June 5, 2024

What is Artificial Intelligence?

If you’ve ever wondered “what is artificial intelligence?” or googled “was Skynet AI?”, this article is here to answer your questions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become ubiquitous in today's world, permeating various aspects of our lives across different industries and domains. If you're curious about this emerging technology and want to understand it better, you're in the right spot. In this article, we'll delve into what AI entails, its origins, and its diverse applications.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) represents a branch of computer science dedicated to crafting intelligent systems capable of executing tasks typically associated with human intelligence. It entails the creation of algorithms and frameworks that can sift through extensive datasets, discern patterns, acquire knowledge from past encounters, and render informed decisions or forecasts.

AI encompasses a spectrum of technologies and methodologies, often referred to by various terms. Among these are machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics.

Machine learning, an integral facet of AI, empowers systems to learn and refine their performance through experience, devoid of explicit programming.

Natural language processing enables machines to comprehend, interpret, and respond to human speech—an essential component underlying applications like voice assistants and language translation services.

Computer vision equips machines with the ability to scrutinize and decipher visual information, facilitating tasks such as object identification and image categorization.

Robotics amalgamates AI with mechanical engineering, leading to the creation of intelligent machines capable of interacting with the physical world.

Who invented Artificial Intelligence?

Alan Turing

Alan Turing emerged as a pioneering luminary within the realm of computer science, leaving an indelible mark on the trajectory of artificial intelligence (AI). His seminal contributions laid the cornerstone for AI research, endowing it with enduring significance.

Among Turing's profound legacies stands his proposition of the "Turing test" in 1950. This test serves as a litmus test for gauging a machine's capacity to emulate intelligent behavior akin to that of a human. As per Turing's criteria, if a machine can engage in seamless natural language exchanges, successfully deceiving a human evaluator into believing it is human, it attains the status of artificial intelligence.

The Turing test swiftly became a touchstone for AI scholars, galvanizing endeavors to cultivate conversational agents and refine natural language processing competencies.

Dartmouth College

The genesis of AI can be traced back to the seminal Dartmouth Conference convened in 1956. It was during this historic gathering that researchers first coined the term "artificial intelligence" and set the groundwork for the burgeoning field.

Since its nascent stages, AI has undergone profound transformations propelled by leaps in computing prowess, burgeoning data accessibility, and refinements in algorithms.

Late 20th Century AI

During the late 20th century, AI encountered a phase known as the "AI winter," spanning from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. This era was marked by dwindling enthusiasm and progress in AI research. Factors such as overblown expectations, computational limitations, and the complexity of problem-solving contributed to this downturn.

However, the AI winter eventually thawed due to notable advancements in computing power, the emergence of practical applications showcasing value, increased availability of big data, refinement of algorithms, successful commercial ventures, and collaborative efforts across various disciplines. These developments reignited interest in AI, sparking a resurgence in research and applications during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Early 21st Century AI

The resurgence of AI in the early 21st century was propelled by the advent of Big Data, which facilitated advancements in algorithms, pattern recognition, real-world applications, and the iterative refinement of AI models.

  1. Data Availability: The rise of Big Data provided AI researchers with extensive and varied datasets for training and validation purposes.
  2. Enhanced Algorithms: Leveraging large datasets, particularly in machine learning, led to the enhancement of AI algorithms, resulting in improved performance and accuracy.
  3. Pattern Recognition: Big Data enabled the identification of intricate patterns and correlations that were previously challenging to discern.
  4. Real-World Applications: Industries capitalized on Big Data and AI to glean insights, enhance decision-making processes, and optimize operational efficiency.
  5. Iterative Improvement: The feedback loop facilitated by Big Data allowed for the continuous learning and iterative enhancement of AI models using real-world data.

What Does AI Do?

The essence of AI lies in its capacity to automate tasks, elevate decision-making processes, boost efficiency, foster personalization, amplify human potential, and catalyze innovation and research.

Automate Tasks

AI excels in automating repetitive tasks, liberating human resources for more intricate and imaginative pursuits.

Enhance Decision-Making

By scrutinizing vast datasets, discerning patterns, and furnishing valuable insights, AI facilitates informed, data-driven decision-making.

Improve Efficiency and Productivity

Across diverse sectors, AI technologies refine processes, optimize operations, and elevate productivity levels.

Enable Personalization

Through analysis of user data and behavior, AI enables tailored experiences, empowering businesses to customize offerings to individual preferences.

Augment Human Capabilities

AI acts as a force multiplier, augmenting human cognitive and physical abilities, enabling faster, more precise task execution with reduced human effort.

Advance Innovation and Research

At the forefront of breakthroughs, AI propels innovation across domains, fueling progress in healthcare, science, engineering, and beyond, fostering new discoveries and solutions.

Different Types of Artificial Intelligence

AI systems are sorted into categories based on their level of generality (Narrow vs. General) or by their decision-making approach (rule-based versus machine learning).

Narrow AI versus General AI

Narrow AI, also known as Weak AI, is tailored to execute specific tasks like facial recognition or voice assistants, functioning within set limitations.

General AI, or Strong AI, strives to emulate human-like intelligence, capable of comprehending, learning, and applying knowledge across diverse domains.

Although narrow AI dominates the current landscape, attaining general AI poses an ongoing challenge, prompting ethical and societal deliberations.

Rule-Based versus Machine Learning

Rule-Based AI

Rule-based AI, also referred to as expert systems, operates on predefined rules crafted by human experts to resolve problems or make decisions. These rules are encoded into the AI system, which then compares input data with these rules to determine the appropriate response or outcome.


  • Well-suited for domains with clear and explicit rules
  • Provides transparency and interpretability in decision-making processes


  • Struggles with ambiguity or adapting to new data
  • Requires continuous human intervention for rule creation and maintenance

Machine Learning

Machine Learning (ML) AI, on the other hand, learns from data autonomously, without explicit rules, utilizing algorithms to discern patterns and construct mathematical models.


  • Adapts and optimizes performance based on new, unseen data
  • Excels in complex domains with vast data sets, identifying intricate patterns and generalizing from examples
  • Improves performance over time as it learns from new data


  • Demands substantial amounts of labeled data for effective learning
  • Prone to overfitting and replicating biases inherent in the training data

Both approaches possess unique strengths and weaknesses, with the selection between them influenced by the nature of the problem domain and the availability of labeled data and expert knowledge.

Often, a combination of both approaches is employed at various stages in the AI project lifecycle.

AI Uses In Industry

Self-Driving Cars (Tesla)

Tesla's self-driving vehicles integrate various AI techniques, such as machine learning and expert systems, to navigate roads autonomously.

Machine learning algorithms process extensive data from sensors like cameras and radar to perceive and understand the surrounding environment. Expert systems embed decision-making rules, enabling real-time responses to sensor inputs and learned models.

Large Language Models (Chat GPT)

Large language models, exemplified by Chat GPT, predominantly rely on unsupervised machine learning methods, particularly large language models. Engineers train these systems on vast text datasets, allowing them to grasp language structures, patterns, and contextual cues.

Leveraging deep learning algorithms, these models generate coherent and contextually relevant prompts or responses based on the provided input.

Editing and Proofreading (Grammarly)

Grammarly employs a blend of expert systems and machine learning techniques to offer editing and proofreading suggestions. Expert systems encode grammar rules, stylistic conventions, and writing norms.

Machine learning algorithms analyze text patterns and linguistic features to identify errors, propose corrections, and provide contextualized recommendations.

Learn To Wield The Power Of AI

Despite its booming popularity, Artificial Intelligence is still regarded as a relatively new field. Here at Bletchley Institute, we provide the essential skills necessary for navigating and driving innovation within the AI revolution.

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