Tuesday, 25 January 2011

AI is No Longer a Dirty Word

I recently did a search for Artificial Intelligence London, and then looked at the results on a map. By doing so, I discovered a company called Cognitive Match. They're a start-up whose product aims to customise a client's website to match a user's needs on the fly. What particularly caught my attention was the following quote
Our software combines mathematics with psychology and artificial intelligence to give your customers what they want.
It's very unusual to see anyone outside the games industry use the term Artificial Intelligence for something they're actually selling. The reasons for this are largely historical. A few years ago, a lot of people made rather overhyped claims for what AI would be able to do, which didn't match up with what it could actually do at the time. This created the impression that anything that was described as Artificial Intelligence belonged in the lab, and wasn't likely to turn into a usable product in the forseeable future.

There's a gradual change in the perception of AI going on. This is partly because researchers have been taking a more pragmatic approach to AI, and partly because the internet is making large datasets more readily available. Good data is the limiting factor in most AI applications, so, the more data is available, the better AI works.