AI – homo sapiens sapiens’ path to singularity

2018-11-15, 16:38 Posted by: Katarina Cornelius

AI definition

The term artificial[1] intelligence[2] has been with us since the 1950s, when the Turing test was conceived and introduced[3]. The Turing test is designed to test a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human”.

From that, we shaped the initial definition of AI as “a machines ability to execute cognitive actions usually connected to humanlike actions”, whereas the actual term artificial intelligence was coined by the American scientist John McCarthy in 1956.

To me, that definition is only partly valid today as, in the interconnected networking paradigm, we have a broader scope than single, isolated machines to deal with. We have networks and, hence, we have neural networks, enabling AI to cross the boundaries of a single machine into a networked system, allowing for even more intelligence to be harnessed and excelled upon. A distinction very worthwhile contemplating.

That said, not only has the world evolved since the 1950s, but I have also noticed in my line of work that there are multiple perspectives of what AI is – and isn’t.

Zooming out for a moment, I’d like to add that, as with any given topic we wish to take on, we first need to establish what we mean. We need to define it. Properly. Over the years, I have encountered numerous – and quite confusing – definitions of some well-known concepts: digital, digitalisation, transformation, innovation, disruption, robotisation, to mention a few, and now – artificial intelligence.

In the case of defining AI, I have noticed that some link it to automation, and some to robotisation. Some define it from a more technical viewpoint, equalling it to machine learning or deep learning. Yet others include areas of application such as computed vision, biometrics or speech recognition.

Here is the thing. Until we have established a clear understanding of what we mean, and what we wish to get out of using the technology, we are not able to act adequately since our perceptions of something (subject, object or topic) will shape our actions and thereby determine the way we respond to it. 


So, what is your definition of AI?



[1] From Old French, late 14c “not natural or spontaneous

[2] From Old French, late 14c “the highest faculty of the mind, capacity for comprehending general truths”

[3] Turing Test

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About the AI blog series

This new blog series will cover the different aspects of artificial intelligence. Hopefully it will give food for thought and help you reflect upon how AI could assist your business, your organisation and wider society.

The first post will cover the definition of AI and introduce my viewpoint on this topic (we all have different viewpoints). Later posts will cover aspects such as:

AI and Business

AI and Business Applications

AI and Organisational Capabilities

AI and Jobs

AI and Humanity

AI and Velocity of Speed

AI and Ethics


Welcome to the Paradigm of Collective Intelligence!

Katarina Cornelius

Business Unit Manager Head of Business advisory services and speaker

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