Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a branch of Science which deals with helping machines
find solutions to complex problems in a more human-like fashion. This generally involves borrowing characteristics from human intelligence, and
applying them as algorithms in a computer friendly way. A more or less flexible or efficient approach can be taken depending on the
requirements established, which influences how artificial the intelligent behavior
Importance of AI
You can buy machines that can play master level chess for a few hundred dollars.
There is some AI in them, but they play well against people mainly through brute
force computation--looking at hundreds of thousands of positions. To beat a world
champion by brute force and known reliable heuristics requires being able to look at
200 million positions per second.
In the 1990s, computer speech recognition reached a practical level for limited
purposes. Thus United Airlines has replaced its keyboard tree for flight information
by a system using speech recognition of flight numbers and city names. It is quite
convenient. On the other hand, while it is possible to instruct some computers using
speech, most users have gone back to the keyboard and the mouse as still more
Understanding Natural Language
Just getting a sequence of words into a computer is not enough. Parsing sentences is
not enough either. The computer has to be provided with an understanding of the
domain the text is about, and this is presently possible only for very limited domains.
The world is composed of three-dimensional objects, but the inputs to the human eye
and computers' TV cameras are two dimensional. Some useful programs can work
solely in two dimensions, but full computer vision requires partial three-dimensional
information that is not just a set of two-dimensional views. At present there are only
limited ways of representing three-dimensional information directly, and they are not
as good as what humans evidently use.