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Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, or AI, was born in the Fifties at the same time as computers. The twentieth century saw the advent of increasingly sophisticated “machines” which included intellectual mechanisms made for doing calculations. In a second phase, more elaborate functions such as decision-making and processing complex information were addressed at the origin of Artificial Intelligence’s birth. This term, due to the American John McCARTHY, was defined by his colleague Marvin LEE MINSKY while they were collaborating within the prestigious  Massachusetts Institute of Technology  (MIT).

AI gives machines new possibilities. Its approach is multidisciplinary: it draws simultaneously on the fields of mathematics, logic, data processing, neurosciences, philosophy and ethics.

The technologies it’s based on are already well established in our daily lives. AI revolutionised the way in which we live and became essential in the business world.

Artificial Intelligence: definition

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a science that aims to create computers that behave like humans capable of learning, making choices and drawing conclusions based on past experiences. In other words, the objective of AI is to confer cognitive capacities higher than a computer.

The basis of an AI system is to give a machine, via algorithms, the following capabilities:

  • Autonomously modify information in order to create new ones.
  • Create its own programmes.
  • Manipulate elaborate concepts: images, words, knowledge, reasoning…

By combining these competences, experts in artificial intelligence try to recreate the operation of a human brain in a machine.

Artificial intelligence, a technology anchored in our daily lives

The technological developments brought about by this discipline are already well implemented in everyday life. We could cite as examples:

  • Navigation GPS;
  • Smart assistants like Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant;
  • Machine Translation
  • News feeds from social networks;
  • Personalised advertisements;
  • Autonomous cars;

So, artificial intelligence is everywhere around us and shapes our daily lives.

How does artificial intelligence work?

Artificial intelligence evolves by accumulating experiences: it records every piece of information that is given to it and draws conclusions. This allows a program to learn on its own and acquire new skills without human intervention.

Machine learning, one of the foundations of AI, consists of creating computers that can perform actions for which they have not been instructed.

Deep learning, a branch of machine learning, copies the human brain by using artificial neural networks to sort information, understand its meaning and make connections that then allow it to make autonomous decisions.

A discipline with endless applications

Artificial intelligence opens the door to many possibilities and tools to improve the daily life of individuals and businesses. Here are some of the areas that benefit the most from this technology: 

  • Finance: Banks use artificial intelligence to determine a client’s risk level based on their situation and history. Likewise, AI is used to do predictive market analysis, automate trading, and perform high-frequency trading.
  • Logistics: Optimising a route for stopping points and the final destination can make all the difference between a successful business and a business with operational difficulties. Logistics was one of the first sectors to integrate artificial intelligence into their processes.
  • Virtual customer service: Chatbots make it possible to answer customer questions in real time without requiring the intervention of an employee.
  • Video games: non-player characters interact with player characters and adapt to their actions using artificial intelligence. These video games have many applications, in particular for training employees or rehabilitating patients.

Some famous artificial intelligence examples

In recent years, several computers with artificial intelligence have been talked about for showing exceptional performance:

  • Deep Blue, the AI created by IBM that defeated the world’s best chess players;
  • Sophia, the humanoid robot who participates in television shows and has accepted Saudi nationality;
  • Nao, the French robot used in hospitals, companies and schools to welcome visitors;
  • Boston Dynamics’ exceptionally agile robots known for being able to navigate many types of terrain and move very precisely.

The risks associated with artificial intelligence

Reactions to advances in AI are often mixed: some are enthusiastic about new innovations and the gains they bring. Others, who are more pessimistic, wonder about the ethical aspect of the creation of an artificial intelligence and the consequences that this could have. This dilemma is often represented in culture and especially in the cinema, with films like “iRobot”, “Lucy” or “Ex Machina” which highlight the dangers that could appear if man created a robot with human intelligence. What if the robot becomes smarter than humans? What would happen if he turned against his creators? Will we be able to consider the AIs of the future as machines, or will they be full-fledged people with rights and a conscience? Indeed, strong AI or IAFO plans to enrich the apparent intelligence of computers by giving them higher intellectual capabilities such as emotion, sensitivity, consciousness…

All these questions are in tune with the times: they reflect an uncertainty linked to a technology which is still in its infancy and Business Schools cannot ignore the challenges.

As part of its Poles of Excellence, NEOMA is focusing part of its research on how emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science, are changing the way companies work and reshaping sectors. (eg, algorithms, chat bots, virtual agents, robots, design software, factories and data science).

NEOMA’s pole AI, Data Science & Business aims to help organisations and society to assess the impact of AI and data science, and to learn how to use them to create value.