Artificial intelligence—introduction to the technology
Produced in partnership with David Bisset
Artificial intelligence—introduction to the technology

The following TMT guidance note Produced in partnership with David Bisset provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Artificial intelligence—introduction to the technology
  • What is artificial intelligence?
  • Common types of artificial intelligence
  • The basic technology
  • The knowledge pyramid
  • Learning in artificial intelligence
  • The application of artificial intelligence
  • Key challenges for artificial intelligence

This purpose of this Practice Note is to explain the basics of artificial intelligence (AI) technology and potential applications. It covers:

  1. What is artificial intelligence?

  2. Common types of artificial intelligence

  3. The basic technology

  4. The knowledge pyramid

  5. Learning in artificial intelligence

  6. The application of artificial intelligence

  7. Key challenges for artificial intelligence

For a timeline of key legal developments in relation to AI, see Practice Note: Artificial intelligence—timeline.

What is artificial intelligence?

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ was coined in 1956 at the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence, a summer workshop set up to accelerate the development of AI as a new technology.

Its use as a term has periodically fallen out of favour until its recent resurgence, a resurgence that has seen it far more widely used outside of the technical community than previously. This resurgence can be explained by the maturity of AI technologies, their potential impact and widespread usage. AI has reached this point because increased computing power has allowed AI software to run at useful speeds. A notable example of the implementation of AI as a result of increased capacity and processing is the smart phone.

AI refers to systems that are designed to perform in human-like ways. They may, for example, mimic the human ability to perceive, analyse, learn, reason and deduce.

The capability of these systems is growing but

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