What is artificial intelligence? Virginia Dignum, Associate Professor of Social Artificial Intelligence at Delft University of Technology, provides a definition.

Nowadays, artificial intelligence (AI) is ubiquitous. We can hardly open a newspaper or tune in to a news show without getting some story about AI. AI is probably the technology most talked about. But AI means different things to different people.

I’ve been working in the field of AI, both in industry and academia, since the late 80’s. I developed my first AI system in 1986, an expert system to determine eligibility to social housing. Since then I’ve witnessed the deeps and the ups, the winters and the hypes in the field. Never before has there been this level of excitement, and fear, by so many, in so many areas, as we are seeing in the last couple of years. AI is breaking through in many different application domains, with results that impress even the most knowledgeable experts. Three main factors are leading this development: the increasing availability of large amounts of data, improved algorithms and substantial computational power. However, of these three only algorithms can be rightfully seen as a contribution from the AI field.

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