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14 June 2023 - 5 minutes

The Four Main Areas of Artificial Intelligence

Wondering exactly what artificial intelligence is and how we can use it? Take a look.

Juliette Erath - Tech Writer

Artificial intelligence has been all the rage lately and there’s a reason why: its power has been harnessed to transform the way we live, think, and interact with others. But as it’s become such a powerful tool, its uses have been expanding rapidly–there are probably uses of artificial intelligence that you haven’t even heard of yet! It would take us ages to go through absolutely every use of artificial intelligence, so we’ve decided to break it down into four main areas: reactive machines, limited memory, theory of AI, and self aware. 

What do each of these mean? How are they similar and different? How do we use each on a daily basis? We’ll have the answers and more in this article.

Artificial Intelligence: What is it?

Simply put, artificial intelligence is the theory and development of computer systems to be able to perform tasks that are typically reserved for humans because they require human intelligence. It can take lots of forms, but the most common are visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation. 

And how does it work? Well, let’s keep it simple: artificial intelligence mimics human decision-making processes using real time data to simulate a human response to a situation. This might sound similar to automation, but there’s a key difference: while both use data input to tell the machine what to do, automation is limited in that it simply repeats the task it was instructed to do, regardless of errors or areas for improvement. Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, is able to use real-time data to recognize errors and make adjustments to prevent them in the future. 

The benefits of artificial intelligence 

What we described above sounds pretty cool, right? It is, but that’s not the only benefit of AI. Let’s break some others down: 

  • Artificial intelligence helps improve decision-making: business decision-making is infinitely easier with artificial intelligence; AI can predict various outcomes based on proposed solutions, allowing businesses to have a preview of diverse possibilities and make the best choice for them. 

  • Artificial intelligence simplifies the research process: AI is capable of collecting, sorting, and drawing conclusions from large data sets, a task that can be quite time-consuming if handled by a human. Using AI, data scientists can make informed decisions in much less time. 

  • Artificial intelligence doesn’t have typical human limitations: one of the biggest challenges facing humans is bias; unconscious biases seep into even the most skilled data scientist’s work. AI doesn’t have these biases and when provided with clean data, it can make a truly unbiased decision. 

  • Artificial intelligence handles mundane tasks: a lot of data-driven jobs and tasks are quite repetitive and tedious; artificial intelligence can automate these tasks and let data scientists focus on what really matters.

Uses of Artificial Intelligence in Our Daily Lives 

You might be thinking that self-driving cars and human-like chatbots that can joke around with you are the only examples of artificial intelligence that are frequently used, but the reality is that artificial intelligence is everywhere. Don’t believe us? Take a look:

  • Facial recognition technology: ever unlocked your phone with just your face? Or logged into a bank account using facial recognition technology? This is AI at work, scanning your face to verify your identity.

  • Social media recommendations: do you wonder just how your phone knows you’d love to look at cute videos of puppies all day? Well, AI can take the data of what you search/look at to provide a customized feed for you. 

  • Spelling/grammar suggestions: there’s nothing as cool as typing and seeing the word you’re thinking of appear right in front of you. How does that work?! You guessed it: artificial intelligence. Here, AI uses data from natural language processing to recommend words/edits based on previously collected information. 

The Four Main Areas of Artificial Intelligence

Now that you’re clear on what AI is and how it can help humans with their tasks, let’s dive right into the four main areas of artificial intelligence. 

Reactive machine artificial intelligence

This first category of artificial intelligence is the most basic form and the original; this type of AI is reactive and can react to prompts or user inputs, but can’t use past knowledge or experiences to make new decisions. While reactive machine AI tools are great for one specific task, they have little to no use outside of that determined function; they’re not able to perform other tasks or use new data to continue improving and will respond identically to requests because their database is exactly the same. 

Here’s a few examples of reactive machine AI: 

  • Spam filters in your email inbox

  • Recommendations on streaming services 

  • Google’s AlphaGo game player

Limited memory artificial intelligence

Our second artificial intelligence category is a step more advanced than the first; limited memory AI tools have just that: a limited memory. They’re able to store and use information from past experiences to learn new tasks, but still requires data to be pre-programmed for a specific use. 
It can analyze real-time data to make predictions and suggestions to humans and evolve based on past experiences. 

Examples of limited memory artificial intelligence include:

  • Chatbots 

  • Self-driving cars 

Theory of mind artificial intelligence

The third category of AI, theory of mind, is a type that hasn’t yet emerged, but is being actively researched and developed. When this type of artificial intelligence is released, it will possess a new capacity that sets it apart from any other technology that exists today: the ability to understand human nature, thoughts, and emotions, and make correct decisions based on that information. 

As this is a type of artificial intelligence that is still in the works and doesn’t yet exist, we can’t give you any examples. However, we can say that once this type of artificial intelligence enters our world and is able to make human-like decisions and react to what’s happening around it, technology will have reached an entirely new level. 

Self aware artificial intelligence

The final category of artificial intelligence is also far from emerging as a reality, but it’s an area that will truly transform technology and human life; self aware artificial intelligence will be able to form opinions and emotions about themselves, not depending on human-imputed data.  

Although self aware artificial intelligence is a long way from becoming something that we have in our toolkit, these other three kinds are very real options that can transform the way we think and work. 

The future of artificial intelligence is bright and we can’t wait to see everything that will happen over the course of the next few years. And if you can’t either, check out our bootcamps and let your tech dreams come true.

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