What are the four main types of artificial intelligence? Find out how future AI programs can change the world

What are the four main types of artificial intelligence?  Find out how future AI programs can change the world

In recent years, the rapid development of artificial intelligence has taken the world by storm, as many experts believe that machine learning technology will fundamentally change the way of life for all humans.

The general idea of ​​artificial intelligence is that it represents the ability to mimic human consciousness and therefore can perform tasks that only humans can do. Artificial intelligence has various uses, such as making the most optimal decisions in a game of chess, driving a family of four across the United States, or writing a 3,000 world essay for a college student.

Read below to understand the concepts and capabilities of the four categories of artificial intelligence.


  1. Reactive machines
  2. Limited memory
  3. theory of mind
  4. Self-awareness

1. Reactive machines

The most basic form of artificial intelligence is that of reactive machines, which react to an input with a simplistic output programmed into the machine. In this form of AI, the program does not actually learn a new concept or have the ability to make predictions based on a set of data. During this first stage of AI, reactive machines do not store inputs and therefore cannot use past decisions to inform current decisions.

The simplest type of artificial intelligence are reactive machines, which were used in the late 1990s to defeat the best chess players in the world. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)

Reactive machines best exemplify the first form of artificial intelligence. Reactive machines were able to beat the best chess players in the world in the late 1990s by making the most optimal decisions based on their opponent’s moves. The world was shocked when IBM chess player Deep Blue defeated chess grandmaster Guy Kasparov in their rematch in 1997.

Reactive machines have the ability to generate thousands of different possibilities in the present based on input; however, the AI ​​ignores all other forms of data in the present moment, and no real learning occurs. Either way, this programming paved the way for machine learning and introduced the unique power of artificial intelligence to the public for the first time.

2. Limited Memory

Limited memory has further increased the complexity and capabilities of machine learning computing. This form of artificial intelligence includes the concept of storing previous data and using it to make accurate predictions for the future. Through a series of trial and error efforts, limited memory allows the program to perfect tasks typically performed by humans, such as driving a car.


Memory-limited AI is trained by scientists to memorize a set of data before an environment is created in which it has the ability to correct errors and reinforce approved behaviors. The AI ​​then hones its ability to perform the task during the training phase by receiving feedback from human or environmental stimuli. This feedback is then reviewed and used to make better decisions in the future.

Elon Musk giving a speech

Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of Tesla, a leading autonomous vehicle company. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

A perfect example of limited-memory artificial intelligence is self-driving cars. The model looks at the speed and direction of other cars at the moment to make the best decisions on the road. The training phase of self-driving cars also takes into account traffic signals, road structures, lane markings and how human drivers act on the road. Companies like Tesla are paving the way for the large-scale production and commercialization of AI-controlled autonomous vehicles.

3. Theory of mind

Theory of mind AI systems are still being researched and developed by computer scientists and could represent the future of machine learning. The general concept of theory of mind is that an AI system will be able to react in real time to the emotions and mental characteristics of the human entity he encounters. Scientists hope AI can accomplish these tasks by understanding people’s emotions, beliefs, thinking, and needs.

This future AI system will need to have the ability to look beyond data and understand that humans often make decisions not based on purely solid logic or facts, but rather based on their mental state and their overall emotions. Therefore, machine learning will have to adjust its decisions and behavior based on the mental state of humans.


Hands of a robot and a human

The development of self-aware artificial intelligence is not possible with current technology, but would represent a massive achievement for the science of machine learning. (Cyberguy.com)

While it’s not possible right now, if theory of mind ever becomes a reality, it would be one of the biggest developments in artificial intelligence in decades.

4. Self-awareness

The last stage in the development of artificial intelligence is when the machine has the ability to become aware of itself and form its own identity. This form of AI is not possible at all today, but it has been used in sci-fi media for decades to scare and intrigue audiences. For self-aware AI to become possible, scientists will need to find a way to replicate consciousness in a machine.


The ability to map human consciousness is a goal far beyond simply plugging inputs into an AI program or using a data set to predict future outcomes. It represents the pinnacle of machine learning technology and can fundamentally change the way humans interact with themselves and the world.

The stages of AI (ANI, AGI, ASI)

Artificial Narrow Intelligence, or ANI, is the simplest form of AI, but also one of the most common types of machine learning in the daily lives of people around the world. Narrow intelligence machines are based on a learning algorithm designed to successfully complete a singular task and do not store information to complete different tasks. Tasks where narrow intelligence typically succeeds include language translation and image recognition. Products such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alex are examples of ANI.

Artificial General Intelligence, or AGI, describes a form of machine learning that simulates human cognitive systems by performing different takes. This form of AI is able to store information while completing and use this data to perfect its performance in future tasks. However, AGI is only a hypothetical form of AI and has yet to be invented. The ultimate goal of AGI would be to surpass human capabilities in performing complex tasks.

Super artificial intelligence is another example of AI that has yet to be invented but is rather a concept that describes the most advanced form of machine learning. ASI is a concept that envisions a future in which computer programs can simulate human thought and evolve beyond human cognitive capabilities. This stage of AI is considered science fiction, but could be possible decades from now, depending on how AI evolves.


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