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Artificial Intelligence: What Is It and Why It Matters

By Sunita Arnold, Mar 27, 2024

3D letters 'AI' standing on a circuit board, representing artificial intelligence technology and its integration with modern computing.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not just a futuristic concept; it’s a present reality transforming industries and our daily lives. From machines that understand our commands to those that can empathize with our needs, AI is revolutionizing the way we interact with technology. As a leading pre-IPO investment platform, Linqto recognizes the profound impact of AI and its potential for growth. In this article, we will delve into what artificial intelligence is, its historical evolution, current applications, and future potential. We will also explore how AI trends are shaping various sectors and what opportunities lie ahead for accredited investors.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence in machines programmed to think and learn like humans. AI systems can analyze data, recognize patterns, and make decisions, enhancing our ability to solve complex problems.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) enables machines to think and learn like humans. It involves creating systems that can:

  • Analyze Data: AI systems process vast amounts of structured data to identify patterns and make decisions.
  • Learn from Experience: Similar to humans, AI can adapt and improve based on past experiences.
  • Solve Problems: AI uses its understanding to tackle challenges that traditional computer programs cannot.

As John McCarthy, Computer Science Professor at Stanford University, aptly put it, “AI is the science of making machines do things that would require intelligence if done by humans”​ (Oracle Blogs)​.

Applications of AI:

  • Healthcare: AI aids in early disease diagnosis and personalized treatment plans.
  • Finance: AI enhances fraud detection and improves decision-making in investments. For more insights, see how AI is impacting the job market.
  • Transportation: Self-driving cars navigate city streets safely using AI.
  • Entertainment: AI composes music and creates content that resonates with audiences.

For a deeper understanding of how AI is transforming various sectors, explore ways AI impacts our daily lives and how to invest in AI.

Types of Artificial Intelligence

As we explore the fascinating world of artificial intelligence, it’s important to understand that AI is not a monolithic entity. Instead, it comes in various forms, each with its own unique characteristics and capabilities, born from decades of AI research by pioneering computer science experts. According to Simplilearn, AI can be categorized based on capabilities, functionalities, and the technologies they employ, such as machine learning and deep neural networks. Let’s explore these different types of AI.

AI Based on Capabilities

Narrow AI (Weak AI):

Focuses on a single task or limited set of functions within a predefined scope (e.g., email spam filters, virtual assistants, game-playing programs). These systems often rely on machine learning and AI training processes to refine their performance. This type of AI is prevalent in today’s applications, performing tasks without human-like understanding.

AI is the science of making machines do things that would require intelligence if done by humans

John McCarthy

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI or Strong AI):

Can perform any intellectual task that a human can, possessing the ability to understand, learn, and apply knowledge across various domains (e.g., writing novels, composing music, solving complex mathematical problems). AGI aims to replicate human intelligence, a goal that has driven researchers since the early days of AI research. According to McKinsey, achieving AGI could revolutionize industries by automating complex tasks that require human intelligence​ (McKinsey & Company)​.

Superintelligent AI:

Surpasses human intelligence in virtually all domains, with the capacity to learn, reason, and make decisions at a level far beyond human capabilities. This is a hypothetical concept often discussed in theoretical and ethical contexts. Experts warn that superintelligent AI could pose significant risks if not properly controlled​ (AI Index)​.

AI Based on Functionality

Reactive MachinesRespond to specific inputs or stimuli in real-time without relying on memory or past experiences; follow predefined rules and do not have the ability to learn or adapt.Basic chatbots, industrial robots designed for specific tasks
Limited MemoryCan learn from historical data and use past experiences to inform current decisions and actions; typically short-term and focused on a specific task.Self-driving cars, personal assistants that learn user preferences, fraud detection systems
Theory of MindCan understand and interpret the mental states, beliefs, and intentions of other intelligent entities; capable of engaging in social interactions and exhibiting empathy. A hypothetical system that can provide personalized mental health support or engage in complex negotiations
Self-AwarePossesses consciousness, self-awareness, and the ability to understand its own existence; has subjective experiences and can reflect on its own thoughts and actions.A hypothetical system that can contemplate its own purpose, develop its own goals, and make autonomous decisions

AI Based on Technologies

Machine Learning:

Subset of AI that involves the development of algorithms and statistical models, enabling systems to learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. This technology is used in recommendation systems, credit scoring models, and predictive maintenance systems. According to Analytics Vidhya, modular AI frameworks are becoming more popular, allowing businesses to tailor AI solutions to their specific needs​ (Analytics Vidhya)​. Learn more about how AI impacts daily life here.

Deep Learning:

Advanced form of machine learning inspired by the structure and function of the human brain. It utilizes artificial neural networks with multiple layers to process and learn from vast amounts of data, achieving breakthroughs in image and speech recognition, natural language processing (NLP), and autonomous systems. Deep neural networks are integral to modern AI systems, enabling capabilities like facial recognition and self-driving cars​ (AI Index)​.

Natural Language Processing:

Focuses on enabling computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language. Employed in language translation, sentiment analysis, text summarization, and chatbots, NLP allows machines to interact with humans using natural language. Examples include machine translation tools and voice-controlled smart home devices.


Involves the development of intelligent machines that can perform tasks autonomously or with minimal human intervention. Combining AI with advanced sensors and actuators, robots can perceive, make decisions, and control actions. Applications include industrial robots, humanoid robots, autonomous drones, and robotic surgeons.

Discover how AI is influencing our everyday lives

Computer Vision:

Technology that allows computers to interpret and understand visual information from the world. It encompasses AI techniques such as image recognition, object detection, and facial recognition. This technology is used in self-driving cars, medical imaging analysis, and surveillance systems. Explore AI trends to see how computer vision is evolving.

Expert Systems:

AI programs that emulate the decision-making ability of a human expert in a specific domain. Using a knowledge base and a set of rules, these systems provide advice, diagnose problems, or make decisions. Examples include medical diagnosis systems, financial risk assessment tools, and manufacturing process optimization software.

These different types of AI showcase the diverse ways in which artificial intelligence can be applied to solve problems, automate tasks, and enhance human capabilities. According to PwC, integrating generative AI into business operations can lead to significant productivity gains and new business models​ (PwC)​. Discover how AI plays a pivotal role in private equity.

A Brief History of Artificial Intelligence 

The journey of artificial intelligence (AI) began in the mid-20th century with Alan Turing’s seminal work, proposing the Turing Test to evaluate machine intelligence. The introduction of neural networks in the 1980s enabled machines to learn and adapt, mimicking the human brain’s processes. The 21st century has seen transformative advancements, particularly with large language models (LLMs) like GPT-4o and deep learning techniques driving breakthroughs in natural language processing, computer vision, and autonomous systems. Today, AI is integral to numerous industries, with 73% of US companies adopting AI technologies to enhance operations and innovation​ (McKinsey & Company)​​ (PwC)​.

How Does AI Work? Unpacking AI’s Core Mechanics

Let’s peel back the layers to uncover the engine driving AI’s intelligence, focusing on aspects that haven’t been highlighted yet.

  • Feature Extraction: Before AI can learn or make decisions, it needs to understand the data it’s working with. This is where feature extraction comes in. It’s a process where AI identifies key elements from raw data—like distinguishing a dog’s features from a photo—laying the groundwork for further analysis or learning.
  • Algorithm Optimization: AI doesn’t just use algorithms; it optimizes them. Through a process called optimization, artificial intelligence systems fine-tune their internal settings to improve performance. Think of it as an artificial intelligence continually tweaking its approach to get better at predicting the weather or playing a video game.
  • Reinforcement Learning: Beyond just learning from data, there’s reinforcement learning, where AI learns through trial and error, much like we do. It makes decisions, observes the outcomes, and adjusts its strategies based on rewards or penalties. This method is key for artificial intelligence systems that need to navigate dynamic environments or complex problems where the right actions aren’t always clear.
  • Transfer Learning: Imagine not having to learn everything from scratch. That’s what transfer learning is for artificial intelligence. It allows a machine learning model trained in one area (like recognizing cars in images) to apply its knowledge to a different but related task (like identifying trucks). This not only speeds up the learning process but also makes AI more adaptable.
  • Explainable AI: As artificial intelligence systems get more complex, understanding how they make decisions becomes crucial. Explainable AI focuses on making AI’s decision-making process clear and understandable to humans. This transparency is vital for trust and accountability, especially in critical applications like healthcare or finance.
  • Ethical AI : Lastly, there’s a growing emphasis on ethical AI, which involves designing and using artificial intelligence systems in a way that respects ethical standards and societal values. This includes ensuring privacy, fairness, and non-discrimination in AI applications, guiding AI development towards positive impacts while mitigating risks and potential human error.

By diving into these facets, we get a fuller picture of how AI works, not just in terms of its technical capabilities but also in how it integrates into our world responsibly and transparently. This exploration offers a nuanced understanding of AI’s mechanics, emphasizing the importance of both its intelligent functions and its alignment with ethical standards.

Advantages & Challenges of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) offers numerous advantages, including improved efficiency, enhanced decision-making, and the ability to automate complex tasks. AI systems can analyze large datasets to uncover insights, optimize processes, and provide personalized experiences. However, AI also presents several challenges such as bias, transparency, security concerns, and ethical considerations. Addressing these challenges is crucial to ensure the responsible development and deployment of AI technologies. For more detailed insights, explore the advantages of AI and the challenges of AI.

Ready to take advantage of the transformative power of AI?

Examples of AI Technology and How It is Used Today 

From simple everyday tasks to complex scientific and business challenges, AI technology is being adopted across various sectors. Let’s explore some examples and discover how AI is impacting our world.

AI TechnologyDescriptionExample
Smart Home Devices
AI-powered devices that enhance home efficiency and comfort through automation and voice commands.
Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, Apple’s HomePod
Self-Driving CarsAI-driven vehicles that navigate roads and recognize signals without human intervention.Tesla, Waymo
Recommendation SystemsAI systems that analyze user preferences to provide personalized content suggestions.Netflix, Spotify
Predictive Text and Voice RecognitionAI technologies that enhance digital communication by anticipating user inputs.Google Search, smartphone dictation
Social Media AlgorithmsAI algorithms that curate personalized content feeds based on user interests.TikTok, Instagram

AI and Investing: Opportunities for Accredited Investors

For accredited investors, AI presents significant opportunities for portfolio diversification and growth. Investing in AI companies can offer exposure to cutting-edge technologies that are reshaping various industries.

  • VC Firms Investing in AI: Venture capital firms are increasingly funding AI startups, recognizing the potential for high returns. Explore how VC firms are investing in AI to understand the landscape and identify promising investment opportunities.
  • How to Invest in AI: Accredited investors can leverage platforms like Linqto to invest in AI companies before they go public. Learn how to invest in AI to capitalize on the growth potential of this transformative technology.

These examples are just a glimpse into the vast potential of AI in transforming industries and daily life. For accredited investors, AI offers promising opportunities to enhance investment portfolios. By understanding and leveraging AI’s capabilities, investors can position themselves at the forefront of technological innovation and market growth.

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The Future of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As we stand at the precipice of a new era in AI, the future is not just about the advancements in technology, but about how we navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with it. The AI landscape is evolving rapidly, with AI trends like multimodal AI, smaller language models, and increased accessibility shaping the direction of the field.

Human-AI Collaboration: Seamless human-AI collaboration will become the norm, with powerful virtual agents assisting us in a wide range of tasks, augmenting human capabilities and helping us tackle complex problems more efficiently. According to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, “AI will profoundly impact our lives by enhancing our ability to solve complex challenges”​ (McKinsey & Company)​.

Personalized AI: AI will adapt to individual users’ needs and preferences, with advances in natural language processing and multimodal AI enabling more natural and intuitive interactions. Personalized AI will provide tailored recommendations across various domains, enhancing user satisfaction and engagement. Gartner reports that personalized AI can increase user engagement by up to 30%​ (PwC)​.

Ethics and Regulation: As AI becomes more influential and accessible, robust ethical guidelines and regulatory frameworks will be crucial to address potential misuse, such as deepfakes, bias, and privacy violations. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, emphasizes, “Ensuring the ethical use of AI is essential to build trust and accountability in technology” .

Democratization of AI : Open-source models and techniques like Low Rank Adaption (LoRA), quantization, and Direct Preference Optimization (DPO) will make AI more accessible to a wider range of individuals and organizations. This democratization will empower startups, researchers, and hobbyists to innovate across various industries, driving economic growth and technological advancement. OpenAI’s initiatives are a prime example of this trend .

Advanced Natural Language Processing: Advancements in NLP and more efficient, explainable, and accessible language models will enable sophisticated virtual agents, improved translation, and AI-generated content nearly indistinguishable from human-created content. Research from Stanford University highlights the potential of NLP to revolutionize communication and information processing .

Reference: IBM (2024). The most important AI trends in 2024

Harnessing the Power of AI for a Better Tomorrow

The story of AI is a journey of human curiosity and innovation, from early symbolic AI to advanced machine learning and neural networks. AI’s impact spans personalized recommendations, smart home devices, self-driving cars, and advanced healthcare.

AI will profoundly impact our lives by enhancing our ability to solve complex challenges

Sundar Pichai

However, AI’s benefits come with challenges like bias, transparency, privacy, and ethical use, requiring careful attention. It’s crucial to develop and deploy AI systems that align with our values.

As we enter a new AI era, navigating opportunities and challenges is key. Democratizing AI, along with advancements in multimodal AI and natural language processing, empowers individuals and organizations. Ensuring robust ethical guidelines and regulatory frameworks is essential. By fostering human-AI collaboration and developing personalized AI solutions, we can create a future where AI benefits everyone.

Have thoughts or experiences to share on this topic? Dive into the discussion and leave your insights in the comments section below!

This material, provided by Linqto, is for informational purposes only and is not intended as investment advice or any form of professional guidance. Before making any investment decision, especially in the dynamic field of private markets, it is recommended that you seek advice from professional advisors. The information contained herein does not imply endorsement of any third parties or investment opportunities mentioned. Our market views and investment insights are subject to change and may not always reflect the most current developments. No assumption should be made regarding the profitability of any securities, sectors, or markets discussed. Past performance is not indicative of future results, and investing in private markets involves unique risks, including the potential for loss. Historical and hypothetical performance figures are provided to illustrate possible market behaviors and should not be relied upon as predictions of future performance.


  • Jann

    AI is intriguing. My concern is how easy it would be to creat an army of warrors. You give them/it a specific attitude about whatever or whomever you want. Then we have a Holocast type pandemic that is world encompassing. How long after do the AI’s realize we are no longer needed and must be removed. Poof, people are a footnote in history.

    There must be a “kill code” or a “back door” something that the AI is not aware of to safegaurd humanilty. Something that your regular “Joe citizen” can use.

    Overall this is an exciting concept, used correctly has potential to elevate the human experience.

    • Ophelia

      This makes me think of the movie, Terminator,” how the machines had a mind of their own. Man is going in a direction that the shouldn’t go in. I do understand the concept but the concept can be or get dangerous 😳

  • Carol

    Many aspects of Ai are very interesting and shows us that anything is possible to input into a computer, robot, or any other form of technology, so how can we ensure this to be SAFE , if this kind of brain machine is some how taken over by a cyber attack as we all know has once took over our largest collection of hospital , medical reports, ect … Them what would happen , we would all be controlled by a AI system!! The way we live our life’s and learn should be from human resources and NOT intelligence , it could all go wrong , that’s my opinion cheers for reading 👍

  • Michael Commodore

    AI is the worst development designed to help man . This technology will speed up the destruction of mankind . History has proven , man cannot control his aversion to evil , AI will prove that there are many of us that are just plain evil !!!!

  • Ezendukaku Daniel

    AI is good it saves time and energy
    All support for AI

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Sunita Arnold

Sunita Arnold

As Director of Content Strategy at Linqto, Sunita deftly merges creative and strategic planning. Guiding a talented team, she aligns content with marketing objectives to deliver compelling, brand-consistent materials. Her diverse 15+ year career spans fintech, healthcare, and public relations, with highlights including managing investor relations for an alternate investment platform, steering business development in a leading PR firm's sports and entertainment sectors, and overseeing operations for a wealth management data service. Her past achievements include significantly contributing to the growth and efficiency of a top global fund administrator. Keeping pace with industry trends, Sunita applies her strategic acumen and market insight to advance Linqto's content strategy.