What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an aspiration to mimic human intelligence in a mechanical system. The term AI is frequently used to capture a wide-ranging set of technologies. Generally, AI refers to machines "capable of imitating or even exceeding human cognitive capacities." (UNESCO World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge, 2019)
AI is ubiquitous. If you use a computing system, it is likely you are using AI, possibly without even knowing it. Some examples of AI that you might be aware of include website chatbots, ChatGPT, Alexa or Siri, or automated recommendations for your online shopping cart. These tools are rapidly improving, evolving, and becoming more accessible. They have spilled over into academia, sparking conversations about AI's potential benefits, opportunities, challenges and ethical implications.
While many types of AI applications and uses exist, UNESCO has published recommendations for setting "stronger ethical rules for artificial intelligence." It is important to remember that AI is not a panacea, as most current AI technologies can produce inaccuracies, incorrect information, and biases embedded in the original data from which the machine has generated new content.
Some Types of AI
Generative Al, including ChatGPT, BING, DALL·E, and Perplexity Al, uses machine learning algorithms and existing data from broad digital and social sources, learning patterns to generate original, human-like material, including text, images and video.
Analytic Al, used in systems like Netflix or Amazon recommendations and supply chain optimization, uses machine learning to analyze data, derive insights and make suggestions.
Text Al technologies, including Google Translate, OCR tools, and OpenAl's GPT-4, process human language in text format, enabling language translation, text recognition and content creation.
Visual Al systems used in self-driving cars, security systems, and augmented reality games like Pokémon Go, process and understand images or videos, performing tasks such as object recognition, face detection and image classification.
Machine learning is the automated discovery of patterns from a large collection of data. With the emergence of the availability of large amounts of data and access to greater computational processing power, machine learning has become the foundation of modern AI. Large language models (LLMs), evident in platforms like ChatGPT, are examples of models that machine learning and neural networks can create.
Natural Language Processing
Natural language processing (NLP) allows machines to understand naturalized human speech and communication. Interactive Al technologies, evident in platforms like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, are trained using NLP to enable human-like interactions, such as participating in conversations, responding to questions, and providing relevant information.
Connect With Us!
We welcome input on additional useful resources, comments and questions, which will help us develop our FAQs, events, courses and training, and news sections. Please use the forms on the Connect with Us page to share your experiences, ideas, and resources related to AI in higher ed.