ELI5: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Explain Like I’m Five: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

“Explain Like I’m Five” or ELI5, is an idea that started on Twitter (#ELI5) and spawned the Explain Like I’m Five subreddit. ELI5 takes a complex idea or concept and goes through the mental exercise of simplifying it in a way that a young child can understand.

In this BENlabs take on ELI5, we’ll hit on some common — and not so common — terms relating to marketing, influence, and AI and do our best to distill them into simple terms without losing too much of the nuance.

Explain Like I’m Five: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is like a smart robot that can learn things just like people do.

Imagine a toy that can learn to tell the difference between things you show it. You explain what red and blue look like and show it some red things and some blue things. After a little while, it will start to understand red and blue.

When you show the toy a red circle and blue square, it will know which color each one is. You tell it that the red thing is a circle and the blue thing is a square and you show it some more circles and squares. Now you can show it a picture of 100 different shapes in all different colors. It would be able to pick out the red circle and the blue square. Because it’s always learning, it can also pick out a blue circle or a red square, even though you never actually showed it either one of those things. 

AI is kind of like that toy, but way smarter. Instead of just recognizing colors and shapes, AI can learn from lots and lots of examples and make choices based on what people ask it to do. As it gets smarter, it can even learn on its own without needing to be told what to do.

So, just like how you learn from your parents, your teachers, and your friends as well as by trying stuff out for yourself, AI learns from data and uses that knowledge to make predictions and solve problems on its own.

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