Introduction

In today’s time, machines are evolving at a faster rate to emulate human capabilities. While we are being swept up by the miraculous advancements in the AI industry and are eager to see more of it, it is, however, important to note that AI is not that old a concept. With what started merely as a theory in the early 1950s, today, we have various applications based on various types of artificial intelligence. But we are still in the very early phase of AI. 

One of the most common queries revolves around the different types of AI that exist today. While discussing this, we will deal with two aspects – one based on functionality and the other, on capability.

So, how many types of AI are there?

Broadly, we have 4 types of AI:
  1. Reactive Machines
  2. Limited Memory
  3. Theory of Mind 
  4. Self Aware
We also have an alternate classification of AI, mainly in terms of technology. Here are the three types of AI-based on this classification: 
  1. Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI)
  2. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)
  3. Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

What are these different types of Artificial Intelligence?  

To know more, it is first important to understand the functioning of every system type. Let us first dive into the types of AI-based on functionality. 
4 types of AI Based functionality

1. Reactive Machines

It is the one that kick-started the field of Artificial Intelligence. The oldest one of the four types of Artificial Intelligence laid the basis for what we call ‘Conditional Intelligence’. It deals with a simple set of behaviors that runs according to the changes in the environment. To put it simply, this type of AI is a complex network of nested if-else cases. So, it does not learn from the experiences. It just reacts, according to the settings provided. 

2. Limited Memory

This is one of the most stable and frequently seen types of AI. The algorithms use previous knowledge to understand what is going on and how to react to a particular setting. These are the machines that have the capability to learn. Most of the Deep Learning techniques come under limited memory. For this type of AI, we can train data by providing some data to the model ahead of running so that it can learn from its environment.

3. Theory of Mind

Theory of Mind is going to be the next big breakthrough for AI researchers. This type of AI doesn’t exist yet. It is the AI that would be the closest to human behavior if it ever came into existence. The AI would have the ability to understand and have a perspective as a human being. It would have the ability to not just perceive but to express emotions as well. 

4. Self Aware

Self Aware is the state of AI that most technocrats are afraid of. An AI system with full access and understanding of its own, like an exact replica of human intelligence. However, this type of AI is only a concept and has not even paved its way into a proper theory. But, if we build this AI system, it would have its own peculiar needs and even some fundamental beliefs. It also brings the possibility of likes and dislikes and human-like qualities, like stubbornness, for instance. To add up, it would be a system running on logic as well as emotions and would have its ecosystem. It is the type of AI you may have seen in sci-fi movies.   

Now, let’s understand the types based on capability. As we know, the technological advancements in the field of AI are going to be tracked based on how capable the system is to perform various tasks. 
3 types of AI based on capability

1. Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI)

ANI is one of the most frequently experienced types of Artificial Intelligence. Almost everything that you see in the field of AI, from the core developments to state-of-the-art algorithms, all comes under the domain of narrow AI. This type is also known as weak AI, as it operates under a limited set of constraints. Hence, it is the simplest one out of the three types of Artificial Intelligence. In ANI, the main focus is on one, or at most, two tasks. 

For example – Object Detection. To recognize a particular object in a given frame is a narrowed contextual task, in comparison to human perception. Other tasks like speech recognition come under the domain of ANI too. The models can either be reactive or of limited memory. The deep learning models constitute the ‘Limited Memory’ type, and simpler tasks could be a case of ‘Reactive Machines’. 

2. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)

The second type is the AGI. Out of the 3 types of AI mentioned above, this type is more of a theoretical concept as we still haven’t been able to give AI the ability to perceive objects on its own. This type of AI mainly deals with the ‘Theory of Mind’ we saw earlier. It would have the ability to understand and even express emotions. However, the question of self-awareness is yet to be clarified for AGI. 

3. Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

It is the third type of AI, based on capability. ASI systems are going to be the zenith of AI excellence. If made a reality, it would be the last invention of the human race. Not because of AI dominance and elimination of the race, but because the ASI systems are going to be better than human intelligence.

The ASI system is the strongest one out of the 3 types of artificial intelligence, based on capability. In every aspect – research, emotions, or even a reaction to catastrophes. It is not that machines together are going to be dangerous but the thought of a super-intelligent AI is appealing, and that is what can cause the researchers to cross the threshold that could lead towards the direction of dominance.

If the systems like these are not possible, why should we even keep a type for it?

To be frank, we do not know what is going to happen with AI systems in the future. And even though right now we do not see it coming to reality, we need to understand where we need to stop. By recognizing the systems like these we can start a better discussion on topics like the ethics of AI, to control what we develop. To understand better, you can search for the ‘Types of Artificial Intelligence PDF’ by MIT, which is a useful resource in further improving your understanding of the different types of Artificial Intelligence. 

Conclusion

Now we know different types of AI-based on functionality as well as capability. We understood the differences between the types and how the understanding of the different types of AI will give us more clarity on the flow of development. We understood where we currently are and what we are aiming for in the field of AI.

 While we are surrounded by smarter machines than ever before, we are still decades away from making the theoretical concepts of AI into full-fledged systems. Interested to learn more about different types of Artificial Intelligence and their applications?

Check out our “Full Stack Machine Learning and AI” program, an online program that deals with all the trending tools and technologies used in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

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