Artificial Intelligence, or AI, refers broadly to any technology or system that can reason and/or adapt, sometimes on its own, to achieve certain goals. For example, predictive text on a smartphone guesses what you will write next, or a robot that can analyse what’s around it and then make decisions to act within its environment autonomously.
AI-based systems can be based purely in the virtual world with things like voice assistants (e.g. Siri or Google Home), image analysis tools, search engines, and technology that can recognise speech and faces.
AI can also be embedded in hardware, or objects in the physical world around us such as advanced robots, self-driving cars, drones, or devices connected to the Internet of Things.
Within AI, generative AI refers specifically to a type of AI where applications are trained to learn from data to improve at performing certain tasks such that it can create content like text, code, images, video and audio based on the vast amounts of data that the AI has been trained on. Generative AI (exemplified here but nor endorsed by King's) includes:
Microsoft Bing Chat, ChatGPT, Google Bard, Claude. These are AI systems that can generate human-like text by predicting probable next words after being given a prompt. Writing prompts accurately and in order to fine tune outputs is referred to as ‘prompt engineering’.
These tools are NOT databases of knowledge. They ’predict’ combinations of plausible words; they should never be used instead of, but may be used alongside, conventional approaches to sourcing information.
Please note that Microsoft Bing Chat is available to all King's students with your KCL Microsoft log in credentials. Make sure you are logged into your KCL account and switch ‘safe search’ to ‘moderate’ to use it.
Other media and code generation
DALL-E, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion are examples of AI systems that create images from text prompts by analysing vast datasets of image-text pairs and producing novel images.
Descript and Murf.ai are examples of AI tools that can generate human-like audio narration and conversation from text.
GitHub Copilot and TabNine are examples of AI coding assistants that suggest completions for code based on analysing large codebases. These are but a few of the thousands of tools available.
Please note that there are ongoing controversies and challenges across the globe about use of text and images generated by AI, with many arguing that these breach copyright rules.