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Each day I open my news app and I see the words “Artificial Intelligence”, or “AI”, pop up on my phone screen. There is often uncertainty by what people mean when they talk about artificial intelligence because it is a general term to describe the field of machine intelligence and perception. AI enables computers to understand what they see, communicate in natural language, answer complex questions, and interact with their environment. Therefore, artificial intelligence is any technology that accomplishes these tasks, or tasks that imitate human intelligence. Currently there are two main ways to participate in the explosion of artificial intelligence: machine learning and deep learning.

Machine learning is the practice of using algorithms to parse data and make predictions to solve a dynamic problem. Predictive analytics is extremely popular for organizations of all sizes. It is becoming easier to develop and deploy solutions due to readily available data, and products like Azure ML or Microsoft R Server, which make it easy for anyone to write and deploy custom machine learning solutions. If you would like to read more about an overview of machine learning, I wrote a blog going over machine learning, with examples.

While machine learning has been flourishing for decades now, deep learning is driving the current explosion of artificial intelligence. The popularity of artificial intelligence is in large part due to the enhances in Neural Networks and computing. Neural Networks were practically discarded by the AI research community because the amount of compute they required made them almost unusable. However, now that large machines are readily available they are more popular than ever. Because of Neural Networks, we now have computers with the ability to classify images, analyze written and spoken text in many languages, make better recommendations, and complete tasks often better and faster than humans.

Artificial intelligence is a term that encompasses a very large field of machine intelligence. This article aims to bring clarity to what people mean by artificial intelligence, however, if you are looking for some real-life examples of AI then check out the Microsoft Cognitive Services APIs. Microsoft allows you to test a lot of them right in your browser!

If you are looking to learn more about artificial intelligence, check out our upcoming webcasts, AI in the Enterprise, starting September 7, 2017!

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