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Definition: AI in a nutshell

Today, AI is primarily used to detect patterns in faces, voice and speech. It is also widely employed to detect trends in business by analyzing the huge amounts of data that a company collects (see big data). In addition, AI is applied to high-frequency stock trading and other financial instruments (see high-frequency trading).

The Tools
The architecture of AI software is the neural network, which is unlike ordinary "if this-do that" programming. Comprising multiple layers that connect to each other, the neural name was coined because it "very roughly" simulates the neurons in the human brain. People learn by experience as do neural networks, and multiple layers connected to each other learn by detecting patterns in known and unknown data. The more layers, the "deeper" the learning. See deep learning and neural network.

The Concern for the Future
What worries people in the industry is the research being done to replace human decision making with AI software. For example, should an AI program be used to determine what products a business should sell or when the company should expand or contract? Even more significantly, do we leave the decision to go to war entirely up to a machine? There is a huge amount of controversy regarding AI in the future (see technology singularity). See AI and AGI.

AI Will Reign Supreme
MIT professor Max Tegmark's best-selling book postulates an AI that far exceeds human intelligence and literally takes over.