7 Main Types of AI: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Artificial Intelligence

Zeeshan Ali

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AI News

Artificial Intelligence is one of humankind’s most remarkable and intricate inventions so far. And that is because the field is still largely untapped, which means that every stunning AI application that we witness today is just a glimpse of the AI possibilities, as it were. While this fact has been repeated and emphasized countless times, it is still difficult to fully grasp the potential impact of types of AI in the future. The reason for this is the radical impact that AI is creating on society, even at such a relatively early phase in its development.

AI’s swift growth and formidable capabilities have made people fearful of the possibility and closeness of an AI takeover. Also, the transformation caused by AI in different industries has made business leaders, and the general public assume that we are near the summit of AI research and exhausting AI’s potential. However, comprehending the types of AI that are feasible and the types that exist now will provide a sharper picture of existing AI capabilities and the long journey ahead for AI research.

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Unleash the Power of AI: A Guide to the 7 Main Types of AI

Main Types of Artificial Intelligence
Main Types of Artificial Intelligence

AI research aims to make machines mimic human-like functioning, so the extent to which an AI system can imitate human capabilities is the standard for determining the types. Therefore, depending on how a machine matches up to humans regarding flexibility and performance, AI can be categorized into various kinds of AI.

In this system, an AI that can execute more human-like functions with similar skill levels will be regarded as a more advanced type of AI, while an AI with restricted functionality and performance will be considered a more straightforward and less advanced type. Using this standard, there are two ways in which AI is usually classified.

One way is by classifying AI and AI-powered machines based on their resemblance to the human mind and their capacity to “think” and maybe even “feel” like humans. According to this classification system, there are four types of AI or AI-based systems: reactive machines, limited memory machines, Theory of mind, and self-aware AI.

1. Reactive Machines

These are the most primitive AI systems with very restricted capabilities. They mimic the human mind’s ability to react to different types of stimuli. These machines do not have memory-based functionality. This means such devices cannot use past experiences to guide their current actions, i.e., these machines cannot “learn.”

These machines could only be used for instantly responding to a narrow set or combination of inputs. They cannot be used to depend on memory to enhance their operations based on the same. A famous example of a reactive AI machine is IBM’s Deep Blue, a device that defeated chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997.

2. Limited Memory

Limited memory machines are machines that, besides having the abilities of purely reactive machines, can also learn from past data to make choices. Almost all existing applications we know of fall under this type of AI.

All modern AI systems, such as those using deep learning, are trained by vast amounts of training data that they keep in their memory to create a reference model for solving future problems. For example, an image recognition AI is trained using thousands of images and their labels to teach it to identify objects it scans.

When an image is scanned by such an AI, it uses the training images as guides to comprehend the contents of the embodiment shown to it, and based on its “learning experience”, it labels new photos with more precision. Nearly all modern AI applications, from chatbots and virtual assistants to self-driving vehicles, are powered by limited-memory AI.

3. Theory of Mind

The previous two types of AI are common and widespread, but the following two types of AI are still, for now, either an idea or a work in progress. Theory of mind AI is the next stage of AI systems that researchers are actively working on creating.

A theory of mind-level AI will be able to interact with the entities it encounters by recognizing their needs, emotions, beliefs, and reasoning. While artificial emotional intelligence is already a flourishing industry and a field of interest for prominent AI researchers, attaining the Theory of mind level of AI will also demand progress in other areas of AI.

This is because to truly comprehend human needs, AI machines will have to view humans as individuals whose minds can be influenced by various factors, essentially “understanding” humans.

4. Self-aware

Self-aware AI is the final stage of AI development, where the machine surpasses the human brain in every aspect. It can not only comprehend and elicit emotions from others but also experience and express its own emotions, needs, beliefs, and desires. Many people dread This kind of AI because it could severely threaten humanity. If a self-aware AI decides to protect itself or pursue its own agenda, it could easily outsmart and overpower any human opponent and devise cunning plans to dominate or destroy mankind.

To avoid such a dystopian outcome, AI researchers use a different classification system to measure AI’s progress and potential. They divide AI into three categories: Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), and Artificial Superintelligence (ASI).

5. Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI)

All the AI that exists today, no matter how advanced or sophisticated, belongs to this type of artificial intelligence. Artificial narrow intelligence means AI systems that can only do one thing at a time, using human-like skills. These machines are limited by their programming and cannot go beyond their specific scope or domain. Based on the system of classification we mentioned earlier, these systems include all the reactive and limited memory AI. Even the most powerful AI that can learn from data and improve itself is still ANI.

6. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)

Artificial General Intelligence is the skill of an AI agent to mimic the human mind in all its aspects. These systems will be able to develop various abilities and make links and insights across fields, drastically reducing the time required for learning. The AI system will be as proficient as humans by copying our versatile capabilities.

7. Artificial Superintelligence (ASI)

Artificial Superintelligence (ASI) is the ultimate goal of AI research, as it will surpass all other forms of intelligence. ASI will not only emulate the complex intelligence of humans, but also excel at everything they do with its superior memory, speed, and reasoning.

The emergence of ASI and its precursor, Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), will create a situation known as the singularity. This may sound tempting, as we could benefit from such powerful machines, but they could also endanger our survival or our way of life. It is difficult to imagine how our world will change when more advanced types of AI are born.

However, we have a long journey ahead, as the current state of AI development is far from reaching its full potential. For those pessimistic about AI’s future, there is no need to panic about the singularity, and there is still time to ensure AI safety.

And for those who are hopeful about the future of AI, the fact that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg of AI development makes the end even more thrilling.


1. What is an AI model?

An AI model is a mathematical formula that helps us to forecast or choose outcomes. Some of the popular types of AI models are:

  • Decision trees: A model that splits the data into branches based on rules or criteria.
  • Linear regression: A model that finds the best straight line to fit the data points.
  • Logistic regression: A model that predicts the probability of something happening.
  • Neural networks: A model that mimics the structure and function of the human brain.

2. What are the 2 categories of AI?

AI can be divided into two major groups:

  1. Weak AI: Weak AI is a kind of AI that is limited to specific tasks. For instance, a weak AI can play chess or translate languages.
  2. Strong AI: Strong AI is a kind of AI that can do anything that a human can. It has the potential to transform many facets of our lives.

3. Who is the father of AI?

John McCarthy is the pioneer of AI. He is a computer scientist who invented “artificial intelligence” in 1955. McCarthy is also the creator of the first AI programming language, Lisp.



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