Basically speaking, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a field of computer science that focuses on developing machine systems capable of mimicking and performing the same tasks just as humans do. This actually entails taking on tasks that demand memory (cognitive) and predictive (anticipative) functions – typical of the human brain. With the emergence of varied smart technologies in the market today, many have raised concerns on the definition of artificial intelligence and frequent misuse of the term.
The concerns lie mainly in the scope of under what level of autonomy or kind of algorithm should a system be considered to be powered by artificial intelligence? In an attempt to resolve this preoccupation, computer scientists have further split artificial intelligence into two major categories: weak and strong artificial intelligence.
But again what is the main difference between weak artificial intelligence and strong artificial intelligence?- The main difference between weak and strong AI lies at the level of autonomy or dependence of the system to predefined conditions or occurrences.
In this article we will explore this concept of classification of AI under the following guidelines:
- What is weak AI
- What is strong AI
- Difference between weak and strong AI
- Examples of weak and strong AI
What is Weak AI?
Weak AI is also known as narrow AI- this is because it has limited functionality. With this technology, the machine functions based predefined conditions, this means the machine is programmed (by humans) to do specific tasks very accurately. However, the advanced algorithms used here do not measure up to the full range of human cognitive abilities. Therefore in the real sense of things, weak AI doesn’t actually mimic or replicate human intelligence but simulate human behaviour in machines.
For example, be it in the case of the chess-playing robot, the moves made by the robot are previously fed into the computer by a human and this ensures that the software will make the right moves at the right times in the game. Or with voice-based personal assistants like Siri relies on a pre-defined set of functions to deliver programmed responses. Weak AI falls under supervised artificial intelligence since human input is always needed.
What is Strong AI?
Strong AI falls in within the scope of the real definition of artificial intelligence otherwise considered as the theoretical form of AI. With strong AI, machines are trained to develop a level of consciousness equal to human beings. This means machines are made to think or in other words, could represent human minds in the future. Strong AI has some major characteristics that make it qualify as real AI or artificial general intelligence (AGI). Strong AI systems have three major characteristics which are: memory (cognitive tools) of its own, predict future occurrences from past experience and adapt to the environment as changes occur.
From the above three characteristics of Strong AI systems, machines in this category develop a mind of their own making the system to be able to carry complex tasks on their own just like human beings do. Therefore, machines here can reason, solve puzzles and possess the ability to plan and accomplish complex tasks on their own without any human interference. Strong AI falls under the class of unsupervised artificial intelligence with a suitable example being Deep learning where machines possess cognitive properties from a resultant pattern from iterations, after which the system is capable of anticipating and adapting accordingly without human intervention.
Difference Between Weak and Strong AI
The objective of weak and strong AI systems narrow down to the same goal – which is to facilitate and accelerate the rate at which certain tasks are executed. But there exist some degree of specificity in the way each functions which then gives them marked differences:
1. The main objective of weak AI systems is to allow machines to accomplish specific tasks at a significantly quicker pace than a human can whereas for a strong AI system has a goal of strengthening the development of artificial intelligence to the point where it matches the intelligence of a real human brain.
2. Considering that weak AI is programmed for specific tasks, it cannot achieve self-awareness nor demonstrate cognitive abilities that humans have. However, strong AI systems are dynamic and with their cognitive properties, they are conscious, intelligent and driven by emotions and self-awareness.
Examples of Weak and Strong AI
Mindful of the fact that the influx of modern tech products in the market in recent times often put many in the confusion of always asking themselves; “How Does This Happens?” we will list some examples of AI systems under the two AI categories for easy comprehension.
Weak AI examples:
- Apple’s Siri
- Amazon’s Alexa
- Google Search
- Emotech ‘s Olly a voice
- Pager app
Strong AI examples: the key characteristics of Strong AI systems include the ability to reason, solve puzzles, make judgments, plan, learn, and communicate. Artificial intelligence techniques that fall under strong AI are machine learning, deep learning, Natural language program, etc. Some technologies believed to fall under these categories are:
- A machine programmed in such a way that when it hears “Good morning” it turns the coffee maker on.
- A computer program asked to obtain highest scores, the AI program taught itself to play 49 classic Atari games outplaying humans in just 2hours 30minutes.
In conclusion, despite the hype surrounding artificial intelligence, strong AI is still much of a science fiction. At this point, no notable real examples exist in the market. However, researchers are focused on achieving true artificial general intelligence (AGI). Tech scientists believe that it is possible to achieve artificial human-like intelligence but it will probably take centre stage in the next decades ahead.