AI technology has been praised to heaven and damned to hell. Its superhuman intelligence solves many of our problems. Its potential to make decisions independent of human input threatens  mankind. AI and its future has fired fierce arguments from people like Sam Altman of Open.AI  and the irreducible Elon Musk.

Given that it hit us in a flash, understanding Artificial Intelligence is now a priority for everyone, even Jamaicans who have answers for everything. We must not fall behind, like we did with Internet penetration and mobile systems. As AI platforms proliferate, we will unpack what it all means in this space.

We may know less than Altman and Musk, but we will scrutinize where AI is going and how it will affect Jamaica. This week we examine its basics, next week we will list key platforms, and future blogs will report on the ways AI is changing health, business, education, government  and life. We will look at the technology and its implications for humanity, good and bad. We invite you to take this journey with us.

AI is the part of computer science that creates machines which perform operations that typically needs a human mind to accomplish; operations like learning or reasoning, problem solving and language processing. The key elements of AI that help these machines learn, understand and interact with the world include:

Computer Vision – this enables computers to detect, analyze and interpret the visual world.
Expert Systems – AI process that simulates expert human behaviour and judgement.
Machine Learning – the computers ability to process data and make decisions without being directly programmed to a set response. AI platforms calculates probable outcomes based on previously processed data.
Natural Language Processing – enables machines to process text and audio language in a way humans can.
Robotics – combines computer vision, machine learning and expert systems to teach robots to perform human-like decision making.

Most public facing AI enhanced platforms have capabilities that fall into four categories:
Language processing: Where computers understand and respond to text and spoken word inputs the way humans do, even Jamaican patois. Understanding natural language input and responding with human-like output is key to most AI platforms.
Knowledge base: This is the centralized repository AI platforms use that combines natural language processing with machine learning to improve the quality and accuracy of its interactions over time. Machine learning is the branch of AI and computer science that has the  ability to incorporate knowledge (data) from interactions with predictive algorithms to imitate the way humans learn.
Customization: The interaction interface lets users personalize their experience by customizing the AI persona and quality of interaction. Chatbots, A.I. avatars, virtual assistant, and other concierge type AI services deliver a hyper-personalized user experience with customization.   
Integration with other tools: Some AI platforms are integrated with other tools and platforms to enhance their performance: for example, by improving features such as video processing and image enhancement in facial recognition and quality control industries.