The Human Element: Extreme Fundamentals of AI

11/07/2018 11:57:31
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Humans have been fascinated by the idea of machines with human characteristics for – well – as long as machines have been in existence. The short story, The Man That Was Used Up by Edgar Allan Poe published in 1839 tells the story of an impressive specimen of a man who returned from war severely mutilated and with a majority of his body made up of prosthesis.

The first “cyborg” entered the literary world in the writing of Jean de La Hire in 1911. The character Nyctalope had an artificial heart and certain powers including night vision, made possible by his mix of organic and mechanical body parts.

We’ve come a long way since then – into the world of Artificial Intelligence – where we hope to build machines that can think, learn and even potentially pass for human. While AI is a buzz word that everyone knows, many people don’t understand the fundamental and subtle differences between the elements like machine learning and deep learning that make AI possible!

What is AI?

AI involves machines that solve problems and perform tasks like planning, understanding language, recognizing objects and sounds and learning with characteristics of human intelligence. AI can be further divided into Narrow AI and General AI which perform the same functions but with different scopes. General AI has all the characteristics of human intelligence listed above while Narrow AI focuses on one element of human intelligence (for instance, problem solving) and works extremely efficiently within this limited scope.

What is Machine Learning?

Machine learning is an element that makes AI effective. While AI is possible without machine learning, it would require millions of lines of complex code while machine learning essentially absorbs a large amount of data and trains itself to adjust and improve based on the data. For example, machine learning might sort through millions of photos of faces that have been classified by humans. Through this photo tagging process eventually the machine “learns” how to distinguish between faces.

What is Deep Learning?

Deep learning is a complex element of machine learning inspired by the function of interconnecting neurons in the human brain. Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) have a complex interconnected “neural web” with each layer learning a specific element of the overall task – for instance face recognition. While one layer might focus on curves another might focus on colors – eventually interconnecting all the knowledge to form the bedrock of facial recognition.

These are simply the extreme basics of these three complex elements, all leading up to Artificial Intelligence – a key player in the future of network security. You may just be learning some of these terms but Sangfor Technologies has been working with them for years to develop sophisticated network security advances in conjunction with AI. It really is fascinating stuff and you will want to check out the Sangfor blog at for more information!

About Sangfor

Founded in 2000 and a publicly traded company as of 2018 (SANGFOR STOCK CODE: 300454 (CH)) Sangfor Technologies is the global leading vendor of IT infrastructure solutions specializing in Cloud Computing and Network Security. See for more information on Sangfor one-stop solutions for any and all of your network security and cloud computing needs.

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