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Episode 12 Part 4 - Ricky Sutton from Oovvuu on artificial intelligence

[fa icon="calendar"] 18/09/2018 11:55:50 AM / by Lucy Courtenay

Lucy Courtenay

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a field that has a long history but is still constantly and actively growing and changing. The general definition of AI is machine learning where a computer system is fed large amounts of data, which it then uses to learn how to carry out a specific task, such as understanding speech or captioning a photograph.

AI systems will typically demonstrate at least some of the following behaviours associated with Human Intelligence: planning, learning, reasoning, problem solving, knowledge, representation, perception, motion and manipulation.


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AI is everywhere today and is used to recommend and influence our lives from what to buy online to recognising who or what is in a photo, to detecting credit card fraud.

We are familiar with speech and language recognition for programmes like Siri on the Apple Iphone or vision recognition for self driving cars. But new avenues such as interpreting videos, drones doing visual inspections, organising personal calendars and customer service enquiries are more recent applications of the technology.




There are several way in which you can teach your AI programme. The most common technique is Supervised Learning, where AI systems are trained using a very large number of labeled examples. The AI is feed large amounts of data which have been annotated to highlight the features of interest. Once trained the AI system can then apply these labels to new data if it should reappear. The most common application of this would be Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Another technique is Unsupervised Learning, where algorithms try to identify patterns in data, looking for similarities that can be used to categorise that data. This is a technique Oovvuu would use to group similar articles together on similar topics.

Reinforcement Learning is where the system attempts to maximise the reward based on input data. The system will basically go through a process of trial and error until it arrives at the best possible outcome. Think of a computer game in this example, where taking action will maximise the score in different circumstances.

AI is already here in our day to day lives and its usage is on the increase. Computer process power is doubling every two years, the amount of data being generated is doubling every year, AI funding has also been doubling every two years and we now have 50 years of established AI research, providing us with better algorithms.

But with growth and increase usage, comes the concerns. Will AI create mass unemployment within a generation? Will AI undermine privacy and democracy through mass surveillance? Will we be more easily manipulated by personalised algorithms creating fake news? And are algorithms biased if used in insurance claims, job applications, loan applications and even judicial sentencing?

These queries and more continue to question the way in which AI is applied and used.


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Lucy Courtenay

Written by Lucy Courtenay