Everything you need to know about artificial intelligence: What is it used for?

Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM are all competing in the emerging AI market

Artificial intelligence is the leading innovation in the technology sector today, offering limitless opportunities to its users while also representing an existential threat to some white-collar workers and companies. 

The most important technology and entertainment companies in the world either utilize AI or are developing their own program for public usage. 

The primary goal of this revolutionary technology is to change the way humans interact in their everyday lives by removing the need to complete mundane tasks and providing instant access to detailed information.


What is artificial intelligence?

AI, or artificial intelligence, is a form of processing that simulates human and animal intelligence via machines or computer systems to carry out data analytics, language processing, speech recognition and computer vision. A key component of artificial intelligence is the dataset consumed by the program, which allows it to develop patterns and correlations to make predictions for future tasks.

The Google logo, on a smartphone, and Bard logo

Google has recently released its own AI chatbot called Bard in the United States and United Kingdom.  (Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The foundation of AI is found in the hardware and software used to write and train artificial algorithms. The duality of AI allows it to function with various programming tools, including Python, R and JavaScript. AI is a general term used to define the main characteristics of a computer program that essentially simulates human processing and performs tasks that once required humans, like playing chess, painting and writing essays. 

Some of the world's biggest corporations have invested billions into data science teams to help improve their AI operating system with the best computer science and business knowledge. 

What is Chat GPT?

In November 2022, Chat GPT became the top artificial intelligence text and language model developed by OpenAI, a Silicon Valley-based research laboratory. The program utilizes the company's GPT-3.5 and GPT 4 language models that generate texts in a conversational and formal manner that is similar to humans. The release of the prototype gained widespread international popularity and helped grow OpenAI's valuation by tens of billions. 

ChatGPT allows users to generate a variety of creative exercises, including writing essays and business plans and generating code. However, one controversy with the program is its ability to foster cheating and potentially eliminate white-collar jobs for millions. For example, colleges across the U.S. have implemented programs to prevent students from using ChatGPT to write their essays or complete exams. 

There is also a fear among white-collar business professionals in a number of industries that programs such as ChatGPT may one day be used to replace humans. In January, the AI chatbot tool passed law and business exams at the University of Minnesota and the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. The bot completed the courses with a C+ average through a blind test of 95 multiple-choice and 12 essay questions. 

ChatGPT illustration

OpenAI received a $10 billion investment from Microsoft following the success of Chat GPT.  (Reuters / Reuters Photos)

"One of the biggest risks to the future of civilization is AI," billionaire Elon Musk, a co-founder of OpenAI, said at the World Government Summit in February. 

What is OpenAI?

OpenAI is the company responsible for some of the leading and most popular artificial intelligence programs, including Chat GPT and the text-to-image generation bot DALL-E. The company was originally founded as a nonprofit laboratory by some of the wealthiest Silicon Valley technology leaders in 2015 to develop and research a human-friendly AI system. 


Some of the early founders of OpenAI include Musk, Peter Thiel, Jessica Livingston and current CEO Sam Altman. In 2019, OpenAI transitioned into a for-profit business to expand investment opportunities as it developed future AI programming. After the release of DALL-E and Chat GPT, the company secured a multi-year investment deal from Microsoft reported to be upward of $10 billion in new funding. 

Where is AI used?

One of the essential uses of AI is to eliminate mundane tasks and optimize efficiency in business, agriculture, education and other sectors. AI is used by some of the top technology and social media companies to help curate entertainment and content to customized user recommendations to boost engagement and traffic. 

Elon Musk at a press conference

Billionaire Elon Musk is one of the founders of OpenAI and has warned about the dangers artificial intelligence pose.  (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Depending on how much data an AI program has will determine its specific benefits to the user. For example, AI with abundant data can make investment recommendations on the stock market, identify emerging business innovations and accelerate company production. The future uses and benefits of AI are likely to expand in the coming years as the technology receives more investment and innovation. 


Who are the top artificial intelligence companies?

Over the last few years, artificial intelligence has transitioned from a niche market of Silicon Valley enthusiasts to the primary investment goals of the largest technology companies in the world. Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM are, in some fashion, building or investing in artificial and machine learning programs. As previously reported, Microsoft has invested billions in OpenAI due to the success of Chat GPT and DALL-E, while Google has launched its own AI chatbot called Bard.