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(Guide) The basics of modern AI—how does it work and will it destroy society this year?


Karlston

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Today's AI is technically "weak"—but it's complex and can have a great societal impact.

You don't have to be Keir Dullea to know that fully grasping artificial intelligence can be intimidating.
Enlarge / You don't have to be Keir Dullea to know that fully grasping artificial intelligence can be intimidating.
George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

AI, or artificial intelligence, is huge right now. “Unsolvable” problems are being solved, billions of dollars are being invested, and Microsoft even hired Common to tell you how great its AI is with spoken word poetry. Yikes.

 

As with any new technology, it can be hard to cut through the hype. I spent years doing research in robotics and UAVs and “AI,” but even I’ve had a hard time keeping up. In recent years I've spent a lot of time learning to answer even some of the most basic questions like:

  • What are people talking about when they say AI?
  • What’s the difference between AI, machine learning, and deep learning?
  • What’s so great about deep learning?
  • What kind of formerly hard problems are now easily solvable, and what’s still hard?

I know I’m not alone in wondering these things. So if you’ve been wondering what the AI excitement is all about at the most basic level, it's time for a little peek behind the curtain. If you’re an AI expert who reads NIPS papers for fun, there won’t be much new for you here—but we all look forward to your clarifications and corrections in the comments.

 

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Poster's note: This is a long, multi-page article with image slideshows. For the complete article, please visit the link below.

 

Source: The basics of modern AI—how does it work and will it destroy society this year? (Ars Technica)

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