Artificial Intelligence

by Dr. Reeja Tharu on  March 11, 2008 at 3:54 PM Health In Focus   - G J E 4
Have you laughed at your forebears for their simian resemblance? Well, get ready to be laughed at by your descendants! The branch of science dealing with Artificial Intelligence predicts a futuristic race, with manifold efficiency and with little patience for human errors, invading planet earth. We are talking of a time when perfection is made commonplace by machines that 'think'!
Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is a 'chip' of the computer science 'block'. It deals with creating machines that simulate intelligent human behavior. The term Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also used to describe a trait, a property or  a charecteristic of a  machine, or the program it contains.

John McCarthy was the first to coin the word  'artificial intelligence'. He defined it as  "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines".

The basis of AI encompasses different sources of information, from computer science, physiology and oncology to the abstract components of philosophy. Further research into the areas of sensory perception, language skills and learning has amalgamated to create machines that are endowed with the ability  'think'.

 For a very long time now man-like machines, such as robots, have captivated man's imagination. His creative genius soared to an all-time high, with the invention of computers. Man was able to create machines that closely resembled and carried out chores like him, with robotic precision. He invented a slave that did not ask for a break or a hike in salary! Today, systems are being etched out with the ability to mimic human speech and thoughts and to perform countless other chores that were earlier deemed impossible. 

The usage of Artificial Intelligence surged during the nineties and the early part of the twenty first century. This was when greater emphasis began to be laid  on miniscule details;when researchers began taking a lot more interest in methodical analysis. Besides, AI began to be associated with several different areas of work.

Some of the traits that these machines today are capable of exhibiting are learning, perception, planning, communication, reasoning, knowledge, and the ability to move/manipulate objects. It is amply used in the fields of technology, counter terrorism, crisis management, defense, data mining, and in the realm of medical diagnosis.

Science fiction has always linked AI with outer space and 'life beyond'. But how relevant is it now to life on earth?

A spokeswoman for the American Association for Artificial Intelligenceremarked, "Once a technology leaves the research labs and gets proven, it becomes ubiquitous to the point where it is almost invisible"

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way out of the lab and into the mainstream market. It has successfully seeped into the economic infrastructure the world over. It is edging its way to integrate with modern lifestyle. From cameras, spam filters, and fridges to business solutions, AI's ubiquitous presence is seen everywhere.

Each time a mobile number is dialed or each time  an e-mail is sent, AI programs are coordinating and directing information.

Google is not acknowledged as  the conventional AI. Working with data input by millions of online viewers, Google's search engines provide the required information within a span of few seconds. There are softwares, like Thunderbird, which can even tell if an e- mail is legitimate or not.

Terrorism has crept into our lives like a tetra-headed monster. Getting into a head-on battle with the terrorizing forces is next to impossible because of the pact that they have signed with death. But the doctoral thesis of 26-year-old Praveen Paruchuri, a computer science student, may help to usher in a change.

Paruchuri's work has been implemented at the Los Angeles International Airport, to ensure greater security. Steeped in AI nuances, his work is based on a new computer program that deviates from the protocol check routine. This is intended to confuse the terrorists who will keep guessing at the methods adopted by the police.

Some of the other common uses of AI are listed below-

•    Employed by banks to detect fraud

•    Used by doctors to diagnose and treat patients

•    Used in the pharmaceutical sector to analyze human genome data

•    Vision-recognition programs are used to scan pools and beaches to detect signs of drowning and to alert lifeguards

•    AI software is used to create jet engines of better quality.

•    It is used immensely in logistic and underground operations

•    In factories, AI is used to bolster productivity. This is done by keeping an eye on the machines and by signaling when preventive maintenance is required.

•    Robots are employed in some places to remove trash and transport meals

Application- related AI research has been revived, with newfound vigor in medicine, customer service, manufacturing, education and other areas. Machines are soon to be created that are able to see, learn, listen and speak. These machines are expected to understand us, obey us and, perhaps, even anticipate our requirements. This will make them more user- friendly and who knows --they may in future turn out to be better than humans, minus their pile of follies.

Artificial intelligence is 50 years old and, yet, is still in its infancy. Although AI   has performed several feats, there are many human qualities that it cannot mimic—intuition and love may just be two of them. AI is bound to impact our education, our careers and our social lives with far-reaching effects. It is up to man to stay within the line of control and not become a prey to the most fancy of all his creations!

Source: Medindia
Dr. Reeja Tharu/L

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