Artificial intelligence

Understanding the Different Types of AI

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By Anna Ribas, on 4 July 2024

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is permeating every aspect of our lives. In the world of digital marketing, its expansion has been so profound that we can no longer imagine living without it. However, this technology is very broad and complex, often confusing those who try to understand or use it.

AI has evolved to the point where we can now find many types of AI, various uses, and it can even be confused with other terms such as machine learning or deep learning.

In this post, we aim to answer these questions so you can start to understand, on a very basic level, what AI is, the types of AI, and its most common uses.

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Understanding the Different Types of AI

Types of AI: A Beginner's Guide

Types of AI According to Russel and Norvig

Before delving deeper, it's important to have a basic and clear idea of what Artificial Intelligence is.

We can define AI as a technology capable of performing actions that typically require human intelligence. These actions include reasoning, learning, or perceiving the world in a specific way.

AI can "imitate" various human actions accurately, so we can make an initial classification of AI types based on their behavior.

This classification was created by Stuart Russel, a professor of computer science, and Peter Norvig, a computer scientist, and was presented in their book "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach."

Systems That Think Like Humans

AI systems that think like humans are designed to mimic mental processes such as theoretical problem solving, learning, reasoning, or making decisions just as a human would.

Systems That Act Like Humans

In this case, AI not only focuses on mental actions but also on performing tasks similarly to how a human would. This includes fields such as robotics.

Systems That Use Rational Logic

Russel and Norvig included AI systems trained to use deductive reasoning to solve problems logically.

Systems That Act Rationally

These AI systems are very similar to the previous ones but are capable of performing actions based on logical thinking.

Types of AI Based on Their Purpose

AI can also be classified based on the purpose for which it is used by humans. In this sense, we can identify two types of AI as outlined below.

Generative AI

Generative AI can create new and original content from the different materials it has been trained on.

This doesn't just refer to written content but also generated images, videos, sounds, and even code.

As such, this type of AI is often used as a tool for inspiration or support for experts in these areas.

Predictive AI

Predictive AI is designed to predict future events by analyzing a large amount of past data. It is very useful for companies as it allows them to make better strategic decisions and even anticipate their competition.

The Most Common Uses of Artificial Intelligence Today

Now that you know the types of AI based on their behavior and purpose, it's time to learn about the most common uses of this technology.

Specialized Systems

Although you may not be aware of it, AI accompanies us throughout the day if we work in specific sectors such as education, medicine, or logistics. Specialized systems are designed to perform expert human actions to streamline people's work.

AI-developed specialized systems include a wide range of software capable of:

  • Optimizing the supply chain.
  • Detecting security vulnerabilities.
  • Making more accurate medical diagnoses.
  • Managing inventory control, among many other things.

Artificial Neural Networks

Specialized systems are very useful in their fields but have the limitation that they cannot solve novel problems or perform actions beyond their programming. Artificial neural networks, commonly known as machine learning, address this limitation, and we will discuss them along with deep learning in the last section of this article.


AI is behind the field of robotics, which uses automatons or robots to perform certain human tasks. This shifts from AI-based platforms or tools to machines (sometimes human-shaped) designed to perform real-life actions typically done by people.

Differences Between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning

You have likely seen these three terms used interchangeably, often given the same meaning. However, although they are related, they have their differences.

Artificial Intelligence is a generic term that refers to technology capable of thinking and acting similarly to the way that a human would.

Machine Learning is a type of AI capable of learning from all the information it is trained on. Therefore, it goes beyond automatic actions or imitation.

Finally, Deep Learning is a more specialized subtype of Machine Learning capable of thinking and acting in a more complex manner.

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Anna Ribas