Artificial Intelligence: What it is, how it works and examples


In addition to works of fiction and ethical controversies and debates, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a technology used extensively in our daily lives.

From voice assistants on our smartphones to service chatbots, through automation in large industries, AI constantly reveals new potentials and ways to help human beings in the most different areas.

In this post, discover what Artificial Intelligence is, when it emerged, learn about its applications and understand what the future of this technology has in store for us. Follow up!

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Artificial Intelligence is a concept that belongs to computing and consists of the ability of machines (physics, software and other systems) to interpret external data, learn from this interpretation and use the learning to solve specific tasks and achieve specific goals.

In other words, Artificial Intelligence seeks to make machines think like human beings, that is, they can analyze, reason, learn and decide in a logical and rational way.

After all, how did Artificial Intelligence come about?

The history of Artificial Intelligence goes back to the first computers, in the middle of the 20th century. The first research originated in the 1950s, based on the studies of Alan Turing.

The term “Artificial Intelligence” was coined in 1956 at the Dartmouth conference. John McCarthy , one of the creators of the concept, then defined AI as:

“To make the machine behave in such a way that it would be called intelligent if that were the behavior of a human being.”

John McCarthy

In the 1960s, the US Department of Defense began its first research, which consisted of training a computer to emulate basic human reasoning.

These works were the starting point for further research in the area. Studies and projects involving Artificial Intelligence were intensified from 1980 onwards, driven by advances in technology and the needs of different industries.

How does Artificial Intelligence work?

The operation of Artificial Intelligence is based on the combination of large volumes of digital data and intelligent algorithms . Respectively, they allow the system to read and interpret patterns and information to learn automatically.

It is important to highlight that, for this learning to happen, the Artificial Intelligence system needs to be constantly fed with new data.

Thus, the functioning of AI is based on:

  • Data model: structures used to process, categorize and analyze data;
  • Big Data : availability of large volumes of data;
  • Processing power: This is the operating capacity of the system to process information.

For this whole process to happen, however, it is necessary to combine different technologies that, together, can give the machine the ability to imitate human logical reasoning.

Are they:

machine learning

Artificial Intelligence is an extensive field that encompasses different concepts. And one of the fundamental pillars for AI to achieve the results expected by its developers is Machine Learning – from Portuguese, machine learning.

As the name implies, this technology makes systems capable of learning on their own and evolving.

And this is done by processing data and identifying patterns, which make it possible to make decisions without the need for the system to be programmed to reach a certain conclusion.

Without Machine Learning, therefore, Artificial Intelligence as we know it today would not be possible.

Machine Learning is used, for example, in the personalized recommendation system of services such as Amazon and Netflix.

The machines analyze users’ consumption data to identify patterns and suggest content or products that are more in line with each person’s taste.

Deep learning

Another cornerstone of Artificial Intelligence is Deep Learning, a deepening of Machine Learning . However, with the ability to make the learning of the system more complex and intelligent so that it provides even more accurate results.

Deep Learning uses complex neural networks, which follow the same logic as the connection between neurons in the human brain .

Allied to advances in computing power, the system learns complex patterns and interprets large amounts of data.

One of the most common applications of Deep Learning is in image and speech recognition, and it is also used in the development of autonomous vehicles.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

When we think of Artificial Intelligence, it is common to refer to pop culture, such as cinema and television.

In this sense, a world in which machines interact and communicate with humans in an absolutely natural way will only be possible thanks to Natural Language Processing.

NLP consists of the use of Machine Learning technology for the system to analyze, understand, find patterns and generate human language in a natural way , including in the form of speech.

Advances in this area will take us to the next stage, which is precisely the interaction of natural language between machines and human beings.

Natural Language Processing is used in areas such as sentiment analysis, algorithms that identify the content of a text and also in customer service chatbots.

What is the main purpose of Artificial Intelligence?

The main objective of Artificial Intelligence is to create machines that can emulate human behavior and reason logically to assist in different aspects of human life.

This can happen when carrying out everyday tasks, advancing scientific research or modernizing industries, especially in times of Industry 4.0.

What are the types of Artificial Intelligence?

Theorists in the field of Artificial Intelligence usually divide it into two types: strong and weak. Let’s better understand these concepts and their application in practice.

Strong Artificial Intelligence

Strong Artificial Intelligence involves creating systems capable of reasoning and solving problems . For this reason, she is classified as self-aware.

Strong AI is the main focus of controversy, as it raises discussions already known as the concept of consciousness in machines.

It also presents ethical problems arising from the creation of systems that are cognitively distinguishable from human beings.

Strong Artificial Intelligence and the discussions that surround it are a much discussed topic in science fiction: ‘I, Robot’ and ‘The Bicentennial Man’, by Isaac Asimov, and ‘AI – Artificial Intelligence’, by Steven Spielberg are good examples.

Weak Artificial Intelligence

Weak Artificial Intelligence, in turn, is focused on creating systems that cannot consciously reason and solve problems like humans.

This means that a machine with Weak AI could process data and deliver results, but without the self-awareness present in Strong Artificial Intelligence.

Within the fields of Weak Artificial Intelligence is the Natural Language Processing that we have just seen. In this case, the machines use software and algorithms created for specific purposes, such as simulating a human conversation.

Currently, most of the advances considered relevant to the area have been made in the Weak Artificial Intelligence circle, with little progress happening in the field of Strong AI.

8 Examples and Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Business

where to use artificial intelligence

Today, Artificial Intelligence is used in various industries and segments of society.

Some of the most common applications of AI are:


Large e-commerce sites use AI to provide a better experience for consumers, with actions such as:

  • Identify user preferences based on their behavior;
  • Recommendations according to consumption habits:
  • Use of service systems.

These actions aim to make e-commerce platforms more efficient and focused on user experience (UX) at all stages of the purchase journey.


Another industry that has been greatly impacted by the use of Artificial Intelligence is entertainment.

Companies like Netflix and other video, audio and game streaming services use this technology to improve the recommendation system for users and improve the experience on the platform.

Auto Industry

The development of autonomous vehicles by companies such as Tesla, Uber and Google is based on the application of Artificial Intelligence, especially Deep Learning. Tests have already been successful and driverless cars should soon be a reality in countries like the United States.

It is worth noting that the use of drones is based on the same technology.

Internet, social networks and apps

AI is also present on our smartphones, computers, search engines and the social networks we use.

The Google Photos application, for example, is able to identify not only objects and people, but also specific situations. Thus, the app categorizes the photos and automatically creates themed videos and presentations.

Another service from the company that uses Artificial Intelligence is Google Translate. Through neural networks, the application is already much less literal and even manages to understand nuances of the language. And Machine Learning makes the system more accurate as you use it.

Finally, another example of AI on the internet is social networks and the identification of people in images or even the automatic removal of inappropriate content, as in Facebook.


The logistics sector is another one that already benefits from Artificial Intelligence. Through data analysis and real-time forecasting, companies in this segment are able to reduce costs and deadlines, and add value to their businesses.

One example is the use of AI to identify delivery routes with less traffic, thus reducing delivery time and fleet fuel consumption .

predictive maintenance

Another use of intelligent machines is in the detection of anomalies in different areas in order to improve preventive maintenance of works, vehicles, devices, etc.

Through historical data and sensors, AI helps identify anomalies and indicate when to perform maintenance on commercial and cargo planes.

Thus, in addition to more security, it is possible to extend the useful life of these assets.


The Health area also already uses AI solutions to optimize some services. Reading exams, analyzing data to identify diseases and even simpler diagnoses are done with the help of intelligent and autonomous systems.

industrial sector

This was one of the first sectors to implement Artificial Intelligence in their routine. The automation of different functions has increased productivity, providing greater quality and agility.

With the migration to Industry 4.0, technology must be even more present in factories, controlling not only production, but also logistical and even strategic processes.

AI in industries has been the focus of many debates around the world, as it is now necessary to rethink the role of many professionals in terms of automation.

It will be necessary to reallocate the workforce, especially those of a mechanical and repetitive nature, to positions that require uniquely human characteristics, such as empathy, critical judgment and creativity.

How are companies using Artificial Intelligence as a competitive advantage?

As we mentioned, Artificial Intelligence is present in many sectors and industries.

After all, it can optimize time, save resources and assist in decision making in companies through insights based on the interpretation of data in real time.

Below, we separate 3 benefits of using Artificial Intelligence as a competitive advantage:

1. Automation

One of the clearest benefits of AI is the automation of repetitive and/or bulky processes .

From the processing of data from a company’s employees by the Human Resources sector to automation in a factory’s production line, Artificial Intelligence can be used to optimize processes, improve productivity and business performance.

2. Data interpretation

If Big Data already gave companies an extremely advantageous analytical capacity, AI deepens the ability to interpret data and generates more intelligence from these analyzes .

In this way, even if the competition uses similar methods, the company can benefit from identifying patterns and reading its own strategic data to have new competitive insights.


The market is unpredictable and constantly changing. Through intelligent systems that analyze data in real time, companies are able to act with more predictability and have access to insights that allow them to define their performance.

Predictive analysis allows companies to identify the most likely situations in the market and the most advantageous opportunities, favoring strategic decision-making.

And it’s not just for the market: AI systems can help identify patterns and predict consumer behavior . Thus, the company has concrete data at hand to develop new actions.

Also Read What Are The Dangers Of Artificial Intelligence To Humans?

General artificial intelligence statistics you need to know

  • More than 9 out of 10 leading companies have ongoing investment in artificial intelligence – NewVantage, 2020
  • The number of companies adopting artificial intelligence has grown by 270% in four years – Gartner, 2019
  • By 2021, increased use of AI in businesses will create $2.9 trillion of business value and 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity – Semrush
  • Nearly 1 in 4 sales teams use artificial intelligence in their daily work – Salesforce, 2019
  • 44% of organizations reported cost savings as a result of implementing AI – Mckinsey, 2019
  • More than 3 in 4 companies say it’s important for them to be able to trust AI analysis, results and recommendations – IBM, 2019
  • 77% of the devices we use already feature a form of AI – Techjury
  • AI can increase business productivity by up to 40% – Accenture

What to Expect for the Future of Artificial Intelligence

What to Expect for the Future of Artificial Intelligence

The future of Artificial Intelligence points to a technology that is used with increasing transparency and ethics . This goes through legislation that regulates the use of technology and what can be done with the data.

Once this ethical and legal level is reached, AI will have free space to develop further and make productive activities perform at the highest level.

This invariably includes the elimination of jobs and the need to rethink the performance of many professionals.

Finally, Artificial Intelligence will continue to revolutionize the forms of consumption and interaction with brands and all human relationships.

In this sense, Industry 4.0 and the popularization of the Internet of Things (IoT) are the most palpable innovations in AI at the moment.


Artificial Intelligence has the most diverse applications and, today, there is constant contact with this technology.

From the use of language translation applications on our smartphones to the prediction of scenarios and opportunities in large companies, AI is already part of the routine and tends to gain even more prominence.

Therefore, understanding how it works and understanding its ethical and legal limits is fundamental to understanding how to make the best possible use of its potential.


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