Glossary of AI Terms Expanded: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding AI

Wed Aug 30 2023

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving field, making it challenging to keep up with its terminology. I present a comprehensive glossary of AI terms for those interested in grasping the world of AI. Consider this your quick guide to understanding the language of AI but with a bit more depth than your standard dictionary.


What it Usually Means: A class of microprocessors designed to accelerate AI applications.

Expanded Explanation: Accelerators are specialized hardware chips, often working in tandem with CPUs and GPUs, designed to speed up the calculations required for machine learning and AI tasks. They improve performance, reduce latency, and can make operations more energy-efficient.


What it Usually Means: Software that performs tasks independently and proactively without human intervention.

Expanded Explanation: Agents are programmed to operate autonomously, making decisions based on pre-set rules or machine learning algorithms. They can vary from simple, rule-based bots like web crawlers to complex machine-learning models that can adapt and learn from their environment.

AGI (Artificial General Intelligence)

What it Usually Means: AI that's as capable as a human at any intellectual task.

Expanded Explanation: Unlike narrow AI, which is designed for specific tasks like language translation or image recognition, AGI aims to replicate the general problem-solving abilities of humans. The pursuit of AGI is considered the 'holy grail' of AI research, but it remains a largely theoretical concept at this point.


What it Usually Means: Ensuring the goals of an AI system align with human values.

Expanded Explanation: AI alignment is about ensuring that an AI system's objectives are configured in a safe, ethical, and beneficial way for humans. The challenge is to predict and mitigate unintended consequences, especially as AI systems become more autonomous and complex.

ASI (Artificial Super Intelligence)

What it Usually Means: AI that surpasses human intellectual capabilities.

Expanded Explanation: If AGI represents human-level intelligence, ASI would be a form of AI that outperforms humans in nearly every conceivable way — from creativity and social intelligence to problem-solving abilities. The ethical and existential implications of achieving ASI are a subject of ongoing debate.


What it Usually Means: This mechanism helps neural networks focus on relevant input parts.

Expanded Explanation: In neural networks, attention mechanisms help the model prioritize certain aspects of the input data. For example, an attention mechanism could help the model focus on subject keywords to understand context better in natural language processing.

Back Propagation

What it Usually Means: An algorithm for training neural networks.

Expanded Explanation: Backpropagation is a core algorithm in machine learning that calculates the gradient of the loss function, allowing the model to adjust its internal parameters. This is crucial for the learning process as it minimizes errors by fine-tuning the weights and biases in the network.


What it Usually Means: Assumptions made by an AI model about the data.

Expanded Explanation: AI bias can be intentional (e.g., simplifying assumptions for computational efficiency) and unintentional (e.g., replicating societal prejudices found in the training data). Understanding and mitigating bias is crucial for ethical and accurate model deployment.

Chain of Thought

What it Usually Means: The sequence of reasoning steps an AI model uses to arrive at a decision.

Expanded Explanation: In complex AI systems like neural networks, the "chain of thought" refers to the series of calculations and logic steps the model goes through to produce an output. This is especially important in areas like medical diagnosis or financial analysis, where understanding the reasoning behind decisions is critical.

I hope you found this expanded glossary helpful.

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