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AI: the reality of the future

These are undoubtedly times of change. Although in many ways it feels like going backward, technology is making remarkable strides that are not going unnoticed, especially in the field of artificial intelligence. But what really is AI? What are its main features and what are the areas and projects to not sleep on it?

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is a set of different technologies that interact to enable machines to perceive, understand, act and learn with human-like levels of intelligence. This is why it seems that the definitions of artificial intelligence are all different: artificial intelligence, in fact, is not just one thing.

Technologies such as the and natural language processing all fall under the umbrella of AI. Each is evolving along its own path and, when applied in combination with data, analytics and automation, can help companies achieve their goals, whether it's improving customer service or optimizing the supply chain.

Types of Artificial Intelligence

To differentiate the degree to which AI applications are capable of performing tasks, they are generally divided into three types. These types are distinct from each other and show the natural progression of AI systems today.

Contrary to popular belief, AI is not intended to replace humanity, as it is nothing more than a technology used by humans. At present, it is only a program that can be trained to perform tasks. As the future advances, it is important to create a legal, ethical and moral framework to govern AI.

The consequences of advancing AI must be considered when examining the types of artificial intelligence that have been proposed for the future. As we move from generally lower to higher intelligence, more human-like characteristics, such as emotions and thought processes, may arise. This makes the regulation of AI and related technologies a difficult undertaking for a developed society.

It is crucial to have a forward-looking mindset, as the future of artificial intelligence is being charted mainly by the types of AI described today. Let us delve into what these types are.

Narrow AI

There is a distinction between "narrow" AI and "general" AI. Most AI applications that we experience in daily life fall under the concept of restricted AI, which performs a single task or a series of closely related tasks. Some examples:

  • Weather apps

  • Digital assistants

  • Software that analyzes data to optimize a given business function

These systems are powerful, but the scope is limited; in fact, they tend to focus on creating efficiency. However, with the right application, narrow AI has immense transformative potential and continues to influence on a global scale the way we work and live.

General (or "strong") AI

General AI is more like what we see in science fiction movies, where sentient machines emulate human intelligence, thinking strategically, abstractly and creatively, with the ability to handle a range of complex tasks. Although machines can perform some tasks better than humans (for example, data processing), this fully realized vision of general AI in reality does not yet exist. This is why human-machine collaboration is crucial: in today's world, artificial intelligence remains an extension of human capabilities, not a substitute.

Artificial Superintelligence (ASI)

Artificial super intelligence (ASI), is the hypothetical AI that doesn’t just mimic or understand human intelligence and behaviour; ASI is where machines become self-aware and surpass the capacity of human intelligence and ability.

Superintelligence has long been the muse of dystopian science fiction in which robots overrun, overthrow, and/or enslave humanity. The concept of artificial superintelligence sees AI evolve to be so akin to human emotions and experiences, that it doesn’t just understand them, it evokes emotions, needs, beliefs and desires of its own.

In addition to replicating the multi-faceted intelligence of human beings, ASI would theoretically be exceedingly better at everything we do; math, science, sports, art, medicine, hobbies, emotional relationships, everything. ASI would have a greater memory and a faster ability to process and analyse data and stimuli. Consequently, the decision-making and problem solving capabilities of super intelligent beings would be far superior than those of human beings.

Why is AI important?

Artificial intelligence has long been the subject of predictions, both in general and scientific culture, with the potential to transform both businesses and the relationship between people and technology. So why is the use of AI reaching critical mass now?

As a result of the proliferation of data and the maturity of other innovations in cloud-based computing and computing power, AI adoption is growing faster today than ever before. Companies have access to an unprecedented amount of data, including dark data, the existence of which they were previously unaware even existed. This data represents an asset and an opportunity for AI growth.

An important source of business value, if well used

AI has long been considered a potential source of business innovation. With the enabling factors in place today, organizations are beginning to understand how AI can multiply value for the business. Automation reduces costs and brings new levels of consistency, speed and scalability to business processes; in fact, some Accenture clients are reporting time savings of 70 percent. Even more interesting, however, is AI's ability to drive growth. Companies that scale up their use of AI are reporting three times the return on investment in the technology than those still stuck in the pilot phase. Not surprisingly, 84 percent of top managers believe they need to leverage AI to achieve their growth goals.

Agility and competitive advantage

Artificial intelligence is not just about efficiency and streamlining repetitive tasks. Thanks to machine learning and deep learning, AI applications can learn from data and results in near real-time, analyzing new information from many sources and adapting accordingly, with a level of accuracy that is of great value to companies (product recommendations are a great example). This ability to self-learn and self-optimize means that AI continually amplifies the business benefits it generates.

In this way, AI helps companies adapt quickly, with a smooth flow of insights to foster innovation and competitive advantage in a world of continuous disruption. When applied at scale, AI can become a key enabler for a company's strategic priorities and even the pivot around which the very survival of the business revolves: in fact, three out of four top executives believe that by not scaling AI in the next five years, they will put their business at risk. Clearly, the stakes are high.


In the next article, we would list the categories where AI is being applied, analyzing which companies are leading the AI industry, the most interesting and innovative start-ups, crypto and nft included.


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