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'60 Leaders' is an initiative that brings together diverse views from global thought leaders on a series of topics – from innovation and artificial intelligence to social media and democracy. It is created and distributed on principles of open collaboration and knowledge sharing. Created by many, offered to all.

ABOUT 60 LEADERS

'60 Leaders on Artificial Intelligence' brings together unique insights on the topic of Artificial Intelligence - from the latest technical advances to ethical concerns and risks for humanity. The book is organized into 17 chapters - each addressing one question through multiple answers reflecting a variety of backgrounds and standpoints. Learn how AI is changing how businesses operate, how products are built, and how companies should adapt to the new reality. Understand the risks from AI and what should be done to protect individuals and humanity. View the leaders. 

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'60 Leaders on Innovation' is the book that brings together unique insights and ‘practical wisdom’ on innovation. The book is organized into 22 chapters, each presenting one question and multiple answers from 60 global leaders. Learn how innovative companies operate and how to adopt effective innovation strategies. Understand how innovation and experimentation methods blend with agile product development. Get insights from the experts on the role of the C-Suite for innovation. Discover ways that Innovation can help humanity solve big problems like climate change.

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How would you explain AI to a 5-year-old?

George Panou

Q.

So, you are probably wondering what the term AI (Artificial Intelligence) really means, right? I am sure all these words like algorithms, computers, and machine learning fill your mind with questions and curiosity. Well, think of AI as computers having a small brain. AI, in simple words, is like enabling a computer to have human-like intelligence, not in terms of simple repetitive tasks but of human cognitive functions. For example, in the future, AI will enable a computer to demonstrate empathy, and act in such ways that make it difficult to tell whether you are talking to a human being or an AI – thus passing the famous Turing test challenge.


Any device that includes a modern computer inside, can perform simple tasks that require a type of intelligence. Imagine that you want to type in the word ‘Robot’; while you are trying to type it, the AI can help you autocomplete the word and even autocorrect it in case you have misspelled it. Like humans, AI is capable of learning. Using Machine Learning, if you feed a computer with data, after a while it will be able to distinguish a chair from a table or a bird from a tree. It would be also able to group different objects or predict whether it is going to rain tomorrow or even if you are happy or sad while you are talking to the AI. Sometimes this AI can even learn on its own and perform tasks or even self-correct its own program.

Sounds strange? I would rather say it is complex rather than strange. Let me give you some more familiar examples. You may have used Netflix to watch your favourite tv series or film. Have you ever wondered how Netflix displays first your preferences and how it recommends you watch similar tv shows? Well, that is possible based on the technology behind Netflix that knows what you like because you have been feeding it with data – e.g. how long you watched a film, what was the theme, or the genre. And with that data, the AI finds and pro-motes the most suitable content for you. In other words, you teach the AI system what you like and it responds back with recommendations.

There are many definitions of AI, but for now, you can think of it as ‘a near-to-human-like intelligence that has cognitive functions like humans do, and reacts intelligently to external stimuli. There are also many types of AIs; some perform simple tasks while others perform more complex ones.

The term ‘Narrow AI’ describes algorithms that focus on performing a simple task, like playing a game of Connect 4, a game of tic-tac-toe, or even predicting the weather based on specific data. Narrow AI does not interact outside its predefined limits. Even though we might like a futuristic world like in the film ‘Minority Report’ or the film ‘I Robot’, the truth is that we are mostly surrounded by Narrow AI that performs simplistic tasks without having human-like cognitive abilities. You shouldn’t underestimate Narrow AI though, since it makes our lives so much more effortless, like performing repetitive tasks faster and more accurately than humans - and, most importantly, tirelessly.

On the other hand, when an AI system has reached a high level of cognitive abilities that imitate human thinking, we will have reached the ‘General’ or ‘Super AI’. Computers of this class can ‘think’ independently and take into consideration several parameters, most of the time unexpected ones, and make decisions based on not only hard facts but also emotions and consciousness. In the future, General AI will be able to create its own music, play a musical instrument and even create art like a painting or even a book.

One example where applied AI brings a significant positive change to our lives is the self-driving car. By using Deep Learning technologies, self-driving cars can eliminate transportation problems and minimize traffic accidents.

"One example where applied AI brings a significant positive change to our lives is the self-driving car."

George Panou is the Head of the Innovation Centre at Eurobank, leading Digital Innovation and Digital Transformation for more than 20 years working with Financial Institutions-Banks, Large Enterprises, and Public Sector in Greece & EMEA.

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George Panou

"General AI will be able to create music, play a musical instrument and even create art like a painting or a book."

Head of Innovation Centre

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