Do you really know what Artificial Intelligence is and why it matters?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds the key to much of what human future can become. In fact, we can almost safely say it’s our pass to a better future. But there’s a lot of myth and “magic” surrounding what AI is and what it’s not.

Since it was adopted as a field of research in 1956, researchers have steadily expanded the boundaries of what is known and possible with AI. Today, AI is disrupting pretty much every industry in every country around the world. It is already ingrained into all of our lives, whether we realize it or not.

However, it can be difficult to tell where fiction ends, and fact begins. That’s what we’ll help you understand in this article. Here’s what you need to know about AI.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

In order to understand what AI really is, it’s important to first be clear on what it’s not. AI definitely isn’t some super human robot that does everything. It may get there eventually, and there are many experts that feel it will get there soon, but that’s not what AI is at the moment.

It’s not even necessarily “Intelligence 101” for robots or machines. AI is not some learning program that is dedicated to making robots know everything there is to know on this earth. It’s much more than that.

Rather, AI is any set of concepts, applications or technologies that allow a computer to perform tasks that mimic human behavior. That’s the simple definition of AI. Since the days of the Turing test, and until recently, AI has mostly been about getting machines smart enough to solve problems only humans can solve.

And machines are getting pretty successful at these human tasks. IBM’s Watson is already well known for being able to diagnose almost any disease in the world. It is a world famous Jeopardy! champion and has already tried its hand at talent scouting.

But, thanks to increases in computing power and data processing, AI is steadily growing beyond that. Through the various methods that are used in achieving AI, we will eventually have computers that can “think” and operate at a level of intelligence that is much higher than what any human can achieve. These methods include Machine Learning, Robotics, Computer Vision, Cognitive Computing, Sensor Analysis and Natural Language Processing, among others.

Why is it important?

Most of what we currently enjoy as humans is a product of our intelligence. We have been able to make our lives much better by thinking of new and better ways of doing things.

But what we currently enjoy is only the tip of the iceberg. Because AI can enable machines to do things faster and on a far greater scale than humans, we now have the power to change our world in all the ways that matter.

With AI, we can redefine the bounds of what is possible. And we’re already seeing effects of that even now. AI is driving every important innovation in the world.

Less than two decades ago, accounting was an extremely tedious task that involved hours and hours of scribbling in dusty sheets, documenting transactions. Today, at the touch of a button, companies can automate their entire accounting process, making it far more accurate and secure.

Even in the medical field, AI is revolutionizing an industry known for its repetitive and horrendously fatiguing workload. There are now AI applications in disease identification and diagnosis, production of pharmaceuticals, synthesis of naturally occurring compounds and even robotics-assisted surgery.

The story is the same across several other industries. From transportation, legal, retail, manufacturing and management to academics, administration and even sports. You probably use AI a hundred times in a hundred different ways every day without even noticing.

Understanding the impact that AI is driving in our world, many savvy companies are already getting in on the act. And for good reason too, considering that those companies driven by AI insights will take more than $1.2 trillion a year from non-insight driven companies by 2020.

Global spending on AI is projected to grow by 50% every year and by 2021, spending on AI will reach 57.6 billion. 83% of companies that have adopted some form of AI and machine learning initiatives in their processes are already reporting value and several more are set to follow.

Will AI take away your job?

Many fear that AI will bring the death of so many jobs around the world. There’s some truth to this as AI is predicted to eliminate up to 1.8 million jobs. But that’s not the full story.

The jobs that AI will take away are low-level repetitive tasks that don’t require creativity. It will step into those tedious jobs that most would rather not be doing and make sure they’re done faster and with much less error.

Even better, AI will create at least another 5 million jobs in the place of those lost jobs. These jobs will focus more on the administrative role that humans will have to play in relation to AI and will also allow us to spend our time focusing on the creative tasks.

How we put the intelligence in artificial intelligence

As mentioned before, machine learning is a subset of AI. Machine learning deals with the extraction of patterns from data sets, allowing the machine to find rules for optimal behavior while also being able to adapt to changes. Data is everywhere today. Organizations can use AI and machine learning to open up tremendous insights from the data they have access to.

At RapidMiner, we believe that advanced analytical insights should be fast and easy to access by everyone on the analytics team. With our data science platform, organizations in every industry can use machine learning to drive revenue, reduce cost, and avoid risk. With intuitive data prep and automated machine learning, getting started with AI and machine learning has never been easier.