Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence (NI) displayed by humans and other animals. AI research is defined as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals.
AI research has been divided into subfields that often fail to communicate with each other. These sub-fields are based on technical considerations, such as particular goals (e.g. “robotics” or “machine learning”), the use of particular tools (“logic” or “neural networks”), or deep philosophical differences. Subfields have also been based on social factors. The traditional goals of AI research include reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, natural language processing, perception and the ability to move and manipulate objects. General intelligence is among the field’s long-term goals. Approaches include statistical methods, computational intelligence, and traditional symbolic AI. Many tools are used in AI, including versions of search and mathematical optimization, neural networks and methods based on statistics, probability and economics. The AI field draws upon computer science, mathematics, psychology, linguistics, philosophy and many others.
A typical AI perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals. An AI’s intended goal function can be simple (“1 if the AI wins a game of Go, 0 otherwise”) or complex (“Do actions mathematically similar to the actions that got you rewards in the past”). Goals can be explicitly defined or can be induced. If the AI is programmed for “reinforcement learning”, goals can be implicitly induced by rewarding some types of behavior and punishing others. Some AI systems, such as nearest-neighbor, instead of reason by analogy; these systems are not generally given goals, except to the degree that goals are somehow implicit in their training data. Such systems can still be benchmarked if the non-goal system is framed as a system whose “goal” is to successfully accomplish its narrow classification task. AI often revolves around the use of algorithms. An algorithm is a set of unambiguous instructions that a mechanical computer can execute.
The overall research goal of artificial intelligence is to create technology that allows computers and machines to function in an intelligent manner. The general problem of simulating intelligence has been broken down into sub-problems. These consist of particular traits or capabilities that researchers expect an intelligent system to display. The traits described below have received the most attention.