Understanding the world of artificial intelligence can be a tricky thing, especially for those who are not familiar with the subtle differences between the different facets of this technology. With so many different terms tossed around in articles and books about the topic, it can be difficult to understand these subtle differences at first glance.

Learning more about AI technology and how it fits into your daily life can be a daunting undertaking, but learning about the different terms can make this easier and is a great place to start when educating yourself. As you gain a better understanding of the different parts of this widespread technology, you will find that the wealth of information becomes even easier to decipher.

To help make it easier to figure out the ever-changing world of artificial intelligence, here is a brief glossary of the most commonly seen words and phrases you will encounter. While this list couldn’t possibly include everything there is to know about such a broad topic, it will certainly get you well on your way to a tech savvier approach to understanding the complexities behind this technology!

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is the broad term that includes a large number of different tools, programs, and concepts involving machines and computers developing abilities to manipulate and analyze the world around them. Within this umbrella term, there is a multitude of different subsets that each do specialized things.

Cool Things Chicago’s list of the best AI books is a great place to start when looking for more information about artificial intelligence and the vast array of different technologies it includes.

Robotics, data analysis and machine learning, algorithms, and computer assistants are all unique parts of this large technology, making the term artificial intelligence a good go-to when discussing this rapidly growing sector of the tech world.

Those who wish to explore the depth of everything that artificial intelligence is capable of can find a wealth of information in books that explore the breadth of this technology. You can also find tons of great information from trusted news sources online to stay on top of this rapidly innovating sector of the technological world.


Simply put, an algorithm is a computer program that can absorb user-input data and information to make logical conclusions and tailor the responses to individual users. Examples of these programs are used in hundreds of different ways, the most obvious of which is through customizing ads toward an individual’s search history or purchasing patterns.

Algorithms help computers and programs interpret data at a rapid rate before drawing simple conclusions based on that data. As the programs become more complex and nuanced, the ability of these algorithms to make increasingly more accurate predictions will become even greater. There are currently algorithms making financial predictions, sales predictions and even drawing conclusions about how likely a person is to commit a crime in the future!


Robotics is one of the fastest sectors of development in the world, making workplaces more efficient and cost-effective throughout a broad spectrum of industries. Automation is the term used to describe training robots and machines to do simple and repetitive tasks quickly and with less error than their human counterparts. This facet of artificial intelligence shows an incredibly promising potential to reduce costs and increase safety across nearly every aspect of the industry across the world.

Computer Vision

Simply put, computer vision is the ability of a computer to actually see the world around them and interpret the visual information in a logical way. This technology can be found in all sorts of different tools and programs, making it another one of the fastest-growing practical applications that are used in the world of artificial intelligence.

From back-up assist cameras to the facial recognition software found in phones and devices around the world, the ability for a computer to see visual stimuli and analyze it in real-time is a unique aspect of AI technology. As the capabilities continue to improve with every new breakthrough, the practical application of this technology becomes greater across the world, giving computers the chance to actually see the things around them and respond in an almost human way.

Deep Learning

While algorithms and automation can all perform simple deductions from a set of data or programs, deep learning is the part of AI technology that seeks to take these capabilities even further. With deep learning, researchers and programmers are seeking to develop computers and programs that are capable of intuitive, logic-based deduction abilities that mirror the complex thought processes of the human brain. Logic and complex thought are all uniquely human traits, but with each new advance in the technology, deep learning becomes even more nuanced in its ability to think and respond like a human.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is another term you will find often throughout the world of artificial intelligence and has some of the most practical applications in the industry. Machine learning is the ability of programs to analyze a large amount of data in a rapid timeframe and make connections and deductions from this data pool.

A great example of machine learning in use is with the healthcare industry, where machine learning is being implemented to quickly and efficiently identify certain chemical compounds for additional testing. Healthcare Weekly’s article on how artificial intelligence can improve clinical trials explores how this new technology can find and flag these compounds far faster than humans can, reducing the time and cost of clinical trials.

These basic terms are some of the most frequent ones you will encounter in the world of artificial intelligence but this is by no means an exhaustive list of the terms that are used.

There are plenty of different terms in use to describe the complex and intricate aspects of AI technology, many of which the casual user might not have ever heard before. Once you have a grasp on the basics, you will find a world of information at your fingertips related to this fast-paced technological frontier.

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