Tiny MBA #2: Artificial Intelligence And Dog Walking

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Welcome to today’s Tiny MBA topic: artificial intelligence.

Definition: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is the ability of computers to learn more and perhaps make better decisions than people can, by quickly processing far more data than people can.

Story: Walking A Million Dogs

Imagine walking a million dogs around your block all at once. Actually, let’s start with just one dog: yours.

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Illustration by Madeleine Kelly

Your dog isn’t as smart as you are. It doesn’t understand what it sees as well as you do. It just sniffs, looks, listens, and acts on instinct: e.g. see a squirrel, chase a squirrel.

Your dog doesn’t understand why flies buzz around fallen fruit, or why passing cars stop at stop signs. Because dogs don’t understand the world’s rules like you do (e.g. drivers get ticketed for running stop signs).

But if you could clone your dog and walk around the block with a million dogs at once, and they could compare notes, that would change.

Artificial intelligence is like walking around with a million dogs at once:

– They would see absolutely everything, including things you yourself don’t. With so many sets of noses sniffing and ears perked up, they collectively wouldn’t miss a thing.

– They’d start comparing what they’d seen with each other and finding patterns to draw conclusions from. More flies hover around rotted fruit the longer it’s been lying there. Drivers talking on their phones are less likely to obey stop signs. And so on.

– Over time, they’d figure out how the world works through these patterns. They’d understand the seasons. They’d understand how all types of animals (and insects) interact. They’d be able to predict who might fall off their bike.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is just like walking around with a million dogs. Computer processing power is almost infinite, so if you feed a group of computers (and the right software) enough data, its like those dogs. The software can get really smart really fast.

So whenever you hear ‘artificial intelligence,’ just think of a million dogs on their morning walk. It’s that simple!

Tiny MBA is my occasional series of short stories illustrating business concepts for kids.

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