AI vs Algorithms

There is a distinct difference between AI and an algorithm. Somehow I feel we’re missing this in the way it’s fashionable to suddenly claim everything is ‘driven by AI’.

An algorithm is a set of instructions that tells a computer what to do. It can be as simple as adding two numbers together or as complex as solving a difficult mathematical problem. An AI is a computer system that can learn and make decisions independently. It can do this by analyzing data and recognizing patterns or by using algorithms to make decisions.

‘What’s the Difference Between AI and Algorithm?’ by Koridor Inc

For me, the same incorrect distinction is made about ‘smart’ devices. I have a smart plug but it is not ‘smart’. It is connected – it is connected and I can give it an instruction to be on or off at a certain time. I can connect it to other plugs (via an app or voice assistant) and have them run a group action based on the same instruction. This is not smart, it is connected.

My TV is supposed to be smart too … but it hasn’t a clue what I’m in the mood for, it doesn’t suggest content based on where I’ve just come from, what the weather is, who I’ve been talking to, etc. It is merely connected and capable of connecting me to different services … which I have to choose and select for myself.

Somehow I feel we’re destined to stay in this in-between ground of not fully utilising either AI or algorithms until we start using the terminology correctly. I know it sells plugs, watches, fridges, TVs, kettles, etc, but they would still sell as well if we used the terms properly, and we’d still have room for true AI devices when they arrive.

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash