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What are Some Recent Advances in Artificial Intelligence?

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  • Written By: G. Melanson
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2014
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The term artificial intelligence (AI) was first coined by computer and cognitive scientist, John McCarthy in 1956 to describe “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” In effect, it's the science of making machines more human-like in their thinking. A prevailing theme in pop culture and science fiction, artificial intelligence is also behind some of the most innovative advances in modern medicine, mechanics, and more.

In 2008, the Henry Ford Hospital employed the use of three-dimensional (3D) robotic instruments to surgically remove a diseased kidney. The 3D robotics procedure, which was minimally-invasive, resulted in quicker healing time, less blood loss, and a better cosmetic result. Researchers have also made recent advances in the development of robotic surgery, whereby doctors would be able to perform surgeries remotely from a computer console. Also for medical purposes, the popular Nintendo Wii video game system, which uses motion-sensing artificial intelligence, has been used to treat burn victims as part of a therapeutic stretching regiment.

Artificial intelligence has also been used in public infrastructure in recent years, in the form of robotic crawlers that are able to detect weak spots in power lines. The U.S. Military, for example, has employed the assistance of artificial intelligence in its machinery in the form of vehicles and other devices which can detect explosives autonomously.

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Although it’s difficult for researchers to develop forms of artificial intelligence which accurately mimic the fluid movements of humans, bipedal robots have been developed with a special “top-heavy” balancing ability to facilitate their mobility. It seems that the biggest challenge facing researchers is to instill artificial intelligence with decision systems which would allow them to find alternative approaches not already within their framework of knowledge. Algorithms are currently in development to find a way around this problem through an active learning based approach. This would enable artificial intelligence to “learn” through mimicry of human tasks, with the ultimate goal being to create cognitive systems that can interpret human intention and predict human actions.

The future of artificial intelligence is poised on the brink of limitless exciting possibilities, which could make their way into a home, office, or neighborhood near you in the not-so-distant future.

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