Artificial Intelligence

What is Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence conjures up all sorts of images --- perhaps you think of friendly systems that can talk to you and solve tough problems; or maniac robots that are bent on world domination? There's the promise of driverless cars that are safer than human drivers, and the worry of medical advice systems that hold people's lives in their virtual hands. The field of Artificial Intelligence is a part of computer science that has a lot of promise and also raises a lot of concerns. It can be used to make decisions in systems as large as an aeroplane or an autonomous dump truck, or as small as a mobile phone that accurately predicts text being typed into it. What they have in common is that they try to mimic aspects of human intelligence. And importantly, such systems can be of significant help in people's everyday lives.

AI (also known as intelligent systems) is primarily a branch of computer science but it has borrowed a lot of concepts and ideas from other fields, especially mathematics (particularly logic, combinatorics, statistics, probability and optimisation theory), biology, psychology, linguistics, neuroscience and philosophy.

On this website we'll explore a range of these intelligent systems. Inevitably this will mean dealing with ethical and philosophical issues too --- do we really want machines to take over some of our jobs? Can we trust them? Might it all go too far one day? What do we really mean by a computer being intelligent? While we won't address these questions directly on this website, gaining some technical knowledge about AI will enable you to make more informed decisions about the deeper issues.

Click on an image to read about one of the AI