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Drew Turney
Technology Journalist

Drew Turney writes about technology, science, film, books, pop culture and the crossroads between any or all of them

Drew Turney
Technology Journalist

Drew Turney writes about technology, science, film, books, pop culture and the crossroads between any or all of them

Since computers were invented, we've given them information and told them what to do. What if they could decide what to do with the data themselves and become smarter in the bargain? Welcome to the world of artificial intelligence (AI).

Smartphone with digital assistant on screen

Computers! take note

Computers are about accurate calculations of huge, absolute numbers. Our powers fall down when it comes to huge maths problems, but we're really good at looking at things in a more abstract way and extracting meaning.

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, if we saw a portion of long grass moving on the savannah we didn't have to know what kind of grass it was, how tall it was and what kind of animal liked to lie in it. We simply sprang into action in case we were about to become lunch, even if it turned out to be a gust of wind.

Artificial intelligence, as the name suggests, is the effort to make computers more like us. Instead of just feeding in huge amounts of information and telling them what we want to do with it, the point of an AI system is to give it the information, tell it what we want to achieve and let it figure out the best way to get there. Even – as some software engineers think – to suggest a course of action we humans haven't been able to identify. 

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