Types of Artificial Intelligence

Types of Artificial Intelligence
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way from the days of 'The Jetsons'! In this lesson, you'll learn more about how computers are getting smarter and the types of AI that exist in our everyday lives.

Dabbling in Artificial Intelligence

Have you ever seen an episode of the cartoon classic, The Jetsons? This animated show, which debuted in the mid-1960s and then again in the mid-1980s, featured the Jetson family living in a futuristic place called Orbit City. The family scooted around in flying space cars and had a robot housekeeper to help keep things tidy. It was the creator's interpretation of what life would be like in the future.

Today, more than 50 years after the show first debuted, we're seeing plenty of the things The Jetsons had come to life before our eyes. Auto manufacturer Tesla is experimenting with cars that have more and more self-driving features. The small machines we carry around in our pockets that we call smartphones now understand our verbal commands. Even the robotic maid from The Jetsons, Rosie, has found her way into our homes in one form. You can buy an iRobot Roomba Vacuum that magically knows how to get around on your floor to get your whole house clean!

There are intelligent components to some of the websites we use daily. Amazon, for instance, uses unique algorithms to help them scan your account and purchases and build a homepage full of items they think you'll want to buy.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence has come a long way since the days of The Jetsons. No, we don't have robots walking among us yet, but increased understanding and application in this field of research is teaching us more and more about what machines can do. But, wait. What do we mean by artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence, sometimes abbreviated AI, is an arm of computer science that focuses on enabling computers to take on human characteristics, perform people tasks, and think human thoughts. The term was first used by a Stanford researcher, John McCarthy, in the mid-1950s - 10 years before The Jetsons even arrived on television sets.

Types of Artificial Intelligence

Let's take a look at the four main types of AI and how we experience them in our day-to-day lives:

Reactive Machines

Imagine a machine that can beat the world's greatest chess player in just a few moves. That's the power and the limitations of a reactive machine. This type of artificial intelligence can study a chess board, anticipate moves, and then choose its next move from all the possible options. The abilities of this AI machine end there, however. It is a machine built for a singular purpose or a specialized duty. It cannot adjust its decision-making, and it doesn't take outside factors into effect when carrying out its purpose.

A good example of this is Google's AlphaGo program, software that was built to try to take down online gamers of the ancient Chinese game called Go. Shortly after release, the program had a 60-6 record against some of the top Go players in the world. It cannot, however, tell you today's weather or figure out which movies you'd like best based on your previous viewing habits.

Limited Memory

Limited memory is an artificial intelligence that allows machines to look at past information and apply it to current situations. Self-driving cars by Tesla or even Google are prime examples of this type of technology.

Self-driving cars work because the cars are programmed to repeatedly identify certain objects, which are then monitored over time. For example, that huge curve in the road near your house or the stop sign at the end of your block has been there for a long time. The computer system in the car recognizes those markers, monitors them, and applies them to a real-life driving scenario.

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