Cognitive Software Group — What is AI?

Mark Bradley
7 min readMar 15, 2020

Chapter 1 — What AI is, and what it isn’t.

Since 2012, our Company has had a busy team of software engineers who are expert in research and development of Artificial Intelligence, “AI”, working to launch our AI workbench platform. Our researchers are led by a retired IBM Gold Consultant. Our developers are led by a former Development Manager of Macquarie Bank risk management sydtems.

Since 2013 a requirement of our researchers is that they have a PhD in a field related to AI. Our developers are highly competent senior developers. We only pick the best.

We are often asked “what exactly is AI?”.

Most experts have settled on a description of AI as being the scientific endeavour of building computers that mimic the capabilities of the human brain. No one who fundamentally understands AI is seriously arguing that we can build a computer that can match the intelligence of the human brain in the foreseeable future, if ever. Indeed, we still don’t know how the human brain works.

We all know that computers can do some things we humans can’t. Computers have beaten world champions of popular games including Chess, Jeopardy and Go. They can identify a person using facial recognition in fractions of a second.

But the gaming successes are examples of clever techniques devised by humans rather than a manifestation of intelligent computers. To achieve those successes, computers need a clever human-made mathematical formula called an algorithm and and lots of training managed by humans while they play the game up to a million times.

Computers can compare millions of images at phenomenal speed to seek a match based on the pattern of the pixels in the image, but they probably won’t know that what they are identifying is a human being or, indeed, what a human being is.

The ability to do these clever things is through the use of computer techniques broadly known as Machine Learning. So, what is that?

Machine Learning is a technique that is associated with AI, but is not AI. It has been very useful in helping human endeavors in image and sound processing, language translation and trend analysis.

It is clever, but it is not AI.



Mark Bradley

A science graduate of Uni of NSW, I joined IBM Australia in 1981 as a trainee Systems Engineer (software programmer), then management, then AI start-up founder!