tell the computer exactly what you want it to do. There are also algorithms that let computers learn on their own.

Machine Learning: Machine learning allows computers to learn without being completely programmed. Instead of using an algorithm to extract data for human use, the computer learns to analyse and interpret the data and make inferences.

Bot: This is a software designed to automate tasks that we would usually do on our own. A common form of bot is chatbots that simulate conversations.

Artificial Intelligence in everyday life

AI is everywhere! Many of us do not notice its presence, but AI has become part of our daily life. How, you ask? Here are a few examples:

Smartphones : It’s in the name. The phone has now become smart, thanks to AI – from detecting your fingerprint to suggesting apps; from auto-correcting your words to autofilling your forms. AI in the form of algorithms has made it possible for this gadget to simplify our lives.

Google Search : Many of us cannot imagine our lives without Google. But did you know that Google search too uses AI? How else do you think it auto-completes sentences based on your previous searches and gives you personalised results?

Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant : These are all virtual personal assistants that are forever present to help you out. All you need to do is call out to them and they are there at your service. They use algorithms and speech recognition to understand and respond.

Video Games : Yes, video games too use AI to make your gaming experience extraordinary. Imagine while playing you plan an attack but before you execute it, your enemy (the computer) counters it with its move. That’s because of AI. Alpha-go beating the number one champion in the game of go which is extremely complex game more so than chess marked the completion of a significant milestone in the development of artificial intelligence.

Driverless cars : AI powered cars are self driven. They reduce the possibility of human errors. Thus rate of accidents is drastically reduced. They are fast and efficient too. Companies such as Google, Uber, Tesla are currently working in this field.

Health : Microsoft has developed artificial intelligence to help doctors find the right treatment for cancer. According to a study artificial intelligence was as good is trained doctors in identifying skin cancer.

Finance and Economics : AI can help in fraud prevention and detection. This could revolutionise the digital payment ecosystem and strengthen cybersecurity.

Artificial Intelligence and India

In a recent discussion paper, NITI Aayog has chalked out an ambitious strategy for India to become an artificial intelligence powerhouse. Many forms of AI surround Indians already, including chatbots on retail websites and programs that flag fraudulent bank activity. But NITI Aayog envisions AI solutions for India on a scale not seen anywhere in the world today, especially in five key sectors — agriculture, healthcare, education, smart cities and infrastructure, and transport.

In agriculture, for example, machines will provide information to farmers on the quality of soil, when to sow, where to spray herbicide, and when to expect pest infestations. It’s an idea with great potential: India has 30 million farmers with smartphones, but poor extension services. If computers help agricultural universities advise farmers on best practices, India could see a farming revolution.

Challenges in Artificial Intelligence

Lack of dataHowever, there are formidable obstacles. AI startups already offer some solutions, but the challenge lies in scaling these to cover the entire value chain, as NITI Aayog envisions. The first problem is data. Machine learning, the set of technologies used to create AI, is a data-guzzling monster. It takes reams of historical data as input, identifies the relationships among data elements, and makes predictions. More sophisticated forms of machine learning, like “deep learning”, attempt to mimic the human brain. And even though they promise greater accuracy, they also need more data than what is required by traditional machine learning. Unfortunately, India has sparse data in sectors like agriculture, and this is already hampering AI-based businesses today.

Inadequate funding and skill gap
There is lack of funding in the field of AI. There is a large skill gap and manpower shortage skilled in AI development. Many such important posts are vacant in India.

Artificial Intelligence and ethical concerns

Arguments about the nature of the mind and ethics of creating artificial beings endowed with human like intelligence. Some believe that artificial intelligence, unlike previous technological revolutions, will create a risk of mass unemployment. Physicist Stephen Hawking have expressed concern about the possibility that artificial intelligence code evil to the point that humans could not control it.

Some believe that China is increasing government funding and maybe on the track to becoming an AI superpower.

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