What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

As with the word “intelligence”, there are also many different interpretations on what “Artificial Intelligence” means. Often AI is referred to as ‘”intelligence exhibited by machines” but that can feel rather abstract to many. 

For this reason we prefer to determine ‘when’ something can be considered AI.  In other words, ‘we know AI when we see it (in action)”.

When is something an Artificial Intelligence solution?

A solution, produce or service can be consider AI when it meets all of the five criteria below. If it does not meet all of the five conditions, we do not consider it an Artificial Intelligence solution, product or service. It can still be very effective or efficient, and it even may use a lot of Artificial Intelligence internally, but for the end user it is not considered to be an AI Solution.

1) it senses

It receives data real-time, for instance from..
..sensors such as cameras, microphones, temperature, GPS
..control devices such as a mouse, keyboard, steering wheel
..digital input from other systems such as emails or databases

2) it applies knowledge

It applies its knowledge, for instance to determine
..what the user tries to achieve
..what potential event/actions may be needed to allow the user to meeting his/her goal

..what potential event/actions may prevent the user to meet his/her goal
..what the options for action are (who needs to do what when and how) 
..what the pros/cons and (un)intended consequences are of each option

3) it acts

..providing the user with advice
..making a decision and ‘instructing’ another part of the system, or even the user, to take an action
..taking an action itself

4) it learns

It continuously updates and refines its knowledge, for instance through
..deep learning or
..machine learning

5) all in real-time. 

There is no significant time gap between the above, and especially should not require further manual intervention. For instance..
..whatever the AI has learned should get applied to step 2 almost directly after.
..the period between sensing and taking action is very short

Artificial Intelligence solutions must be able to sense, apply knowledge, act and learn, all in real-time.