Artificial Intelligence

Maximizing the Benefits

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Software advances have turned everyday things into things with extraordinary capabilities — from smart phones, to smart watches, to smart TVs, and even smart cars. Systems have learned to recognize patterns in data, make predictions based on these patterns, and use those predictions to help see and do things better. This tremendous effect is driven by growth in the availability of massive datasets and computing power that make technologies increasingly beneficial and enable what is known as artificial intelligence (AI).

Discover what AI is, how it works, and the fundamental benefits it helps cultivate. Learn more about how AI-based systems are driving incredible economic progress around the world and how smarter policies can help address emerging challenges as AI advances.

Artificial Intelligence: What It Is and How It Works

Artificial Intelligence is any technique that enables computers to mimic human behavior using logic, if-then rules, or machine learning

Since the early 1950s, subsequent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence have created new subsets — machine learning and deep learning — that have in turn helped unlock even larger opportunities to solve bigger problems.

What Is Machine Learning?

Machine learning uses statistical methods to enable machines to improve with experience.

How Machine Learning Validates Predictions

Machine learning involves systems that learn by taking advantage of statistical methods that allow improvement with experience.

These systems are “trained,” often with human input using large amounts of data.

Machine learning models rely on algorithms in order to learn how to respond to a given set of data.

Over time these systems develop a model based on past patterns in data that informs how they make predictions when fed new datasets.

What Is Deep Learning?

A subset of machine learning, deep learning enables software to train itself to recognize patterns in abstract data, like speech and image recognition, by exposing multi-layered neural networks to vast databases.

It is called “deep” because these systems break down the problem into many neuron-sized chunks, and automatically generate multiple layers of abstractions of the data to identify patterns.

How Deep Neural Networks Make Decisions From Experience

Deep learning, which enables computers to learn to recognize abstract patterns like a cat in a photo or voices from sound, works by simulating large, multi-layered webs of virtual neurons.

When a neuron fires in one layer, it delivers a value of “1” to certain neurons in the next layer, which will in turn fire if it encounters a sufficient stimulus of “1” inputs.

To recognize a cat, it first divides the image into pixels, then layer by layer it seeks to identify edges, contours, features, combinations of features, and then the object itself.

Layer 1 Pixels Detected and Layer 2 Edges Identified

To train the system, researchers input large data sets which, for example, might include millions of photos.

Layer 3 Corners and Contours Detected and Layer 4 Features Identified

Every time the data is run through, the neurons pick up more detail about the photos, until after dozens of times, they have learned enough details to recognize the object.

Layer 5 Combination of features and parts identified and Layer 6 Object Identified

AI In Action

Healthcare sector icon

In Healthcare, AI is

  • Speeding up the drug discovery process
  • Enabling doctors to predict heart attacks more accurately
  • And more
Manufacturing sector icon

In Manufacturing, AI is

  • Enabling designers to explore every possible alternative design
  • Enabling generative design technologies to design airplane parts that are both stronger and lighter
  • And more
Agriculture sector icon

In Agriculture, AI is

  • Making farmers more productive
  • Creating smarter tractors
  • And more
Energy sector icon

In Energy, AI is

  • Enabling smarter thermostats that save energy
  • Advancing ultra-accurate demand prediction that helps us better manage the grid
  • And more
Transportation sector icon

In Transportation, AI is

  • Creating smarter traffic lights that reduce time at red lights by 40 percent
  • Using autonomous boats to monitor fish stock and gather environmental data
  • And more
Education sector icon

In Education, AI is

  • Helping teachers customize instruction to every student’s needs
  • Improving outcomes by customizing learning content to the learner
  • And more

Driving Growth in the Economy With AI

AI has the potential to contribute up to an additional $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030

AI will help people make more efficient use of their time — boosting labor productivity by up to 40 percent


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