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AI and Its Many Forms

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer just a science fiction concept but a technological reality that is becoming increasingly prevalent daily. There are several forms of AI, each with unique characteristics and applications. 

This article will explore the various forms of AI today, including machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, expert systems, and robotics. By examining each type of AI, we can better understand how these technologies function and the potential benefits they can offer society. By understanding the different forms, we can also better appreciate their implications for the future of various industries and the overall economy.

The Different Types of AI

There are various types of AI, each with specific qualities and uses.

AI can be classified as either narrow or general based on the scope of its tasks. Narrow AI, also known as weak AI, is designed to perform specific and highly specialised tasks. 

For example, a chatbot that can answer customer service questions or an image recognition system that can identify particular objects in photographs are examples of narrow AI. Narrow AI systems are designed to complete specific tasks efficiently and accurately but are limited in their ability to generalise beyond those tasks.

In contrast, general AI, also known as strong AI or artificial general intelligence (AGI), is designed to perform various tasks and can learn and adapt to new situations. It aims to replicate the cognitive abilities of humans, including problem-solving, decision-making, and even creativity. It seeks to create machines that can perform any intellectual task that a human can.

While we have made significant progress in developing narrow AI, we are still far from achieving general AI. One of the main challenges is creating machines that can learn and generalise from a wide range of data and experiences rather than just learning to perform specific tasks. Additionally, general AI will require the ability to reason and understand context in a way currently impossible for machines.

Below are the typical applications. Most of these are still narrow bar expert systems which are beginning to show some aspects of general AI. 

Machine Learning

Machine learning is one of the most common forms of AI and involves training algorithms on large datasets to identify patterns and make predictions. For example, Netflix uses machine learning to recommend shows and movies to viewers based on their previous viewing history. 

This technology has also been applied to healthcare to help diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing (NLP) is another form of AI that allows computers to understand, interpret, and respond to human language. One real-world application of NLP is chatbots, which many companies use to provide customer service and support. For example, Bank of America uses an NLP-powered chatbot to help customers with their banking needs.

Computer Vision

Computer vision is a form of AI that enables machines to interpret and understand visual information from the world around them. One example of this is the use of computer vision in self-driving cars. Companies such as Tesla use computer vision to analyse data from sensors and cameras to make real-time decisions about navigating roads and avoiding obstacles.

Expert Systems

Expert systems are AI systems that use rules and knowledge to solve problems and make decisions. These systems are often used in industries such as finance and healthcare, where making accurate decisions is critical. For example, IBM’s Watson is an expert system that has been used to diagnose medical conditions and provide treatment recommendations.


Robotics is another form of AI involving machines performing physical tasks. One real-world application of robotics is in manufacturing, where robots are used to assemble products and perform other tasks. For example, Foxconn, an electronics manufacturer for companies like Apple, uses robots to assemble products on its production lines.

It’s important to note that we now have primarily narrow AI designed to perform specific tasks. However, the ultimate goal of AI is to develop general AI which can perform a wide range of tasks and learn and adapt to new situations. While we may not have achieved general AI yet, developing narrow AI systems is an essential step towards that goal. The interrelated and supportive nature of these different forms is what allows us to make progress towards this ultimate goal.

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