A robot

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) was first defined by John McCarthy as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs” [1]. The early researchers in AI set the target very high: they aimed to recreate the human intelligence.

In the 1950s and 1960s this promise failed to materialise. Perhaps because the target was not only high, but moving: the moment the machine learned to do something as well as, or better than, humans, people stopped referring to it as “AI”.

Machine Learning

AI became unfashionable for quite some time, until it resurfaced in the 2000s as Machine Learning (ML). ML focussed more on algorithms (recipes given to a machine to do some useful work) than on philosophy and “blue sky” science. ML is more concerned with the particular configuration of the neural net that you are applying to a specific task than with, say, the philosophical implications of the Turing test.

Recent advances in algorithmics (e.g. backpropagation) and computing hardware have led to the possibility of calibrating and using large (deep) neural networks — Deep Learning (DL), and a resurgence of interest
in ML. As soon as ML became reasonably successful, it was rebranded back to AI.

Neural Networks

An artificial neural network

Artificial neural networks (ANN) or connectionist systems are computing systems that are inspired by biological neural networks that constitute human brains. Such systems “learn” to perform tasks by considering examples,
generally without being programmed with task-specific rules.

Advances in algorithmics (e.g. backpropagation) and hardware (e.g. availability of GPUs) have led to widespread and successful use of large (deep) neural networks (Deep Learning) across numerous application domains.

At Thalesians Ltd, we employ neural networks we employ neural networks and deep learning to classify and forecast time series coming from many diverse fields.


[1] John McCarthy. “What is Artificial Intelligence?” Computer Science Department, Stanford University, 2007.