What is artificial intelligence?

Staci West 04/05/2023 in Specialist investing

In its simplest form, artificial intelligence is a field which combines computer science and robust datasets, to enable problem-solving. Of course, the breath of artificial intelligence is huge and continues to grow every year providing a rapidly growing opportunity for investors.

Chris Ford has been investing for nearly two decades and launched the Sanlam Global Artificial Intelligence fund in 2017. This fund looks for companies that incorporate AI, rather than just making it, meaning this fund is a more diversified play on a theme growing in popularity.

In this video Chris explains how the team at Sanlam defines artificial intelligence, the different types of artificial intelligence currently on the market, and just how entrenched AI has become in our everyday lives.

Want to learn more about artificial intelligence?

Watch: What are the pros and cons of artificial intelligence?
Watch: What potential threats does artificial intelligence pose for companies today?

Want to hear more from Chris Ford?
Watch: Artificial intelligence: a craze or a huge investment opportunity? [Feb 2023]
Listen: Episode 174 of the ‘Investing on the go’ podcast — Artificial intelligence: how it is changing the world and our investment options [Feb 2022]

What is artificial intelligence?
We define AI as being the effort to synthesise, automate, and optimise the process of converting information into useful and actionable knowledge. Our definition differs from some others in that it looks not to place human intelligence as being the only means by which one can evaluate intelligence. And also, by being intensely practical, and this ability to convert information into something that is useful and actionable is something that we really care about, because that’s what allows our companies to engage with something that can be truly transformational.

What are the different types of AI?
There are lots of different types of AI. AI looks to use a number of underlying technologies such as recurrent neural networks, transformers, convolutional neural networks… to deliver artificially intelligent solutions in different contexts around the world. Some are specialised in languages, some are specialised for image recognition and interpretation, or perhaps image generation. But more and more of these artificially intelligent systems are bubbling up into the economy, addressing lots of different applications.

How entrenched is AI in our lives today?
AI is becoming entrenched in our lives, but the rate at which it’s becoming entrenched differs in different applications. Some parts of our lives, such as those of us who use navigation maps to find our way around, are already using artificially intelligent technologies day in, day out – and oftentimes without really thinking very hard about the extraordinary technology which stands behind the solution which we’re engaging with.

Other parts of the economy, and our lives, are as yet untouched from AI. We have a lot to go, there’s a lot ahead of us in the artificially intelligent world, and I think that, as we look out over the course of the next 10 years, we’ll find that more and more of our personal lives – and our professional lives – will be inflected by the presence of artificially intelligent systems.

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