What is AI?

John McCarthy coined the term ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) in 1956 when he invited a group of researchers from a variety of disciplines including language simulation, neuron nets and complexity theory to meet and discuss ‘software that mimics human intelligence’.
Artificial intelligence may be described as the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. Machine Learning is a type of artificial intelligence and is the ability of a computer program to learn on its own accord, without needing to be explicitly programmed or coded – the software learns each time it conducts a task. AI is the fastest growing tech sector in the world. US$38bn was invested in the last 12 months and this is due to grow 12-fold in the next 5 years. About 37% of organisations globally have AI – a 270% growth since 2016 (Gartner) and by 2021, 80% of technologies will have AI foundations (Gartner). The greatest use of AI is in marketing and sales (40% use of AI) (Forbes) and the most common AI use cases are: customer service (US$4,5bn); sales process automation (US$2.7bn); automated threat intelligence (US$2.7bn) (IDC).

The coming of AI has been compared to the same powerful effect that electricity had when it was introduced to the industrial era and a greater effect than the invention of fire – Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated, “AI is one of the most important things humanity is working on. It is more profound than, I dunno, electricity or fire.”

We agree.