With the advent of computers, life has become a lot easier. Complex calculations that were previously done manually, can now be done quickly using computers. However, as these machines cannot think, making a complex decision is certainly not possible for a computer. These machines face trouble in understanding complex real world problems.
For instance, can a computer diagnose a disease based on the symptoms the person exhibits? This is where artificial intelligence (AI) steps in. AI is a branch of science that enables a computer to tackle complex tasks and adapt to new situations. It makes the computer perform tasks that are normally done by humans.
In other words, AI allows the computer to think like humans. It helps machines to make complex judgmental calls, solve complex problems in a more human like fashion. Problems that require intelligence and reasoning can now be effectively accomplished by using computers.
Although mainly associated with computer science, AI is useful for a myriad of applications in different fields like agriculture, medicine, maths, and biology. AI programs are based on human knowledge to recognize patterns in complex data, learn from experience and take decisions that are normally taken by humans.
AI systems observe something and then try to recognize it on the basis of previously established parameters. So according to a particular situation, AI systems react and handle the task to solve the problem.
Branches of Artificial Intelligence
The most important and widely used branches of AI are expert systems and neural networks. Expert system involves programming computers to understand real life situations so as to take correct decisions. This is accomplished by collecting human knowledge and encoding it in a format that is understandable to the computer.
The thinking process and reasoning skills of experts are also borrowed and applied as an algorithm in a computer friendly manner. The expert system, thus designed, help the human experts to make complex decisions by using the knowledge encoded in its knowledge base.
For instance, an expert system that is fed with information about the symptoms of various diseases can help to diagnose a particular illness. There are systems developed to route airport traffic and make financial forecasts. Games are indeed a popular application of artificial intelligence.
Computers can be programmed to play competitive board games (like chess) that require a high level of thinking. The game rules and how a human expert makes decisions while playing the game, are all collected and encoded into the computer.
Although, no computer is capable of simulating human behavior, the machine is intelligent enough to beat humans in a chess match. This was evident when an IBM supercomputer in 1997 defeated the reigning World Champion Gary Kasparov in a game of chess.
AI can definitely help enhance the capabilities of a computer. The day is not far when computers will begin to exhibit full artificial intelligence and tackle any complex task efficiently.