What Does Artificial Intelligence (AI) Mean?

Artificial intelligence (AI), also known as machine intelligence, is a branch of computer science that focuses on building and managing technology that can learn to autonomously make decisions and carry out actions on behalf of a human being.

AI is not a single technology. It is an umbrella term that includes any type of software or hardware component that supports machine learning, computer vision, natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language processing (NLP).

Today’s AI uses conventional CMOS hardware and the same basic algorithmic functions that drive traditional software. Future generations of AI are expected to inspire new types of brain-inspired circuits and architectures that can make data-driven decisions faster and more accurately than a human being can.

What are the 4 types of AI and how do they differ?

AI initiatives are often talked about in terms of their belonging to one of four categories:

  1. Reactive AI relies on real-time data to make decisions.
  2. Limited Memory AI relies on stored data to make decisions.
  3. Theory of Mind AI can consider subjective elements such as user intent when making decisions.
  4. Self-Aware AI possesses a human-like consciousness that is capable of independently setting goals and using data to decide the best way to achieve an objective.

A good way to visualize these distinctions is to imagine AI as a professional poker player. A reactive player bases all decisions on the current hand in play, while a limited memory player will consider their own and other player’s past decisions.

A Theory of Mind player factors in other player’s behavioral cues and finally, a self-aware professional AI player stops to consider if playing poker to make a living is really the best use of their time and effort.

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