Monday, June 18, 2018

Artificial Intelligence

Coined by John Mcarthy in 1956 the concept of how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is defined has changed over time. With that said the AI at its core has always been about creating a computer, a machine, a robot or a software program that can think intelligently, just like a human.

AI as a concept is a much broader than merely a smart computer or a robot as it is generally thought to be. Rather AI is about creating a machine/ computer or software which can mimic and function just like an intelligent human brain functions. It also makes sense to base AI on the human brain as we humans are the most capable to observe, understand and act in accordance to our environment.
And that is where the challenge lies, creating an intelligence artificially that can from the information provided or collected, learn, observe, understand and provide solutions and take actions and at the same time it should be intelligent, rational and ethical.

In other words, AI is a branch of computer science whose main purpose is to create machines and software as intelligent as humans.


Broadly AI has two major purposes:
  1. Create expert systems: Systems which exhibit intelligent behavior, learn, demonstrate, explain, advice and provide solutions to its users.
  2. Implement human intelligence in machines: Create systems that understand, think, learn and behave like humans.
To further understand or break down the concept of AI we need to understand that AI as a technology or a science is not an independent one but depends heavily on other branches of science such as computer science, engineering, psychology, mathematics, linguistics and biology.

The ability of a system to calculate, reason, perceive relationship and analogies, learn from experience, store and retrieve information from memory, solve problems, comprehend complex ideas, use natural language fluently, classify, generalize, and adapt new situations. All these abilities together create what we call intelligence. Also, there can be  multiple type of intelligence, linguistic, mathematical-logical, musical, interpersonal, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic to name a few. You can say a system has artificial intelligence when it is equipped with at least one at the most all of these intelligence.

When we consider the above reasoning we realize that AI is no longer a thing of future, it is in the here and the now. Consider automated cars, virtual reality gaming, factory process flows that require no human interventions. Consider "Siri" or "Alexa" personal assistants who understand human speech and understand what we want or need. Look at services like Apple store or Youtube which suggest us various new music and videos based on what we have previously watched or showed interest in.

In closing, there are only small and simple examples of what AI is capable of. As AI grows exponentially it is imperative to consider its long term impact on the environment and human race.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Internet of Things

The world is talking about Internet of Things (IOT), workplace or outside everyone is intrigued with this new phenomenon. So what is Internet of Things exactly and why are people so intrigued.

IOT can be defined as a network of devices like cars, home appliances and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators and connectivity which enables these objects to connect with each other and exchange data. Each object is unique and interconnected within the same internet infrastructure with other devices.
In simple terms, IOT is the concept of connecting multiple devices under a common internet infrastructure so they can be controlled remotely with little to none manual intervention. From everyday objects like your TV, air conditioner, light bulbs, cell phones to hi-tech machinery in factories almost all can be embedded with software and sensors and controlled automatically using IOT.

Gartner, an analyst firm  predicts that by 2020 there will over 26 billion devices that could be integrated using IOT. This very clearly suggests that most of our daily objects at work and home will be integrated with IOT making our lives very comforting. IOT devices have the capability of sharing data with each other, thus creating a lot of data about the choices, likes and dislikes of an individual. This  can help simplify our lives as a lot of our everyday decisions or choices will be made by these devices automatically. For example; your car may send notifications on your cellphone when it requires servicing or something needs repairing, or on a hot day you can set the air conditioner to cool of your home while you are leaving from your work place.

These are simple examples of what large feats are possible once IOT comes in full force. IOT will bring about a lot of changes not just at home but in the overall environment as a whole. Homes, factories, farms, manufacturing units, service providers all that can be connected will be. And this will have a very strong impact on our lives. Automation, reductions in wastage, energy savings and many other such benefits will result in efficient, clean and smart cities and reduce costs and losses on a huge scale.

With so many positives IOT is not only intriguing but also much awaited. However, another aspect that has a serious impact on us with IOT coming in is personal privacy and security. Do we really want so many connected devices sharing our personal information freely to our service providers? How much privacy are we willing to compromise for IOT? With nations always worried about national safety and terrorism do we actually want so many devices collecting our everyday life information and making it openly available? And what about hacking – with IOT being so huge and everything connected a simple breach may result in huge losses. SECURITY is the biggest concern when it comes to IOT and protocols need to be established and followed very strictly if we are to fully enjoy this life changing concept of IOT.

Discussions on IOT have been going on throughout the globe for many years and the positives and challenges of more and more devices joining under IOT needs to be thought upon. For now all we can do is try to understand more and more about IOT and how it will impact our lives in the near future.

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