What is Artificial Intelligence?

"For the present purpose the artificial intelligence problem is taken to be that of making a machine behave in ways that would be called intelligent if a human were so behaving"
John McCarthy, American computer scientist and cognitive scientist
who coined the term "artificial intellgience" in 1956

The Artificial Intelligence Lecture by Professor Hod Lipson given to students at the CREATIVE MACHINES LAB camp, Columbia 2017 is a FANTASTIC introduction to AI for children and adults alike!  *You may stop the lecture at approx. 8 minutes but you are welcome to enjoy the entire lecture!

Let's step back a moment, we have been using the words "Robot", "Robotics", "Artificial Intelligence (AI)", "Program" and "Programming" all over the place, WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

  • A ROBOT is a machine that does work by itself following rules programmed by a computer, it may or may not be an AI!
  • ROBOTICS is a branch of engineering that involves the conception, design, manufacture, and operation of robots.
  • ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE may or may not be a robot, and is programmed to think, work, react intelligently like humans.
  • A PROGRAM is a set of instructions that a computer can execute.
  • PROGRAMMING is the act of writing a program.

Think of it like a Venn Diagram!

Check out the references & resources section below for more details on the differences in terminology and a very cool info-graphic by Dell Technologies on AI vs Robotics vs Machine Learning to know more!


  1. What's the Difference Between Robotics and Artificial Intelligence? By Alex-Owen Hill, RobotIQ (2020)
  2. The Difference between AI, Machine Learning and Robotics. Dell Technologies (2017)


Here are additional resources for kids as an introduction to AI

  1. 5 Interesting AI Facts for Kids, HarperKids (2019)

Complete and Continue