Artificial intelligence (AI) is defined as the capability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks generally associated with and displayed by intelligent beings such as humans or animals. This term commonly refers to the creation of computer systems with human characteristics such as reasoning capability, the ability to discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience.
Leading AI textbooks define the field as the study of “intelligent agents”: any system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of achieving its goals.
Computers have demonstrated they can be programmed to perform very complex tasks with great proficiency since the advent of the digital computer in the 1940s. These tasks include discovering mathematical proofs and playing chess with great proficiency. The computer world is still not able to match human flexibility in a wide range of domains as well as in tasks requiring substantial everyday knowledge, despite advances in processing speed and memory. Nevertheless, as the digital era advances some computer programs have achieved human levels of performance for some specific tasks. For example, artificial intelligence is used in applications such as medical diagnosis, computer search engines, and voice or handwriting recognition.