What is synthetic intelligence?

by Stephen M. Walker II, Co-Founder / CEO

What is synthetic intelligence?

Synthetic Intelligence (SI) is an alternative term for Artificial Intelligence (AI), emphasizing that the intelligence of machines can be a genuine form of intelligence, not just a simulation. The term "synthetic" refers to something produced by synthesis, combining parts to form a whole, often a human-made version of something that has arisen naturally.

The key difference between AI and SI is that AI often refers to simulated intelligence, while SI involves the creation of entirely synthetic intelligent systems that are not based on simulations. This distinction is similar to the difference between simulated diamonds and synthetic diamonds, where only the synthetic diamond is genuinely a diamond.

The term "synthetic AI" is now sometimes used by researchers in the field to separate their work, particularly those involving new methods to define and create "true" intelligence, from previous attempts, especially those of Good Old-Fashioned AI (GOFAI) or weak AI.

In the context of AI, synthetic intelligence encompasses the development and utilization of intelligences produced through engineered systems. Some researchers propose a paradigm of engineered synthetic intelligence as an alternative to artificial intelligence, where intelligence is pursued in a bottom-up way from systems of molecular and cellular elements.

Note: there's no universally agreed-upon definition of "real" intelligence as opposed to "simulated" intelligence, and opinions vary among researchers.

What are the goals of synthetic intelligence?

The primary objective of synthetic intelligence, also known as AI, is to develop autonomous machines capable of independent thought and action. This involves the creation of self-improving algorithms and systems capable of interacting with both humans and other machines.

Despite significant advancements in areas like machine learning and natural language processing, the journey to fully realize AI's potential is ongoing. Future applications of AI could range from solving complex problems and automating mundane tasks to pioneering new forms of art and entertainment.

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