A decade after breaking the Nazi Enigma encryption machine and helping the Allied Forces win World War II, mathematician Alan Turing changed the history¬† for the second time with a question: “Can machines think?”Turing’s paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” (1950), and his Turing Test has established the fundamental goal and vision of How does AI work. In essence, AI is the branch of computing that aims to affirmatively answer Turing’s question. It is an effort to replicate or simulate human intelligence in machines. The goal of AI has given rise to many questions and debates, that no singular definition of the field is accepted universally. The main limitation of defining AI as simply “building machines that are smart” is that it doesn’t really explain what artificial intelligence is. What makes a machine smart?

Artificial Intelligence according to the textbook: A Modern Approach, authors Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig address the issue by unifying their work around the topic of intelligent agents in machines. AI is the study of agents who receive perceptions of the environment and perform actions.

Norvig and Russell continue to explore four different approaches that have historically defined how does AI work:

  1. Humanly thinking
  2. Thinking rationally
  3. Acting humanly
  4. Acting rationally

The first two ideas refer to thought and reasoning processes, while others deal with the behavior. Norvig and Russell focus particularly on rational agents who act to achieve the best result, noting that “all the skills necessary for the Turing Test also allow an agent to act rationally.”

Patrick Winston, Ford’s honorary professor of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer science at MIT, defines AI as “constraint-enabled algorithms, exposed by representations that support loop-directed models that link thought, perception, and action.”

While these definitions may seem abstract to the average person, they help focus the field as an area of computing and provide a blueprint for infusing machines and programs with machine learning and other subsets of artificial intelligence.

While addressing at the Japan AI Experience in 2017, DataRobot CEO Jeremy Achin began his speech by following definition of How does AI work:

AI is a computer system capable of performing tasks that normally require human intelligence. Many of these artificial intelligence systems work with machine learning, some of them with deep learning and others with very boring things like rules.

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