What is artificial intelligence and how does it work?

The concept of “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) has been popularly used to refer to any machine that can emulate certain human intellectual capabilities, such as logical reasoning, learning, the ability to solve problems in real time, even the ability to create, without requiring human intervention. In reality, it is not beyond what science fiction and fantasy literature has shown us for so many years.

AI was originated as a scientific discipline in 1956. Its object of research is oriented under the argument that all human cognitive functions, especially those related to learning, calculation, memorization, reasoning, and even problem solving and creativity, can be algorithmically interpreted and programmed through a computer so that a robot can replicate them without difficulty. 

Thanks to developments in artificial intelligence, it is possible to build robots that can perform different tasks. 

Based on the above, we may come to think that it is possible to computerize all human mental activities and that, at some point, machines will be able to completely replace mankind, so that it will be impossible to distinguish a person from a machine. But you do not need to worry. In fact, this is one of the great myths that the opponents of this discipline use to convince the most unwary.

The truth about the scientific development of AI has to do with the development of artificial systems that can solve complex problems which would take human beings centuries to develop, for which algorithmic solutions are not known and that can answer certain questions posed by science; at the same time, it can process a large amount of information that, due to its size and complexity, would be impossible for a single person to analyze. 

How does it work?

We can agree then, that this discipline provides tools that allow us to appropriate new ways of understanding our world and to solve problems in real time that, without the support of technology, would be impossible to achieve.

Since the development of AI, it has been possible to create machines which simulate certain intellectual capabilities that humans possess to perform certain activities. For this to be possible, first there is a specific program developed in order to be executed by the machine according to the activity for which it is designed, within which several algorithms are integrated as a set of conditions that must be achieve so that the task is properly developed and that if it is not solved, it has the ability to explore other possibilities to find the most optimal solution.

The programming of an AI system configures the automation of repetitive processes that can find information which is stored in large volumes of files (Big Data) reliably, managing to establish patterns of behavior of the data in order to yield predictive data that contribute to the optimization of the system itself and the resolution of the original problem. 

By executing certain algorithms, the program can adapt to the difficulties that prevent it from performing its task, quickly analyzing and classifying the data available to it, making predictions about their use and making decisions that allow it to fulfill its task. This form of programming is known as Machine Learning. This is how, from the data provided, the machine learns to make the most appropriate decisions to solve the original problem, acquiring deep analysis capabilities; which is strengthened with a greater amount of data available in its system, i.e., they are more accurate when more data can be provided to them.

Thanks to the techniques created by AI, it has been possible to create systems that support a large number of human activities and has an extensive field of applications, among which are industry, medicine, space exploration, research, economy, among others.

Fregata Space makes use of AI techniques for the analysis of satellite images to monitor ocean pollution levels. From the algorithms they have developed, a specialized program can identify pollutants present on the surface of the water such as hydrocarbons and plastics, as well as monitor the massive growth of microalgae and prevent eutrophication processes in water bodies.

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