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The word garbage in, garbage out is used to define the Computer system. It means that it gives you an output based on whatever input you give it. So if you give it garbage, you get garbage. But these days, the idea that the computer is a data processing machine is soon becoming something of the past as the computer is beginning to go beyond simply processing information.

That leads us into the field of Artificial Intelligence. But before we explain what exactly Artificial Intelligence is, we need to understand the word Intelligence. The definition of Intelligence is somewhat controversial as there is no single agreed definition, but we would choose one closely related to computers.

Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge

The definition of Intelligence immediately shows some of what has to happen before anything is said to be intelligent. It has to acquire knowledge, and also apply that knowledge. So simply acquiring knowledge without applying does not make a system intelligent. So moving on to the definition of Artificial.

Artificial means made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally

Combining the meaning of the words Artificial and Intelligence, we can define

Artificial Intelligence as the man-made ability to acquire and apply knowledge

This means that if there is a man-made way of doing something, then there is obviously a natural way in which it happens. So in the end, Artificial Intelligence is about mimicking Intelligent natural organisms.

So to acquire and apply knowledge, one must first have the knowledge. So the first step in Artificial Intelligence involves how to represent Information. Representing Information is the first part of Artificial Intelligence since Intelligence would not happen if there was no knowledge.

Beyond representing Information, it has to be acquired. So a system is Intelligent whether natural or artificially if it is able to acquire a lot of information. A system can be termed Intelligent if it acquires sufficiently large relevant information. After acquiring Information, the most important part of Artificial Intelligence is applying the acquired Information to current situations and circumstances to also probably create new Information.

So in the end, Artificial Intelligence is about machines acquiring new Information otherwise called Learning. And after learning, they are able to apply the information they have on situations and make the best decisions possible.

Learning also means that systems are able to develop new information based on current information without having to wait for more information to be made available to them. It is like a kid who realizes that if 2 * 1 is 2 and 2 * 2 is 4, then 2 * 3 is 6. The new information was inferred from the current information. This is called Learning.

Studying Artificial Intelligence is so humbling in that you realize the possibility for computers to one day become smarter than all of human intelligence put together.

Read: AI will be billions of times smarter than humans 

Most importantly, Artificial Intelligence is about how to apply acquired Information to situations so that the best outcome is achieved. In the future, it will no longer be about getting the best possible outcome, but getting an exact successful outcome: That would be the goal of applying Artificial Intelligence. By then, machines would have indeed surpassed humans in Intelligence.

But the fact would still remain that AI exists to make human’s task less difficult. In the end, AI is here to serve humans.