For the sake of our sanity, and to stick to the practical applications in this book, we will loosely define AI as a synthetic system that exhibits “intelligent” behavior. Instead of trying to define something as AI or not AI, let’s refer to the AI-likeness of it. Something might exhibit some aspects of intelligence because it helps us solve hard problems and provides value and utility. Usually, AI implementations that simulate vision, hearing, and other natural senses are seen to be AI-like. Solutions that are able to learn autonomously while adapting to new data and environments are also seen to be AI-likeness.
Here are some examples of things that exhibit AI-ness:
A system that succeeds at playing many types of complex games
A cancer tumor detection system
A system that generates artwork based on little input
A self-driving car
The bottom line is that AI is an ambiguous term that means different things to different people, industries, and disciplines. The algorithms in this book have been classified as AI algorithms in the past or present; whether they enable a specific definition of AI or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that they are useful for solving hard problems.