What is Artificial Intelligence?

In the field of artificial intelligence (AI), computer science is being leveraged to create intelligent machines that more closely resemble humans in their functions. Having access to abundant knowledge, including categories, properties, and relationships between various information sets is the basis of the knowledge engineering that allows computers to simulate human perception, learning, and decision-making. For example, machine learning is a subset of AI that refers to computers programmed with algorithms that respond to new inputs after being trained on a different learning data set, resulting in their ability to act and react without being explicitly programmed to do so. Neural networks is a significant area of AI research currently proving to be valuable for more natural user interfaces through voice recognition and natural language processing, allowing humans to interact with machines similarly to how they interact with each other. By design, neural networks model the biological function of animal brains to interpret and react to specific inputs such as words and tone of voice. As the underlying technologies continue to develop, AI has the potential to enhance online learning, adaptive learning software, and simulations in ways that more intuitively respond to and engage with students.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • AI can profit from the huge collection of metadata and data in library Systems and digitized collections, if we give them free trough open data mechanisms - andreas.kirstein andreas.kirstein Oct 19, 2016
  • If Watson can be programmed and fed information to win at Jeopardy, we should be able to feed it the wealth of information from catalogs, journals, etc. and it could perform reference assistance. It would be available 24x7. - dianeb dianeb Oct 23, 2016
  • It will be relevant because of the impact it will have on the way our community members find information (see #3 below) and in turn academic libraries will need to leverage AI to personalize research services for students and faculty. I would describe it as "The Library That Learns You" - how we might use AI to customize and automate research services to reach more students and to help them be academically successful. See this video: - bells bells Oct 26, 2016
  • I think all the points above are relevant, but it is worth noting that should AI be used to tailor searches and reference services to the patron, is the technology to a place yet where the seemingly tangentially related item - yet actually extremely valuable - gets pulled into the AI network? Moreover, is the data that is available to AI good enough to return the best information? - shorisyl shorisyl Oct 27, 2016
  • I think AI has the potential to revolutionise the process of reading and analysing for a literature review. Coupling AI with linked data and big data sets available via digitized journal databases as well as altmetrics could expand the breadth and depth of relevant and cited sources that can be rapidly identified for a literature review, turning it into a more automated process. - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Nov 8, 2016 - erik.stattin erik.stattin Nov 13, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I think the provided description is more than adequate. If anything, in that last sentence, I would add something about the ability to find information for people and adapt to their information needs to become more personalized. Another possibility is to add some information around the issue of algorithms and that they could be developed with certain biases or purposes that are not obvious to the users (e.g., weighting some information sources more than others)- bells bells Oct 26, 2016
  • Some caution around the accuracy and quality of the underlying data that AI uses as learning sets is needed. Additionally, the biases inherent in algorithms should be mentioned as a point of evaluation as AI becomes less a creature-comfort service (i.e. Alexa, Nest) and more a decision-making tool. - shorisyl shorisyl Oct 27, 2016 - kristi-thompson kristi-thompson Nov 13, 2016
  • It is important to reference the potential for bias in algorithmic filtering and personalization.- mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Nov 8, 2016 - kristi-thompson kristi-thompson Nov 13, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • Impact as data Provider (short term) - andreas.kirstein andreas.kirstein Oct 19, 2016
  • Impact on our self driven Systems: enhance it with AI - andreas.kirstein andreas.kirstein Oct 19, 2016
  • Where I think it is most relevant to libraries is in how it will have a dramatic effect on how people find information. This is comparable in ways to where we were when search engines first surfaced and then when google became the go-to search engine. Prior to that we could expect students and faculty to invest the time to learn how to use research tools because that was the primary way to find information. Search engines completely changed expectations and behaviors, so that people would expect fast results with just a limited number of relevant results. The expectation was that all search systems should work this way. Now we have to work with students to get them to adopt different search/find behaviors that are more likely to lead to better research results. Imagine how tools like Siri and Google Now or Alexa will change student expectations. K-12 students are now growing up with these elementary forms of AI, but they are going to get better, more powerful, more intuitive and will learn about us. So I am thinking that AI is likely to be highly valued by the people who can take advantage of it to find information, but it will have a negative impact on libraries in the sense that people are more likely to depend on AI for information retrieval much the way they are likely to use internet search engines rather than library databases. Thus AI will challenge libraries to offer similar search approaches much the way that many library databases have morphed to be more search engine like.- bells bells Oct 26, 2016- Sandy.hirsh Sandy.hirsh Nov 13, 2016
  • Library staff will need to be able to assist students in identifying the bias in algorithms and expand their teaching and learning support into this space.- mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Nov 8, 2016 - kristi-thompson kristi-thompson Nov 13, 2016
  • AI may make efficient search and transcription of non text information objects possible (eg. video, images). In some areas of study where visual and moving image are critical this capacity could be relevant. This could lead to these types of collections and the associated data storage and metadata requirements a higher priority for libraries. - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Nov 8, 2016

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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