Shells of Artificial Intelligence

So what does artificial intelligence look like?

What does artificial intelligence look like and how does it exist in the world around us?

A great way to get your head wrapped around how artificial intelligence is developing and becoming more a part of our lives is to understand The Shell of Artificial Intelligence. These shells are the casings we have put around artificial intelligence for us to interact with and are entirely separate from the AI itself. For example a robot, a smart phone, smart factory, sensor, a self-driving car or a drone are all examples of shells which we have placed an AI into and both systems (AI and shell) can operate without each other but perhaps in a somewhat degraded form in certain instances.

So why spend a whole section on Shells of AI? Well, I believe it is critically important to break the bad habits of conceptualizing AI in ways which limit our abilities to truly understand what AI is and what it isn’t. Most importantly it helps us recognize when we are using AI and think a little bit deeper about what we are doing.

If you stop someone on the street and ask them what artificial intelligence looks like, there is a strong probability they will answer with something like Pepper shown above or even more frequently a more humanoid looking android or terminator. But these might make up 1% of AI in the future. Most AI manifest themselves in the everyday things like iPhone, Androids, Netflix and unseen programs running on servers far away from the public.


Shells of Artificial Intelligence 

Smart Phones

Smart phone are prime examples of everyday artificial intelligence provided to us in the shell of a phone. When we ask Siri, Google, or any other spoken form question, it is an AI based system which is processing your request.  

Sensors, IoT, etc.

There are hundreds of millions of internet connected devices. Think of Alexa, Google Home, weather monitors, etc. All of these devices are running on Artificial Intelligence and their main value proposition to us is the AI capabilities. We can talk to the device, get answers, order products, control our homes and play trivia games. All of these capabilities are built on the MLP systems which provides the technology to interpret your speech.

Automation Programs  

The majority of AI which is and will be deployed will be in the form of automation programs which are intended to do the jobs of customer service agents, underwriters, credit analysts, writers and many other occupations. 

These functions will be carried out on servers out of sight from the public and you. 


There are numerous other shells which an AI can be placed in like cars, satellites, smart factories, IoT devices, but they are too numerous to list here. The main point is to gain the understanding of the difference between the AI and the shell that it is placed into.