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What Is AI?

November 11, 2020


AI is the science of getting computers and machines to behave intelligently. Now that seems so abstract, but examples are all around us, and most of you use AI at least dozens of times a day without knowing it. Every time you use a web search engine, that’s AI. It’s AI figuring out what the most relevant web pages to show you. Every time you talk to a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo or Google Home or Apple Siri, that’s AI recognizing your speech. Even every time you open your email and your spam filters saves you from wading through tons of spam email, that too is AI.

Once upon a time, the software for finding the shortest path to drive from A to B, to drive from Palo Alto to San Francisco, that used to be cutting edge AI. One of the strange things about the field is that once it works, it disappears into the background, and what used be cutting edge AI like how’d I find that path to drive from A to B, that’s just a GPS you use all the time. I think this is part of the success of AI, that it is now pervasive. You use it dozens of times a day without even thinking about it and it is already transforming billions of people’s lives.

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