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How Artificial Intelligence Works

Posted by PeculiarCarrot on May 31, 2014 at 12:15 AM

Note: If you think you know exactly what Artificial Intelligence is, you can pretty much skip the first three paragraphs.


Artificial Intelligence. It’s a very interesting phrase, really. Some programmers hate the fact that people call a computer performing human-like tasks ‘Artificial Intelligence’, because computers can’t really think. More so, it’s a very interesting concept. According to Google, artificial means ‘made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally, typically as a copy of something natural.’ Intelligence is, by Google definition, ‘the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.


Now, you may notice this description of the word talks about the ability to acquire skills and knowledge. However, if you know AI to an extent, you probably know that most AI don’t ever learn from their mistakes; they just repeat the same actions over and over, regardless of how badly they fail because of it. I’ll talk about this more in depth later. Okay, I got a little sidetracked there, so let’s returnq to talking about intelligence.


If you think about it, intelligence can’t really be truly measured. Sure, we have IQ tests. However, most IQ tests quiz you over your logical thinking, not your overall ability to acquire and apply knowledge. That’s not really the fault of the people that created the IQ test, though. You can’t test someone on every single topic or logical problem that exists; it’s just impossible (Man, I’m good at getting sidetracked).


So, we know that artificial is something created by mankind, and we know that intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge. Therefore, artificial intelligence is a creation of mankind that can acquire and apply knowledge. And most of us know that; I just thought everyone wanted to read three paragraphs that explain things that seem obvious, because I know some people define intelligence as ‘a person’s level of smartness’ or ‘the ability to do math really fast,’ and I just wanted to make it clear exactly what artificial intelligence is.


Now, to the fun stuff. The first thing I want to talk about is the very base of every artificial intelligence, the flow chart. Now, the simplest form of a flow chart is asking a question, and if the answer is one thing, do this, otherwise, do that. For example:

Now, this may seem extremely simple at first, and it really is. However, what happens when you add more choices and actions to the mix? Something like:

Those circles asking questions are called conditions, or as programmers know them, if statements. AI is basically just a bunch (bunch meaning from tens to hundreds) of if statements. Many programmers make a flow chart for their AI before actually programming it; in fact, most do. A FPS (or any shooter) may have an AI flowchart that looks similar to this:

It’s that simple. Of course, this is a very simple example, but it’s much better than the ‘charge at the enemy even though you’re a one-hit kill’ AI. Now, what about the AI that doesn’t have anything to do with games? Take Cleverbot, for example. Cleverbot is a robot that learns from the people it talks to, and pages from the Internet (In all honesty, Cleverbot would probably be a whole lot smarter if more than half of the people it talks to knew how to use correct grammar).

one-hit kill’ AI. Now, what about the AI that doesn’t have anything to do with games? Take Cleverbot, for example. Cleverbot is a robot that learns from the people it talks to, and pages from the Internet (In all honesty, Cleverbot would probably be a whole lot smarter if more than half of the people it talks to knew how to use correct grammar).


I have absolutely no idea how the people that created Cleverbot did it; you would never know he was a bot if you met him in a chatroom. Sure, he sometimes changes subjects quickly and might not respond to your question the way you wanted, but for Pete’s sake, it’s a computer that is influenced by millions of people, that learns from those people, that speaks perfect English to those people. That is an achievement. And mankind still can’t figure out how to make cake healthy without making it taste like feet.


… You know, this post was originally supposed to be about how AI works, but it appears my mind likes to throw other things at me. I guess this is enough writing, anyway.



Categories: Animation, Things You Might Care About

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