WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) AND HOW CAN IT APPLY TO THE MS&T INDUSTRY?

September 13, 2021

Ever lose a game of chess to the computer, or have Siri prove you wrong after a friendly debate? If so, you have experienced just some of the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI). But the question still stands…

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is the simulation of the human brain through software coding within machines. AI uses a system of data sets, patterns, and rules to analyze new scenarios and make predictions for the right course of action depending on previous experience/data.

AI in Pop Culture vs. Reality

As a modern society, our understanding of Artificial Intelligence has been overshadowed by pop culture. This has caused the public to believe misleading information about AI.

When most think of AI, their minds naturally wander to thoughts of the Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, and iRobot. While these fictitious scenarios are examples of AI, they are extremely advanced, dystopian, and far from reality.

iRobot (2004) Depiction of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
iRobot (2004) Depiction of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

How Artificial Intelligence Works

Today’s Artificial Intelligence uses a process of learning, reasoning, and self-correction. AI acquires data, finds patterns within said data, creates rules or parameters based on the patterns, then creates actionable information in the form of step-by-step instructions to complete a task.

Through the learning process, the AI collects information fed manually or through the internet with machine learning, which we will cover later, and forms new information based on patterns and rules it has located.

During the reasoning process, the AI chooses the right algorithm for the task at hand. Finally, in the self-correction process, the AI will review the chosen algorithm as well as the results of that decision and make corrections for the future if needed.

Weak AI vs. Strong AI

There are two types of Artificial Intelligence; weak AI and strong AI. Weak, sometimes called narrow AI, is less intelligent as it cannot work without human interaction and focuses on a more narrow, specific, or niched purpose. Some consider narrow AI as a subset of weak AI, further limiting the capabilities of what can be called ‘narrow AI’.

Weak AI mimics human cognition but lacks consciousness while narrow AI simply uses natural language processing and data analysis to produce responses to actions or questions. This means Weak AI can gather information and make predictions, but it does not comprehend reality or its own existence.

Weak AI is good for tedious, repetitive, time-consuming tasks and analyzing large amounts of data quickly. Weak AI includes chatbots like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa and recommendation algorithms for shopping or entertainment.

Strong AI on the other hand is in fact comparable to the fictitious AIs we see in media like the terminator. The theoretical Strong AI would be equivalent or greater to human intelligence.

Depiction of Weak Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Depiction of Weak Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Weak AI’s Application in Simulation

So, all this is well and good but how does Artificial Intelligence help the simulation industry?

AI can be used to streamline simulation integration, production, and improve the quality of simulations. Abilities like data analysis of generated outputs made by the sim reacting to the user, rapid model prototyping, expert systems, and natural language processing expedite production greatly and allow integrators to refine their products with less difficulty.

Additionally, with the help of AI, simulations have higher fidelity, quality, and efficiency by using capabilities like automatic software maintenance checks, speech recognition, and machine vision. With these functions set in place, producing and using a simulation is significantly easier and subsequently cheaper.

AVT Simulation's CAMTT
AVT Simulation’s CAMTT

An example of AI used in a simulation would be wingmen, enemies, or NPCs that are controlled by the simulation’s coding but can still react to the user’s actions as if they were real people. This example is what is commonly known as Semi-Automated Forces (SAF) in the simulation industry.

Thank you for reading! In our next blog, we will dive deeper into AI with machine learning, neural networks, deep learning, and the ethical concerns around AI.

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Initially, Applied Visual Technology Inc., AVT has been developing modeling and simulation expertise through engineering services since 1998. This is due to our founder who has accumulated over 30 years of military MS&T expertise in aviation applications. Nonetheless, everyone at AVT specializes in making old training systems new again and making new ones for less. Consequently, for 20 years AVT has served our Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine customers by providing the highest quality of service and solutions. Following its inception, AVT’s highly specialized staff of engineers has included some of the top leaders in the simulation industry. With over 20 years of simulation experience, our dedicated team provides specialized solutions for customers with complex problems.

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