What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) ?

what is Artificial Intelligence
  • AI or Artificial Intelligence is the science of making machines perform tasks that require human intelligence.
  • AI includes activities such as learning, reasoning, and self-correction.
  • It allows machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, and perform human-like tasks.

AI v/s Computers

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  • While computers rely on Instruct-Fetch-Execute cycles, AI enables machines to sense, comprehend and act.
  •  It is based on symbolic non-algorithmic processing and relies on heuristics to identify patterns and relationships.
  • AI is used for speech recognition, text analysis, and vision.
  • It includes technologies like machine learning, pattern recognition, big data, neural networks, self-algorithms etc.


  • Artificial Narrow AI (also known as Weak AI) refers to any AI that can outperform a human in a narrowly defined and structured task.
  • It is designed to perform a single function like an internet search, face recognition or speech detection under various constraints and limitations.
  • Applications of Narrow AI are not thinking for themselves but simulating human behaviour based on a set of rules, parameters and contexts that they are trained with.
  • Examples of Narrow AI: Searching Internet, Disease Detection, Facial Recognition, Recommender Systems,
  • Currently, we are amid exploring Narrow AI and its applications.

General Artificial Intelligence

  • General AI (also known as strong AI) aims to create machines that can reason and think just like a human can do. Machines can think for itself (also sometimes referred to as Sentience).
  • General AI systems will have ability to think, reason and plan just like a human can do.
  • Characteristics of General AI are: It does not rely on human programming to think or accomplish tasks. General AI can respond to different environments and situations and adopt its processes accordingly.
  • Turing test is a test developed evaluating whether a system has attained properties of Artificial General Intelligence. It was referred to Imitation Game originally. It tests a machines ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to or indistinguishable from human being.
  • Singularity: Technological Singularity or simply ‘Singularity’ is a hypothetical future point in time at which general AI powered will be more intelligent than humans and will dominate humans. Machines will experience runaway reaction of self-improvements which will subjugate human intelligence.
  • Explainable AI: (Also known as XAI). With increasing complexity and ubiquity of systems using AI, there has been increasing attention to the black box problem in AI. Black box AI is any artificial intelligence system whose inputs and operations aren’t visible to the use, or another interested party. Black box AI models arrive at conclusions or decisions without providing any explanations as to how they were reached. To address the problem, there has been increasing focus on the concept of Explainable AI which is a set of processes and methods that allows human users to comprehend and trust the results and output created by AI algorithms. This will increase fairness, trust and address biases in AI systems.

Application of Artificial Intelligence

  • Education
    • Optimizing learning for individuals
    • Increasing safety in training
  • Smart cities
    • Improving safety
    • Enabling intelligent infrastructure
    • Optimizing complex transportation hubs
    • Sustaining the environment
  • Applications for basic sciences & space research
    • Enabling extended & flexible space exploration. Ex. development of autonomous spacecraft & smart habitats.
  • Applications in Healthcare
    • Enhanced drug discovery and development
      • AI in drug design: Predicting 3-D structure of target proteins.
      • AI in pharmacology
      • AI in chemical synthesis
      • AI in drug repurposing
      • AI in drug screening
  • For patients:
    • More personalized diagnosis, prognosis and therapy
    • Enhanced relationship with care provider
    • Computer vision for diagnosis and surgery (AI enabled medical imaging)
    • Intelligent personal health records
  • Robotics & AI powered devices: Robots are being used extensively in healthcare to replace human workforce, augment human abilities and assist human healthcare professionals. Ex.
    • Robots for surgical procedures such as laparoscopic operations.
    • Robotic for rehabilitation & patient assistance.
    • Robots integrated into implants and prosthetics.
    • Robots to assist doctors with their tasks.
    • Mitigating effects of disabilities. Ex. assisting the visually impaired by a Chatbot.
  • Applications of AI in Agriculture
    • Crop yield prediction & price forecasts: Identify output yield of crops and forecast prices for next few weeks will help farmers to obtain maximum profits.
    • Intelligent spraying: AI based sensors can detect weed affected areas and can precisely spray herbicides in the right region reducing the usage of herbicides.
    • Predictive insights: Insights on right time to sow seeds for maximum productivity. Insights on the impacts created by the weather conditions.
    • Agriculture robots: Using autonomous robots for harvesting huge volumes of crop at a higher volume and faster pace.
    • Crop & soil monitoring: Using AI, farmers can monitor crop health for diagnosing pests/soil defects, nutrient deficiencies in soil etc.
    • Disease diagnosis: Using AI farmers can preempt diseases in their crops. This will help increase productivity of farming.
  • Applications of AI in national security
    • AI is a ‘dual use’ technology – it can be used for civilian and military purposes.
    • Likelihood of reckless or unethical uses of AI-enabled technologies by rogue states, criminals or terrorists is increasing.
    • Many security applications of Artificial intelligence will require only modest resources & workable expertise.
    • AI algorithms are often accessible.
    • Hardware is available ‘off-the-shelf’ and available to consumers (Ex. Graphics Processing Units).
    • ‘Deepfake’ capabilities can be easily downloaded and used by anyone. Al-enabled tools
    • AI-enabled capabilities will be tools of first resort in a new era of conflict: State and non-state actors can use AI to attack India even by avoiding direct military confrontation.
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Recent Advancements In AI

Evolution of AI

  • 1997: IBM’s Deepblue defeats humans in chess
  • 2000: Kismet, a social machine: capable of expressing emotions
  • 2016: IBM’s Watson defeats humans in Jeopardy
  • 2017: Siri, Google Now
  • 2018: AI generates AI: Google ML
  • Deep learning and Neural Networks: AI trains itself
  • Eg: AlphaGo: learnt to play GO by playing humans then trained itself by playing millions of games with itself. Thus, AlphaGo is creative and innovative.
  • IBM, Pfizer develop AI to predict Alzheimer’s disease


Google ML that is claimed by someone as sentient.


DeepMind’s AI that generated a 3D view of the protein universe.


  • Generative AI model developed by OpenAI.
  • ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) is a conversational AI system that is based on GPT-3.5 language model.
  • It can generate human-like text and has a wide range of applications, including language translation, language modelling, and generating text/code for applications, among others.
  • Generative AI: Refers to the capability of artificial intelligence-enabled machines to use existing text, audio files, or images to create new content


  • Bard is an experimental conversational AI service powered by Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA).
  • LaMDA is a large language model (LLM) built on Transformer, a neural network architecture, developed by Google.
  • Like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Bard is trained on a diverse range of topics, allowing it to generate high quality human-like responses to a wide variety of questions and prompts.


Deep learning model developed by Open AI that generates digital images from natural language descriptions.


Deep learning model that generates digital images using text descriptions. Developed by Stability AI.


Deepfakes leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to manipulate or generate visual and audio content with a high potential to deceive.”

  • These are fake videos or audio recordings that look and sound just like the real.
  • The main machine learning methods used to create deepfakes are based on deep learning and involve training generative neural network architectures, such as auto-encoders or generative adversarial networks (GANs).
  • Deepfakes are a new tool to spread computational propaganda & disinformation at scale and with speed.


  • Analog chipset dedicated to AI Tasks built by IISc, Bengaluru.
  • It will be faster and require less power than the digital chips found in most electronic devices.

BHASHINI: National Language Translation Mission

  • India’s Artificial Intelligence based language translation platform that aims to enable easy access to the internet and digital services, including voice-based access and content creation in Indian languages.
  • All contributions to Bhashini shall be validated and standardized using a 4 Unified Language Contribution API (ULCA).
  • It aims to build a National Public Digital Platform for Languages.
  • Bhasha Daan is an initiative to crowdsource language inputs for multiple Indian languages as part of Project BHASHINI. It calls upon citizens to help build an open repository of data to digitally enrich his/her own language.
  • It is a project of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY).

Also Read: Artificial Intelligence and its Regulation

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