The potential for Artificial Intelligence to change society has been widely discussed in both technical and non-technical communities. Whether AI could change the way we work and live is open for debate. What we do know is that AI soon will be a part of our lives in at least some way. With that in mind, IT professionals need to understand this technology and how it can be deployed in their processes.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

AI’s goal is to give machines the learning ability of humans so that their capabilities evolve automatically, rather than remain static in the absence of human developer intervention. There are different degrees of AI. Some are attempting to make machines with human-like intelligence, like in the movie Terminator, called “strong” AI. Others design machines to enhance human tasks by adding a higher level of a machine’s computational abilities and intelligence, but do not evolve. This is called “weak” AI. As you might imagine, “strong” AI is more challenging to develop than “weak,” and most AI development these days is in the “weak” area.

History of AI

AI first boomed in the 1950s with the development of computers capable of playing games and puzzles, in which the machine intelligence responds with a programmed set of answers. The 1980s brought a second wave of AI. By this point, the performance of computers had improved and their intelligence could get smarter. AI began to be used in various commercial and industrial systems such as financial analysis systems and autonomous vehicles. The current AI boom started at the turn of the century, where machine intelligence began to be enhanced by massive amounts of data or “Big Data.” Today, tools and services for AI are readily available to all companies, making it easier to build these capabilities into a variety of functions. Examples of AI today include expert systems, speech recognition and machine vision.

AI and the IT Department

1. Secure the network against malicious software.

AI makes it possible to continually learn the changing characteristics of malicious software and automate your defenses when a new virus or malware is detected. Without AI, anti-malware solutions rely on importing external threat data that depends on the efforts of other organizations and is subject to time delays. With AI in your threat detection system, you can detect viruses immediately because the solution learns as it goes and you can detect different characteristics of malicious software and threat actors.

2. Guard against network and server failures.

Most network issues are detected only after a major failure has occurred. AI can detect the signs leading up to a failure so that equipment or other parts of the system can be replaced or fixed before a major outage occurs. This helps lower operating costs

3. Streamline Help Desk support.

IT departments can use AI to prioritize and respond to Help Desk requests, freeing up staff to focus on only those problems that need human intervention.

These three examples show how AI can already be implemented in your organization to make significant improvements to your efficiency and bottom line. You don’t need to wait for AI to reach human-level intelligence to begin taking advantage of everything it has to offer.

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