STEM & artificial intelligence, how much do we know about it?

If you have ever misspelled a word that was auto-corrected on your phone or used Facial recognition, you have been introduced to a perfect example of what AI (artificial intelligence) is.

AI is one of the most popular topics in tech, which is a good reason for every person interested in STEM products and engineering toys to learn more about this branch of computer science. Let's know a little bit more about the term that helps build smart machines;


As we grow up, we have to learn new things and take further actions that help us discover new meanings, allowing us to learn from past experiences. The exact process digital computers or computer-controlled robots use when they use artificial intelligence.

Then how could we explain AI? Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability to simulate human intelligence processes such as discovering meaning, ability to reason, generalizing, or learning from past experience. Artificially intelligent machines can remember behavior patterns and adapt their responses according to learned behaviors. Once all these happen, computer systems use algorithms that allow them to perform tasks such as decision-making, speech recognition, visual perception, and translation between languages.


Spencer: DIY voice assistant


Now, if you ever asked yourself if robots are an example of Artificial Intelligence, get ready to get disappointed. Our answer is no, not exactly. If you ever watched Terminator or the movie I, Robot, most of you remember superintelligent systems and supercomputers that deemed the human race. In most movies, Hollywood depicts AI as superintelligent robots. However, robotics and AI are two completely separate fields. Yet, these two fields can overlap to create artificially intelligent robots in today's world.


Personal robot for every day use

The perfect examples are the warehouse or household robots. These robots use path-finding algorithms to navigate around, whereas an AI algorithm helps them perform more complex tasks. Nonetheless, these complex tasks are nothing like what you would see in an apocalyptic movie, as these robots would need to learn a million little patterns to become even in the slightest, super independent. Still, even if they would, they would not become that powerful. So, no need to get scared by robots just yet.

If you wish to understand more about how AI works in tech, check our Wheelson STEM box. This AI-powered robot demonstrates how autonomous vehicles work. Yet again, to understand how this works, we must address the types of AI.


Wheelson STEM box; AI self-driving car


4 Types of AI

Machines use different processes to perform various tasks. Technologies that make AI perform are machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), and deep learning.

ML refers to a process where a machine learns from ongoing feedback from algorithms and humans and the data from this feedback. ML then helps the device respond and adapt better before making new actions.

NLP is a linguistic tool that enables machines to interpret and read human language by translating human language into computer inputs. Pretty cool, right? Think of it as "machines language".

Deep learning is a type of machine learning and artificial intelligence that allows machines to imitate the ways how humans gain certain kinds of knowledge. In data science, this type is very important, as it includes statistics and predictions. In real-life, we use deep learning for automotive researchers to automatically detect objects such as stop signs and traffic lights. It is also used to detect pedestrians, which helps decrease accidents.


Wheelson; car with autonomous car with object recognition and image processing



Just like humans and their skills, we can separate AI by their types which goes from simple to most advanced levels of functioning. These types are:

  • Reactive Machines
  • Limited Memory
  • Theory of Mind
  • Self -Awareness

If you ever played computer chess, you were likely beaten by a computer at some point. Why is that? Because chess-playing supercomputer is reactive and knows each of the moves of identified pieces. Just like computer chess, the simplest AI systems are reactive. Reactive machines react to inputs (information) with some outputs (results).

Unlike reactive machines, systems with limited memory can look at the recent past to make better instant decisions. These systems store previous data to predict better in the future. Think of self-driving cars that use sensors to identify traffic signals as an example.

Theory of mind is AI's system's ability to attribute a mental state where it understands that people have feelings, thoughts, and expectations of how they want to be treated. A smart car needs to make reliable predictions about human behavior in real-time, such as pre-emptively adjusting speed and course to cope with a child's possible decision to cross the road in front of them abruptly.

Bot; a robot that simulates human behaviors

This theory is where things got quite tricky in our world, as this theory made many imaginative minds suspect that robots, aka machines, could rule the world instead of humans. However, as humans' behaviors are unpredictable, for the same reason, machines can not predict everything, and because of that, they can not become super intelligent.

Self-aware machines can form a representation of themselves as they act as the advancement of the Theory of Mind. These AI machines can desire, think, and understand their feelings. Thankfully, as mentioned previously, at the moment, these machines do not exist in real life and exist only in comic books and movies. (Watch: Blade Runner, Ron's Gone Wrong, I Robot)

Now when you have learned more about AI, here are some of the

Examples of AI

  • Self-driving cars
  • Robo-advisors
  • Siri, Alexa, and other smart assistants
  • Netflix's recommendations
  • Conversational bots

Batmobile stem toy; AI-powered robot car

Nowadays, AI can be found everywhere around us. It serves as a form of entertainment, but it also provides countless utilities that we have become dependent on.

Whatever the future brings with new AI machines, from new robot "friends" to household gadgets that help you in your daily chores, our DIY science kits for kids teach the fun part of each hi-tech component. Our STEM boxes are a great peek into the future, and to start learning more about electronics, especially computer science, so be sure to check all our DIY projects...