In the ever-changing world of high-tech gadgets and gizmos, a whole load of jargon is thrown our way that many of us don’t necessarily understand.

In our regular series, What is…, we’ll tackle a tech term and explain what it means so you can understand it a bit more.

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Here we explain Artificial Intelligence, a developing computer science which is causing some controversy.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

In simple terms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is enabling computers to do things like humans, especially the ability to think, learn and react like we do.

AI was once something only imaginable in sci-fi movies, but in recent years it has increasingly become a reality.

AI doesn’t necessarily have to relate to robots either – it can be used as a tool within an array of IT systems.

What forms of Artificial Intelligence are available right now?

There are already loads of examples of AI in use today, although many are still being perfected.

Take Google. The tech giant developed an intelligent computer program that can play the board game Go, which uses more intuition than logic. Google’s AI tech went on to beat the human world champion of the game.

Meanwhile Microsoft recently created CaptionBot and included AI to ‘read’ photos, allowing the software to identify what’s in an image and learn from what it sees.

Why is Artificial Intelligence controversial?

As AI systems are becoming more sophisticated, many wonder about the decisions they can make and the ethical implications.

AI is already being tested by doctors for example, to assess how to treat you. But how can we guarantee that a computer makes the right decision about something so crucial?

Plus, what impact will artificial intelligence have on jobs? If a machine can think on its own, perform and learn, employers may start cutting the human workforce.

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