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What Are The Types Of Artificial Intelligence?

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12th Sep, 2022
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What Are The Types Of Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is undoubtedly the most astounding and complex invention by humans. However, this field largely remains unexplored. This means that each AI-based application we use today represents only the tip of the iceberg. While we continue researching and understanding more about AI, it isn’t that simple to comprehensively acquire a perspective on all the potential impacts of artificial intelligence in the coming years. The reason behind this is the dynamic and revolutionary impact that artificial intelligence has in our lives, even at its nascent stage.

The rapid growth of AI and its powerful capabilities have made all of us paranoid about the proximity and certainty of a complete AI takeover of all processes and operations. This is especially relevant in the present pandemic hit times, where most organizations are understaffed and need to depend mainly on automated and AI-based procedures. Additionally, the transformation that AI has brought about in different sectors has made most business leaders, and even the mainstream public think that we may soon achieve the zenith in terms of AI research and expanding AI’s true potential. However, to learn about the entire scope of this spectrum, we need first to get back to basics and look into the different types of artificial intelligence. This understanding can then pave the way for further research in AI.

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Types of Artificial Intelligence

Since AI research aims at making machines emulate all types of human-like functioning, the scope of which any AI system can perform human capabilities with accuracy is used as an essential criterion for categorizing the different types of AI. Therefore, depending on the ability of a machine to perform tasks compared to humans concerning versatility and performance, one can classify AI under a common category. This way, all AI systems that can perform human-like functions with accuracy and equivalent proficiency can be considered a more evolved category. On the other hand, AI that performs with limited functionality can be regarded as a less developed or a simpler AI.

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When Artificial Intelligence is categorized, there are two subtypes: one kind of categorization is based on its capabilities, and the other is based on its function.

Types of AI (Artificial Intelligence) depending on its abilities

1. Narrow or Weak AI

  • This type of AI can perform a dedicated task with accuracy and intelligence. This is the most common type of AI currently available.
  • Narrow AI can only perform within certain limitations and fields, as it is designed to perform only one specific task. This is the reason it is termed as ‘weak AI.’ 
  • Narrow AI won’t be able to perform unpredictable tasks that go beyond its limits.
  • Apple Siri is one example of weak or Narrow AI. However, it operates with a minimal and predefined functional range.
  • The Watson supercomputer by IBM is also a type of Narrow AI. This system uses an expert and systematic approach combined with appropriate Machine learning and natural language processing functions.
  • Some other examples of Narrow AI are purchasing suggestions that come on e-commerce sites, playing online chess, self-driven cars, computer-based speech recognition, and even image recognition functions of google.

2. General AI

  • General AI is slightly better mechanized than narrow AI. This type of AI can perform most intellectual tasks with an efficiency similar to human brains.
  • The idea behind developing general AI was to make a system that could think very similarly to humans and perform in more innovative ways on its own.
  • Presently, general AI still can’t perform tasks as perfectly as human minds but is getting closer to this goal with each passing day spent on research and development.
  • Researchers worldwide are focused on developing AI based on General AI.
  • As systems based on general AI are still under development and research, there remains a wide area of untapped knowledge in this respective subtype.

3. Super AI

  • Super AI is a type of artificial Intelligence of various Systems that makes machines surpass human-like intelligence. These machines can perform all tasks better than humans and enable cognitive properties. This system is a combination of general and advanced AI.
  • Some of the critical characteristics of super AI are the capability to think, solve puzzles, reason, make judgments, learn, plan, and even communicate on its own.
  • Super AI is still at the conceptualizing stage of Artificial Intelligence development. However, when fully developed, this category is deemed to be a world-changing invention.

Types of Artificial Intelligence Depending on their functionality

1. Reactive Machines

  • This type is the most basic category of purely reactive Artificial Intelligence.
  • Such machine systems do not store past experiences or memories to operate future actions.
  • Instead, these machines focus only on the current scenarios and specifically react to the concurrent reality to choose the best possible future action.
  • The Deep Blue system by IBM is an excellent example of the AI called reactive machine.
  • Google’s AlphaGo is yet another strong example of how a reactive machine works.

2. Limited Memory

  • Limited memory artificial intelligence machines can store data based on memories and past experiences for a considerable time.
  • These machines mostly use stored data to decide their future activities for a specific period.
  • Self-driven cars are an excellent example of the Limited Memory AI systems. These cars store the recent data related to the speed of nearby cars, the traveled distance, speed limit, and other similar information to help the car navigate the road.

3. Theory of Mind

  • The AI called theory of Mind is made to understand human emotions, beliefs, and people and interact actively and socially just like humans.
  • This AI machine is still in the development phase and is yet to be executed. However, researchers are continuously making lots of efforts and developments to evolve such AI machines fully.

4. Self-Awareness

  • Self-aware artificial intelligence can be termed the future of AI. These systems are made to be super intelligent and have an automated human-like consciousness, self-awareness, and even sentiments.
  • These AI machines are made even more intelligent than the actual human mind.
  • Like every other AI, self-aware AI is also evolving. 

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Consequent to the ever-increasing dependence of businesses and individuals on artificial intelligence, the future of this service industry is dynamically transitioning to a more intelligent, flexible, and scalable picture.

The growth in this sector can be linked to emerging trends such as automation of services, use of edge computing, containers, and even machine learning. Such an integrated model of machine functioning with human-like accuracy has shaped the futuristic face of all existing business technologies in a very agile manner.

All businesses looking forward to growth should be prepared to gust into the future by adopting AI-based functionalities. Understanding the types of AI is the first step of such ambition.


Rohit Sharma

Blog Author
Rohit Sharma is the Program Director for the UpGrad-IIIT Bangalore, PG Diploma Data Analytics Program.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Can artificial intelligence be developed without integrating machine learning?

Yes, research states that some traditional ways of developing artificial intelligence still don't depend on machine learning and edge computing.

2What are the benefits of using AI?

Integration of AI in replacing routine and repetitive tasks such as picking or packaging goods, segregating and separating materials, or responding to repetitive consumer queries helps save time, logistics costs, and a lot of extra effort that goes into managing human resources carrying out similar tasks. It has manifold benefits for all types of organizations.

3Can artificial intelligence replace humans?

No. We still haven't reached a point where even well-developed and advanced AI-based systems can replace humans or match humans like perfection.

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