ryan blackfoot in  
Product Manager  

Can somebody explain to me how AI works like I am a 5 year old?

I have been pulling my hair trying to understand how AI works. With some very basic understanding of the math behind it, I know it's all linear equations and such. Math is not the question here as I am not trying to solve math. What's really bothering me is how you teach a computer to self-learn. I mean, developers write code so that computers can follow these instructions, right? How does a computer go from "follow instructions" to "think, learn an now generate content"? What kind of instructions do you write code so that they can learn???

Trying to get an answer from people around me, but haven't been able to find a convincing answer.

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MLE3760ML / AI  
AI is basically just a fancy parametric function. For example, a simple linear function is of the shape f(x) =k * x + n. Notice that in this function, only x is a variable that you put in. k and n are some fixed numbers, called parameters. The only difference is that most modern AI models have billions of such parameters.

Now the way AI learns is it just takes some random initial parameters and gives an output for a certain input. For example, you give it an unfinished sentence, and it guesses the next word. Because the parameters were random, the output is probably garbage. BUT, and this is very important, the AI can calculate exactly how wrong it was. And from this, it can calculate how it should change its own parameters so that, if it were asked the same question again, it would give the correct answer.

The caveat here is that a set of parameters that works well for one specific problem (eg. completing one sentence) doesn't necessarily work well for another one. So AI usually sees hundreds of thousands, if not millions of different problems, and tunes it's own parameters slightly each time. The idea is that the final set of parameters will likely work pretty well for the vast majority of problems. Although there's really no guarantee (in a math sense) that it will. But that's another story.
bingmanSoftware Engineer  
what 5 year old understands what you just said?