Q&A: Artificial intelligence, advancements and applications

1. Until recently, most people thought AI was science fiction. What’s changed?    The concept of artificial intelligence has been around for decades; Alan Turing first speculated that machines could one day think like humans back in the 1950s. But it’s the combination of research breakthroughs, the wider availability of big data, and advances in graphics processing unit (GPU) technology that has ignited the AI explosion taking place today.   When Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo system beat South Korean champion Lee Se-dol at the ancient Chinese game Go in March 2016, it marked a turning point in AI’s place in the public consciousness. Given that there are more possible Go positions than there are atoms in the universe, researchers had predicted it would be years before AI could become sophisticated enough…

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