Understanding Artificial Intelligence

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“Why are humans considered the most intelligent species on earth? The answer to this question is based on the concept of human intelligence. Humans have evolved over time, developed new technologies, and they are able to think and learn. Also, humans have developed advanced languages, both in spoken and written which allows them to communicate ideas, share knowledge, and even express emotions. Likewise, humans have the ability to plan for the future, set goals and make decisions based on past experiences. This is why humans are the most intelligent species on earth.

The oxford dictionary defines “Intelligence” as the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Due to this intelligence we humans are separated from the rest of the species.

Now, another question arises: Where do we learn this knowledge and skills? We learn from our mistakes. We gain these knowledge and skills from books, articles, movies, listening to stories, mistakes made by oneself, our friends, relatives, and our cognitive behaviors. Simply, we learn from  own  mistakes, external sources  and  other  people.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence also learns the basic patterns and analyses it.  But, unlike humans who learn from external sources and other people, AI learns from the Internet. It collects and analyses millions of articles, posts, images etc. all around the internet and trains itself to become intelligent.

This is what Artificial Intelligence is about. It consumes information, gains knowledge artificially from the internet. Like we  humans, it also constantly learns and gains knowledge over and over  again. Like we humans, AI is also self-taught, learning from the mistakes and improving. This is why it is similar to a human brain.  As humans, we learn facts from others;  AI also learns facts from the internet.

Like humans,  AI systems also have the capacity to learn and improve their abilities over time. Imagine a person getting better at playing an instrument or a sport with regular practice and feedback. Similar to that,  AI also enhances its performance on a specific task by searching for more and more relevant information, data and examples. Much like we humans, AI also learns from  the   information  over  the  internet,  and  improves  its  performance  over    time.

Let’s say,  how do we humans know that E=MC2. Well, it’s because we have been taught and explained about this concept in our school days. We have been trained that energy = mass times the speed of  light squared, and this was proved by Einstein in 1905.

Let’s say you search for justification of the equation: E= MC2 on ChatGPT. How would you think ChatGPT would give the response?

Well, it looks for millions of documents, articles, on the internet on this topic. It analyses each and every piece of information available and learns patterns. Each and every document or article on the internet has justification for this concept. It analyses each and every justification and learns a pattern. It looks into each and every word, paragraphs available on the article and analyses a pattern. It learns from many documents and articles, and gradually understands that E= MC2, and gives output based on the learned patterns. An important point to note is that as the human brain is learning and adapting, ChatGPT also adapts to continuous learning and adapting. 

To put from technical aspect, AI tools are trained on supervised learning, un-supervised learning and re-enforcement learning. It is important to note that ChatGPT can also learn and train itself except internet,  like  structured  data,  un-structured  data   etc.  

Improvement of  AI over  time

Now, you might be wondering how AI has improved over time. Let’s relate this answer to human evolution. How have we humans evolved over time?

We humans have evolved over time due to the advancements in thinking and technology. Imagine living in a stone age, where, to cook food, you would have to rub 2 stones to generate fire. You would need some firewood and utensils to cook. But, as we humans evolved, we developed gas-stoves, matchsticks,   stove-ignitors  to  cook.

Imagine using AI tools like ChatGPT on the day of launch. It was not able to do the complex task that it does today. That’s because, in the past, these tools only relied on the internet for information. You can consider it as the stone-age of AI.

As these AI tools were improved by training with human experiences and stories, they could give almost accurate and reliable answers. These trainings on which the AI tools were trained are commonly known as parameters. As of now, ChatGPT is trained on 1.5 billion parameters (Gewirtz, 2024). Imagine, training a human being trained with so many parameters. The fun fact is that still these parameters    are  increasing. These   AI  tools  are  indeed  learning  over and over again.

When an AI system is first created, it may not be very good at a particular task. However, we humans are feeding ChatGPT and other AI tools millions of data. This is how, it starts to identify patterns and learn to improve its capabilities more effectively. Over time, as AI systems are exposed to more data and more feedbacks, it continues to improve its performance, similar to a human who keeps practicing and learning. This iterative process of learning, feedback, and improvement is at the heart of how AI systems become more capable and effective over time.

Need for AI in modern world

Why is there a need for AI then? After the release of ChatGPT on November 30, 2022, the hype of Artificial Intelligence has increased. Posts  on AI, videos  relating to AI, talks on AI have been hyped after  the  release.

AI’s impact in various areas of society including education, healthcare and marketing is undeniable in today’s world. Due to its ability to automate complex tasks, AI has become hyped nowadays.

Let’s take an example of analysing a financial statement. To analyse financial statements, you should know about key terms like assets, liabilities, cash and cash equivalents, and many other terms. Also, you should know formulas to calculate financial ratios. Imagine, doing all these by yourself. They are quite  tedious  and  time-consuming .

Now, let's ask  AI tto  analyse  the financial statements. It analyses the statements in less than a minute. It looks for key terms and formulas on the internet, learns about them, gains knowledge and give you valuable insights, which would take a human, who is inexperienced in finance, much more days to do. This is the power that AI possesses. AI can perform complex tasks in some minutes that require us humans more time, and more resources to solve. This technology of solving complex tasks, tasks involving problem solving and decision-making in a matter of few seconds, set the AI apart.

(The author is a freelancer.)

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