Artificial Intelligence (or AI for short) has three main components, sensing, computing and connectivity. FAU is incorporating all of these into engineering, medical and other areas of research and education.

Sensors measure information about physical and sometimes virtual environments.

Computing leverages advancements in hardware, software, and algorithm design to solve increasingly complex tasks.

Connectivity aggregates the power of individual devices to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Machine learning algorithms identify patterns, trends, and rules that are too complex for humans to see. But since machines do not learn like humans, these algorithms require a large amount of data to use as learning examples. Sensor systems are among the most useful data sources in constructing these examples.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence mimics aspects of human intelligence, like learning. It is generated by giving computers step-by-step instructions known as algorithms. AI can take a digital form, like a chatbot, or engineers can combine it with robotics, sensors and wireless communication to create things like self-driving cars or package-delivering drones.

FAU already has significant expertise in place. Research at the Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE), for example, focuses on sensing the environment and interpreting that data with AI — the sort of technology that could enable self-driving cars to detect road conditions and navigate safely. Meanwhile, researchers in the college and across the university are developing and applying AI in many ways, even exploring its ethical implications.

The university is implementing new degree options for students, including a Master of Science with a major in AI, the first such degree in the state; a multidisciplinary Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics; and a joint degree that funnels students from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College to a Master of Science in Data Science.

Compared to its inspiration, the human brain, state-of-the-art AI’s capabilities are limited. The technology’s greatest potential arises when used within autonomous machines that work together — like self-driving cars optimizing traffic flow, or a swarm of drones re-establishing a wireless network after a disaster.

In addition, FAU’s Wimberly Library will soon be home to The Rubin and Cindy Gruber Sandbox, a 3,400 square-foot state-of-the-art artificial intelligence lab. To learn more about it, click here.

How will AI affect me?

AI is being referred to as the fourth industrial revolution because of the impact it will have on our daily lives ranging from medical to defense, communication and traffic. Examples include sensors that determine when your lawn needs water or fertilizer, thus helping conserve a dwindling fresh water supply. Traffic light sensors will communicate with cars … and cars will communicate with other cars, resulting in fewer accidents and less traffic congestion that improves your daily commute. You will soon be able to communicate from anywhere including underwater, underground and even in space.

Questions about AI

Will AI cost people their jobs?
While some jobs will be replaced by technology, others will be created. AI is most beneficial as an augment to existing jobs vs a replacement to human beings.
Where is AI being used most?
AI is being used in navigation apps like Google Maps, as well as in digital assistants like Apple’s SIRI and Amazon’s ALEXA. The AI is programmed with a database then “learns” as it is used.
What are the advantages of AI?
AI devices make fewer errors than humans. In some cases, where the task is repetitive, the error rate is exceptionally low. AI takes less time to search billions of options (seconds or minutes compared to years or not possible).