Understanding Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Human Lives

Hello, everyone! In my last article, I made you aware of the biggest data breach in the history of Facebook. Almost around 50 million user data was shared with a British organization named Cambridge Analytica and it was made to use in order to predict the outcome of the US presidential elections. The data fetched from Facebook was without the consent of the user and thus it led to such a huge controversy and data breach. To know more all the details about the same, click here. Today, I’ll brief about what artificial intelligence and what do you understand when you hear the term artificial intelligence. Also, I’ll be focusing on its impact on human lives.

Before knowing the history, let us understand what do you mean by artificial intelligence? What strikes your mind when someone talks or speaks about artificial intelligence? In simple terms what we understand by the terms is that ‘Intelligence that is artificial or put into a system/machine/device by a human.’ To make it more precise, artificial intelligence means making computer systems and machines work in a way similar to we humans do. Giving the systems/machines human intelligence and power of thinking (similar to human) through computational algorithms and methods are all that you can say about Artificial Intelligence in simple terms.




Starting off with Artificial Intelligence, the field of AI research saw its birth at the Dartmouth College in the year 1956. Since then, many advances took place in this field in the form general purpose solving systems and expert systems. Soon in the year 1990, artificial intelligence was started being used in the field of logistics, analysis, data management, medical diagnosis and more. The processing of the AI systems and their efficiency completely depends on the computational power of the device that is used to run AI programs. (Computation power here means, how fast is the processor and/or faster your machine runs).

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Slowly and steadily with continuous research in this field, the field started creating a buzz all over the world and in the year 1997 on May 11, for the first time a computer chess-playing system had beaten the world chess champion, Garry Kasparov. Later on, advanced statistical techniques were used in order to make the AI systems more efficient, more reliable and more accurate. Statistical techniques mean collecting, analysing and summarizing the data that you have. The most important and the primary thing in AI systems is the data. The more data you have better will be the accuracy of the AI system. Collecting the data (reliable data, authentic information and records) is one of the major challenges. Post that, organizing it in proper format is another major task.



Consider a scenario where you have collected data from 10 different sources. Now the context of the data is same which belongs to financial records, but 10 sources have 10 different formats of data. You have now collected the data, but as the format is different from each other, you won’t be able to use it in order to build or create something out of it. So data organization is very important. Once this is done, the analysis is performed and further AI-based techniques can be used.

How it actually works? In simple terms, an artificial intelligence system can work in two different ways:

  1. The knowledge of the machine/system is already stored and it will be fixed lifetime (no real-time or dynamic learning). Based on this knowledge the system will respond to user queries and will generate an output for the same.
  2. The knowledge of the machine/system is stored every time a new query is hit and it (knowledge in the system) gets updated every time with a new query. If an old query is requested, the output is fetched from the knowledge base.

For both the ways to work, a lot of data is required. Be it dynamic (in real-time) or initially stored, a history of record is really important in order to compare it with the new record that is either generated or is stored by default in the system.

Consider a real-life scenario (working of AI):

  1. There is a dataset which contains a number of records related to the medical domain. It consists of the names of different tablets, anti-biotic, paracetamol and more.
  2. Each name of medicine is associated with the name of a disease or problem.
  3. The dataset looks somewhat like this:
Name of Medicine Name of Disease/Problem
Crocin Fever
Combiflam Body Pain and Ache
. (and many more) . (and many more)
. .
. .

 

  1. This dataset is stored in the system and then a program is written in order to identify the correct medicine for a particular problem. This process will be entirely automated with the knowledge base stored prior to the system.
  2. Once the system is built, the user will ask a query, “What medicine should I take for Fever?”
  3. The system will provide an answer by checking all the fields in the knowledge base and will provide an output: Name of Medicine: Crocin.

The user feels as if another user has given the answer from another side, but it doesn’t work in such a way. In reality, the system answers your questions (the answer is given based on the intelligence stored in it) and there is no participation of any user in answering your query. This is just a basic example in order to help you understand what artificial intelligence is and how it works.

The impact of the same is a lot of human lives and is increasing day by day. With continuous research ongoing in the field, the use of artificial intelligence technologies and its product is growing. To name some of the days to day applications that make use of Artificial Intelligence are, search engines, email filtering, product recommendations and much more.




With time, the impact on human lives is emerging, as people are nowadays relying more on smartphones and smart devices in order to get their things done much faster and better. It is not only impacting the user behaviour, but it is also trying to change your thinking ability and perception. Decision making is really important in our life and the perception to visualize many things matters from person to person. AI is shaping the decision making the ability of a user to such an ease, that the output generated or the query solved is similar to the way a human brain will do.

Keeping in mind such points, it is also important to know that, if not taken proper care of, AI can be very destructive in terms of its usage and can even cause harm to the user in many ways. Regarding the problems AI can cause, I’ll write about the same in my next upcoming articles soon.

How do you find AI? Exciting or Boring? Comment your views below.

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Author: Akshay Rakesh Toshniwal

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