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Artificial intelligence yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

5 minuti

Artificial Intelligence is defined as the discipline of computer science that studies the theoretical foundations, methodologies, and techniques that bring to life the design of hardware and software systems. These can enable computers to perform similarly to human intelligence, or at least this was the perception, until a few decades ago.

Artificial intelligence allows machines to learn from experience, adapt to the information received, and automate tasks carried out until now exclusively by humans.

The term artificial intelligence was coined in 1956 by John McCarthy but the research started a few years earlier, when studies began to focus on the creation of programs capable of imitating human reasoning and logical deductions.

Over the next decade, the US Department of Defense became interested in this type of technology and began programming computers to mimic basic human reasoning. For example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) completes road mapping projects (setting the stage for what we now call Google Maps).

In the 80s and 90s, computers recorded an exponential growth both in memory capacity and in computational computing power. This made it possible to develop increasingly complex programs in the field of artificial intelligence and to overcome some barriers of previous years. The new artificial intelligence is now being applied to solve even more complex problems, such as natural language interpretation, visual image recognition, and the general representation of reality.

Chip miniaturization and advances in robotics expand the practical applications of artificial intelligence. The issue now touches the vast majority of people and the great curiosity it arouses arrives from movies. While Hollywood and science fiction novels portray artificial intelligence as androids taking over the world, the current evolution of AI technologies is not that scary or “smart” enough.

The step is very short, perhaps too short, in our minds between thinking about artificial intelligence and imagining an apocalyptic future in which machines are super intelligent and able to unite and turn against mankind to conquer them (typically a human behavior).

The truth is that at the moment AI machines may at best not understand what we are trying to tell them.

Nowadays the functions of AI ​​apply to various sectors. AI is capable to drive cars, diagnose diseases and recognize objects and people in photographs: what is missing then to rule the world?

After much discussion, industry experts have come to define creativity and common sense as the two human factors that artificial intelligences lack and that prevent them from making the evolutionary leap feared by many. As for creativity, there are many doubts. There are software that paint pictures, compose music, write poetry and the results are far from poor. There is even a movement focused on the artistic production of artificial intelligence.

Of course, AI as we know it today has a great capacity: it works by combining huge amounts of data. It quickly processes information and uses intelligent algorithms, allowing the software to automatically learn from the patterns or characteristics of the data.

If on the one hand, therefore, artificial intelligence becomes more and more performing, on the other hand it is also gradually changing the way we interact with technology, a fluid way, with the succession of increasingly advanced and functional devices. more and more varied.

With the arrival of the touchscreen, we left keyboards aside and started using phones through the screen alone, which has since become one of the paradigms of human-machine interaction. What at first seemed like a real revolution, was actually nothing more than the most universal way of communicating that the human being knows: with gestures.

There is no need to know languages ​​other than your own, or to know the code with which the machine in front of us works. Touchscreens are so intuitive that they don’t even need to be explained: even children play with these devices as if it were the most normal interaction in the world, because it is.

Fast forward ten years and we are facing a change of similar magnitude: conversational interfaces are becoming the new standard of interaction.

It might seem like another revolution but the common thread is always the same: giving people the opportunity to interact with the world in the most natural way possible. Language is the first interface they teach us to communicate, it is the tool that people around us use and it is the most recognized way through which information is passed.

If users have changed their way of communicating, companies need to adopt an interface to answer their questions. On the other hand, managing all these conversations manually is an unthinkable activity, as it is too expensive and time-consuming. Hence the need to automate these responses using conversational artificial intelligence.

When technology, interfaces, and language are combined, conversational artificial intelligence comes to life.

Conversational AI is a set of technologies that enable computers to understand, process, and respond to voice or text input in natural ways and is typically used in conjunction with intelligent virtual agents (IVA) bots or bots. Done right, this set of language-based and AI-based technologies enable people to interact with complex systems in faster and simpler ways and help companies deliver customized services and support at scale.

Conversational AI exploits the principles of Natural Language Processing (NLP) applied to technology, that is the ability of computers to analyze, understand and generate human language, including speech. The next stage of NLP is natural linguistic interaction, which allows humans to communicate with computers using normal, everyday language to carry out their activities.

Chatbots, virtual assistants, voice assistants are just some examples of conversational interfaces that have now entered the daily life of companies and users.

The most important of the innovations that the spread of conversational interfaces is producing is the return to writing as a prevalent element over the image, understood as the grouping of the various visual elements that make up the application pages. We are used to a responsive web, which responds only if questioned and only to one question at a time. And we know well that, more often than not, we are looking for more than one answer.

Let’s take a concrete example: buying a women’s shirt, despite some doubts about the color and (perhaps) even the size. To achieve his goal, our user in search of the garment will have to perform various tasks: find the shirt model on the e-commerce site, check availability, compare sizes, choose the color and proceed with the purchase. Different tasks, often on different pages. Interfaces equipped with conversational AI change this scheme.

Through the conversation tool, they present themselves as proactive agents who guide the user into their memory, the database in which there are many of those tasks (information and services) that we encountered in the case of the shirt to buy. Tasks that are carried out without ever leaving the interface, through interaction with images, videos, buttons and any other multimedia element.

The most advanced AI systems are those developed in recent years but in reality, what we have today is the result of a fifty-year evolution. Research does not stop because the needs of companies and users change. is here to tell and write the future of AI-based technologies together with companies and users.