Skip to Main Content

Artificial Intelligence AI: AI Defined

This guide created by Jane Verostek, Associate Librarian at SUNY ESF reviews current AI Artificial Intelligent trends - specifically ChatGPT and how the use of AI software affects research and information literacy.

What is Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence Software?

Artificial Intelligence (AI), the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. The term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience. 


Artificial Intelligence Software is a computer application capable of intelligent behavior like learning, reasoning, and problem-solving. It performs a range of tasks that typically require human intelligence, from the simple job of timekeeping to the complex process of analyzing millions of data sets.

The ubiquity of AI nowadays is undeniable as it becomes a key feature to most computer applications for industrial, commercial, and everyday use. AI software is found in production floors, data centers, ATMs, car infotainment systems, mobile phones, smart TVs, or the apps and websites you frequently visit.


Building on some theoretical developments of the previous decade, Alan Turing proposed the Turing Test (1950), a method of determining whether a machine can think. It inspired further research in artificial intelligence, a term first coined in 1956 at a Dartmouth conference organized by John McCarthy. McCarthy co-founded the MIT Artificial Intelligence Project with Marvin Minsky in 1959.

The idea of creating intelligent machines to think and act like intelligent humans drives the development of AI. With AI, a machine can think, mimicking the human brain, processing information, and recognizing patterns from data. A famous breakthrough in artificial intelligence was in 1997, when the IBM-developed software Deep Blue defeated Gary Kasparov in a chess match.

Today, artificial intelligence is crucial to all business and operational processes that involve volumes of data, especially in manufacturing, self-driving cars, and mobile applications.


With its intelligent algorithms or mathematical instructions for calculations and automated reasoning, AI combines volumes of data with incredible speed, efficiency, and precision. It lets the software learn from data, identify features and patterns, and predict future trends.

AI is a broad field that includes the following:

  1. Neural network. A neuron-like interconnection of units, it processes and relays data from one unit to the next to derive meaning.
  2. Machine learning. It teaches machines to learn and automates analytical data modeling for hidden insights.
  3. Deep learning. It leverages advanced computing to recognize patterns and spot trends in large amounts of data.
  4. Computer vision. Relying on deep learning to identify complex data patterns, it processes, analyzes, and interprets captured videos and images.
  5. Natural language processing. It recognizes, understands, and generates human language, allowing humans to interact and communicate with the computer using ordinary speech.

AI software processes data to better interact with humans, provide support for specific tasks, and help make quick and informed decisions.


  1. Simplifies the otherwise complex tasks, optimizing and routine tasks and processes.
  2. Increases productivity, precision, and efficiency in processes, functionality, and operations.
  3. Reduces costs (money, time, and effort) as it significantly helps prevent occurrences of human error. Plus, it is available all the time, which benefits help centers or customer services with 24-hour-a-day operations.
  4. Enhances end-user experience in daily applications — banking, entertainment, retail, education, or travel.
  5. Business leadership can make quicker and more informed decisions, with AI processing ultra large amounts of data sets for actionable insights.
  6. Spurs growth, innovation, and new invention as people have more time to identify and resolve complex problems.

( (

Video Tutorial on AI

SUNY ESF Librarian

Profile Photo
Jane Verostek
Phone 315-470-6718