An Intro to Artificial Intelligence

So you want to learn about A.I… Well you’ve come to the right place! I can teach you all you need to know about artificial intelligence and the many uses of it as well as the basics of how it works.

Artificial intelligence is the super cool technology that has taken the world by storm. It uses algorithms that tell a computer what to do. I will talk about what an algorithm is later. You can tell it to look at an image and be able to recognize what it is and tell you. You can make a literal ROBOT that can grab objects. What about a robo-butler?

Are you still not impressed? Well, there are still HUNDREDS of cool things that I think may fit your personal interests. These are some of the top applications of A.I. in the world right now.

  • E-bay
  • Neuralink (Elon Musk)
  • Amazon (Jeff Bezos)
  • Neurable (Dr. Ramses Alcaide)
  • Google (Larry page and Sergey Brin)
  • Microsoft (Bill Gates and Paul Allen)
  • Tesla(Also Elon Musk)

These are just some of the big names in Artificial intelligence. I highly recommend checking out Neurable if you are interested in their mission to understand the brain and how it works. My favorite piece of tech is a Virtual reality headset that uses your brain to control it. Again I recommend checking them out.

Neurable website

How Algorithms Work

So now you may be asking, what in the world are algorithms? Algorithms are just directions for a computer. You input “code” into the computer to get it to do what you want. Code is just the language your computer speaks. Don’t worry computers don’t have feelings( unless you code it to) so you’re not bossing it around. There are different languages of code and some are easier than others. Python is the main code used right now. It uses mainly “if”, “than” and “else” statements to tell a computer it’s directions. See now I probably confused you again. If, Than, and else statements are just saying once one thing happens, something else can happen since the first condition was met. Then once both conditions are met, you can get your end result for that piece of code. If you have ever used the program Scratch, it is a way more kid friendly version of python. It is made for programming games specifically. In Scratch you drag and drop blocks of code and put them in a certain order to create a sequence. Scratch is a good way to understand the code and what it means but it is definitely just the basics. Once you learn that you can move on to actually writing code instead of dragging code to where you want it. There are a couple places to learn how to write code that I recommend:

  • Coursera
  • Udacity
  • Codecademy

Machine Learning:

One of the coolest ways to see A.I. used is in Machine learning. It is a system where you feed the computer two different things and try to get it to understand the difference. Image recognition is where you show the computer images that represent something. If you want to teach your computer to tell the difference between dogs and cats. You show the computer pictures of both really big dogs and tiny kittens. You do this a couple hundred times until it is able to tell the difference between a kitten and a big dog. But what happens when you show the computer a picture of a tiny puppy and a really fat cat? Well it may put the fat cat with the dogs and the small puppy with the cats since all it knows up to this point is that big = dog and small = cat. You also need it to decipher colors and body features. If you show a black dog and then a black cat, it could still confuse the two. You may want to try whiskers on cats and floppy ears for dogs so there is a clear difference.

Another system that researchers have found is a reward system. You know when your parents give you a surprise for going above and beyond and doing your absolute best? I think we all remember the joy and sheer excitement we all went through when that happened. Well we do the same thing with computers. Take the game pong as an example. You tell the computer when the ball hits the other person’s paddle, it ounces and you don’t get anything( very sad). But when the ball goes past the paddle and off the screen, it gets a point(Yay!). Now the computer knows that it’s objective is to score a point against the human so it gets a point.

So let’s bring this back to our cats and dogs example. Now you can tell the computer that If it can sort all of the cats from dogs, it will get a point. This way it learns what is wrong and what is right. Machine learning is a very fun way to teach a computer how to recognize things and sort them.

Neural Networks

Neural networks are very similar to machine learning. They are basically sets of algorithms that recognize patterns. It takes data and uses it to recognize an object or an image. However the neural networks read these patterns as numbers. Neural networks take the data, store it in the “Input Layer” which is where the data is stored. In the middle there is a “Hidden Layer” which is just Where all of the computing is done. There could be no hidden layer but the more there are , the longer the computing will take. Then after some computing and number crunching, The computer comes out with an “Output” or your result. This is put into the “Output Layer”.This is really good for image recognition since you can take your set of data or your picture and use a neural network to recognize what it is. Neural networks can do more than just image recognition though. Again it can find patterns in large sets of data. This can also be used for data mining. My favorite video game Apex Legends has an issue with Data Miners every major patch or update to the game. Basically data miners will go into all of their files and databases, to find leaks and new things to spoil to everyone before the new season of the game come out. Those horrible people use neural networks to quickly search everything for any juicy information that they can tell all of us. If they didn’t use neural networks, I would be a grandfather by the time they found info for the first ever update. However data miners aren’t all bad as the term “Data mining” just means searching data. It doesn’t always have to do with spoiling the most exciting update that I was waiting my entire life for. Neural Networks can be used for a lot of cool things even past what is listed above.

Ethical Concerns:

I bet you’re all thinking about how amazing A.I. is. Well there are a couple of downsides to it, but they are all things that we can control. One of the first points people like bringing up is “What happens when they rebel against their creators and try to kill us all creating the first of many robot uprisings???” Well let me say that we may not have to worry about that…yet. Just kidding but we do need to worry about the people who get this kind of power. Really anyone CAN do that, but it is up to us to make sure that people with good intentions for the earth are using A.I. We’re not about to have Terminator part 7.

People also wonder what the world will look like 20 years or 50 years into the future if A.I is doing everything for us( Again robo-butler?). We need to make sure we don’t become lazy and make our everyday lives THAT easy. It is all up to who has this tech and what their ideals are. The main point I would like to bring up is unemployment. A.I. (specifically robots) are being programmed to do jobs faster and more efficient than us. That could become a problem but I believe that A.I. should only be used for jobs that we as humans physically cannot do or are undesirable. Jobs like garbage or waste management should all be given to A.I. I think teaching a computer to store things in a database without making someone sit at their desk for 9 hours, is a good idea as well.

However manual labor( depending on the job) should stay since those are jobs that usually need more than one person. As long as we can keep the good-hearted people using this technology, A.I. will help the world in so many ways.

The future of A.I:

The future of A.I. is very unknown. Will we remember it as one of the most effective and helpful technologies of all time? Or could this all backfire and A.I. becomes dangerous?. Bill Gates says “A.I. is like nuclear energy, both promising and dangerous”(CNBC) He believes that there is so much potential with A.I. and it’s Bill Gates so I’ll listen. Bill Gates is the co founder of Microsoft, which is one of the most revolutionary tech companies in history. They have come out with game consoles like the Xbox and make computers and software. A.I. could definitely be dangerous and we need to be careful. So what do you believe the future looks like? Think about that and maybe you can even help contribute to making our world a better place using Artificial Intelligence.