What is AI? AI and You

From the evocative images of Skynet, the ultimate antagonist of the Terminator franchise, to Ava in the British science-fiction film Ex Machina, AI is something humanity is fascinated by. But what is A.I.?

Today we’re gonna discuss artificial intelligence. I hope to help you gain a better understanding of this fascinating topic. You should read this if you find artificial intelligence as a concept fascinating, and a primer that will help you understand it a bit better. Just so the next time you’re at the water-cooler and someone starts talking about the latest science-fiction smash-hit you can be in on the chat.

A Basic Breakdown Of AI

In computer science artificial intelligence is sometimes known as machine intelligence because that’s what it is: the intelligence demonstrated by machines.

As a field of study, artificial intelligence traces its origins back to 1956, a mere 53 years ago. The history there is itself worth a whole article, but if it had to be summarized it’s had a history, not unlike many other academic fields of study. Rob Lopez, writer at Venture Lessons, explains that “It had periods of massive interest and support wherein academics and scholars were well-funded and backed and therefore able to conduct meaningful research. And then there were periods of less funding and less interest. These periods have been called, by some anyway, an “AI winter” and that particular term first popularly appeared in 1984 wherein it was the topic of a public debate at an annual meeting of American Association of Artificial Intelligent.”

How Does AI Work Though?

How does AI do what AI does? That’s a good and complicated question. Here’s a non-exhaustive answer.

AI learns in a variety of ways but one of the biggest ways, fairly universally, is that AI learns through experience. It learns through repetition. For many, that’s the greatest strength of AI.

ANNs or artificial neural networks are computing systems that are modeled after biological neural networks. Living brains. Animal brains. These systems learn through a consideration of given examples and aren’t often programmed with task-specific rules. Basically, someone gives them examples of what they want them to do, and the system recognizes things from those examples and replicates what it was given. One of the reasons why ANNs are a part of modern artificial intelligence is due to a technique named backpropagation. This technique gives networks the ability to course-correct when a network isn’t correctly fulfilling the task it was intended to fulfill.

“Basically, someone gives them examples of what they want them to do, and the system recognizes things from those examples and replicates what it was given.”

The Turing Test

A term people hear often in the context of artificial intelligence is the Turing Test. This test first appeared in 1950, by Alan Turing. Alan Turing is the British cryptanalysis who analyzed and broke down German intelligence messages for the British military during the Second World War. Turing was also a computer scientist, and philosopher. His test was created to examine a machine’s ability to mimic human intelligent behavior. The test itself first appeared in a paper Turing published in 1950 named “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”.

The test takes two humans, one of which is a judge and the other of which is an evaluator, as well as the machine being judged. The non-evaluating human and the machine would have a conversation, after which the judge would attempt to discern which of the two figures chatting was a human and which was a machine. If the evaluator can’t tell which of the two figures is human, the machine passes the test.

Why Is AI Important?

A.I. matters for a range of reasons. There are philosophical implications about humanity’s ability to create involved. But on a purely practical level AI matters because it could one day save humans from working on dangerous jobs, in inhumane conditions, and free us to focus on creative and artistic endeavors.

In Conclusion:

AI is one of the greatest examples of the power of the human mind. We’ve reached a point where our technology can learn. And can act on its own. It can even speak, in a round-about sort of way.

When you’re eager for more, dying to know how AI is being used, why people debate the merits and risks of AI, I hope you’ll come to this blog.

Getting Started With Programming For Alexa

Alexa, your virtual personal assistant. Both highly useful for business and personal use, Alexa works on many devices making your voice commands possible in a variety of avenues. Alexa is quite sophisticated and intelligent and is consistently being updated to give you the highest rate of competence and efficiency.

Programming for Alexa in both the business and personal world is not as complicated as some may think at first thought, in fact, Alexa’s capabilities are fairly simple to embed, and you will be remarkably surprised at the time you save simply by a voice command or research.

Alexa Skills Kit

To program or build a skill with Alexa check out the developer guidelines directly from Amazon. See what kind of skills you can create with Alexa and where to find the explanation on how to create each of these skills.

Amazon Alexa Skills Kit


Teaching you to build and create Amazon Alexa skills, these courses were created for you to build knowledge with your present endeavors, along with future programming ideas. Developing custom skills, you will be prepared to work with other applications as well. These courses require no prior experience, they are designed to teach you in the most simple way possible. From learning voice user interface to Lambda functions which allows you to learn how to generate a response to an Alexa device, and far more, the possibilities of developing your skills are endless. Beginning with training courses, this offers a step by step process to get started.

Codeacademy Introduction to Alexa

Pluralsight – Alexa Skill

You will learn the skills needed for Alexa using the Alexa Skills Kit and Amazon Web Services. Learning the foundational concepts for building your Alexa and utilizing it in your specific areas of interest.

Pluralsight Amazon Alexa Skills Tutorial

Codemag – Alexa Skills For Echo

New doors will open once you once you once you begin to build voice-enabled apps. You will learn the differences between Alexa and Echo and quickly learn the certification process and requirements, publication of your new-found skill. These courses offer building the skills you need for both business and personal, security, infrastructure and virtualization. Learning Cloud and IoT, Internet of Things, will give you a valuable education in the development of your personal needs with your devices. You will grow in your development of software skills, popular programming language, and always be cutting-edge as this technology continues to grow.

Codemag Alexa Skills for the Amazon Echo

It is great to have the latest devices, technological experiences, however if you truly want and need the full experience, learning to program Alexa is imperative. Alexa has the capability to assist you in business and keep you several steps ahead of your competition, which maybe a secret unknown to them. Also, Alexa makes everyday living much easier on a personal. One voice command at a time, programming Alexa has outstanding benefits for the technological world we live in and work in today.

How Can I Use Artificial Intelligence in My Company?

Artificial Intelligence is quickly becoming a common tool used in business. Anyone in business should utilize this technology as the benefits can rapidly make any business a cutting-edge, competitive leader.

AI means that a computer controlled robot can undertake specific tasks. These tasks would normally be done by humans; however, technology today has enabled us to develop systems that have the ability to reason and carry out complex tasks with remarkable skill. Utilizing this intelligence within the business realm is far more efficient, cost-saving, and productive as it eliminates the need for having to perform or find the answers manually.

There are several extraordinary ways people come up with to use AI, and here we will give you a few suggestions.


Every online and offline business needs leads or potential customers. By deploying chatbots within your website, the bot can determine the reason for the potential consumers visit. Therefore, you can direct them to a certain page to find what they are looking for making the visit simple, and cost-efficient for you. Improvement and growth, finding new ways to become that leader, we all know customer service is imperative. We know that no one wants to listen to music over and over for 20 to 30 minutes before having a question answered, nor do they want to wait for your brick and mortar store to open. Chatbots resolve both of those issues offering excellent customer service as these devices react to human speech and writing at all hours of the day. This benefit to potential consumers is an incredible offer that will be utilized without question.


Awareness is key. And the use of AI within your industry can not only keep you up to date on marketing, gives you greater access to your potential customers, but enables your employees to conduct business with the greatest level of effectiveness.

Facial recognition is becoming one the leading tools in most industries. Some companies use this type of AI for security, while others use it to recognize the customer and immediately serve them by product recommendations. Consumer data handling is revolutionary for business. According to reports we will see this technology rise to stammering heights within a year. Not only having the ability to access to your consumers information, and a more advanced way to interact with consumers, it can increase your bottom-line without the use of human interaction.


We have found that customers actually appreciate a personal experience. AI software, having the ability to create unique consumer identities, your company seemingly knowing who they are, creates personal engagement with your customer. Having the ability to make suggestions based upon their data and previous interactions, the customer feels as if you have actually cared to get to know them.

The uses of Artificial Intelligence within business is beyond comparison to those who do not utilize this technology. These aren’t only a few ways you can implement a phenomenal tool to customize, improve and grow your company with AI. The possibilities are endless and continue to expand, right along with you.

AI Robot Best StarCraft 2 Player

DeepMind’s AI player has reached yet another milestone. Just when we thought we’d heard enough, DeepMind’s AlphaStar has reached grandmaster level in the real-time strategy game Starcraft II. What’s the big deal about this? Well, for one, it is the highest possible online ranking; and now that AlphaStar is grandmaster tier, this means that its AI is able to defeat about 99.8 percent of human players. That has to be something to chat about in the AI community as the historic achievement continues to make headlines.

The way the AI agents are trained is by a methodology called reinforcement learning. What this basically deals with how the agents should take actions in an environment to produce efficiency. AlphaStar trains its AI agents against different versions of themselves at a much faster pace to enhance the data, and thus improve its capabilities.This has to be a very significant achievement for the DeepMind camp and AI lovers worldwide. I believe since Starcraft is a game that is heavily competed, any achievement made in this game should be celebrated. This happening was similar to OpenAI’s agents, that also uses reinforcement learning to help reach a high tier status in five on five multiplayer game Dota 2. This feat was accomplished earlier in the year, in April by another San Francisco tech company.

Although DeepMind’s AI was performing on a game, it was not just to play around, the data will be dissected and analyzed, as well as the findings to be published in scientific journal Nature. While its success has been a great happening in the AI community, DeepMind’s recent showing, displayed the benefits of reinforcement learning. This will allow for some massive amounts of data to be studied—we all know how much we love data analysis! The hope is that will these findings will push forward the field and create advancements in the future, more than likely in the robotics area. Something like controlling a robotic hand, with a virtual simulator would be something applicable for the AI agents. After accelerating the amount of time, with the intent to reinforce, the AI would hopefully be able to actually perform motor skills of a full arm. The hope for programs like DeepMinds, is that maybe the research could lead to implementation in robots that would make everyday menial tasks a thing of the past for humans. Hopefully there are more breakthroughs in AI so that we may see some of these hopes and dreams in the very near future.

Top 5 Artificial Intelligence Degrees You Can Get Online

Interested in learning about artificial intelligence? Well, I am here to review some of the best institutions that offer learning courses to those interested in AI. Obtaining an AI degree is something that students interested in technology or robotics, should definitely give some consideration to. But for those looking to further their knowledge base, these programs can help jump start a new future, or help re-tool an established business. With the major boom in digital education, these institutions offer online courses that will help take your knowledge in AI to the next level.

If you are thinking about resharpening your knowledge in AI or robotics, some of these educational resources would be of great help. This is for those of us that want to enhance our skills or even develop new ones in the industry. This review would be interest to anyone looking to study AI, engineering, or robotics. Below is my review of each of the institutions that offer programs in AI.


Learn AI at MIT

If you are interested in helping your organization enhance their understanding and use of AI, then sign up for MIT’s Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategy. This short online course is roughly six weeks (if you are able to dedicate 6-8 hours per week on coursework), and is set up in a convenient way to help guide you every step through the curriculum. The course is broken into 6 modules of subjects and disciplines you will be learning on a weekly basis. I like that the program is geared towards those that are in business already and could benefit from using AI to automate any of their programs in their organization. You will receive a MIT certificate upon completion.


Learn AI at Cornell

Cornell has an e-learning class that deals with machine learning. The Ivy league school’s course teaches you how you integrate machines that are able to learn algorithms using Python. Python is an industry standard in the coding and engineering space and I would recommend having it as a part of your portfolio, which could help in the future. Although the course is online, the site does not give much information as to how long it will take to complete. Your only information here is that of the 7 courses being offered.

UC Berkeley

Learn AI at UC Berkeley

The website was set up similar to that of MIT, only Berkeley goes more into depth. Their 6 week course tell exactly who the short course is for, how much it costs, the hours you should spend per week, and, the course curriculum. They even add a pre-req to inform potential students what some of their expectations may be.


Learn Machine Learning at Springboard

This company offers a one to one mentorship program that allows for more support and guidance throughout this course. The site seems well developed as they go into depth about what you will be learning if you choose to enroll. They highlight that you will be getting hands-on experience, you have unlimited mentor support (as you have weekly meetings with your personal mentor), as well as, the guaranteeing of a job within six months of graduation or get your money back. Those of us who have strong software engineering experience are encouraged to apply.


Learn AI at Edx

This website feels like a one stop shop for different programs in AI and robotics. This educational site shows online courses that are offered by different educational providers. Some of the big names UPenn and Columbia, offer courses that are free, unless you want to receive a verified certificate as proof of completion. The site gives and overview of what robotics is and possible career paths. I do like the varied resources and that most of the courses are offered for free.

While you may be unsure of which program to select, they accept candidates with a variety of knowledge. So if you have very little to no experience or if you are a seasoned vet, there is something here for everyone. For those interested in AI, I personally would recommend going for MIT or UC Berkeley’s program. You will need some experience though. For beginners I recommend navigating through EDx, as their resources are geared for some newbies. If job placement is of utmost importance, then find your way to Springboard. Recommendations aside, any one of these resources will allow any novice or expert to enhance their skills.