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How accurate is AI?
Tech Talk

by Jeff Shields 2023-04-22

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making it mark in all kinds of endeavours including writing, art, technology, science, search engines and the list goes on. It begs the question, “how accurate is AI”.

The published answer to this is 95%. However, accuracy is not a term that can be used without prior definition. Currently AI accuracy is defined as an average by comparing right vs wrong answers. When you use averages to generate results, the answer can be skewed.

For instance, AI will always answer ‘no’ to the question, “do I have Covid?” The reason is that the number of cases of Covid compared to the world population is very small. There are approximately 19 million cases of Covid world wide in a total population of 7.7 billion. So statistically there is only a 0.24% chance you have Covid. The ‘no’ answer would have an accuracy greater that 99%. It is the 0.24% positive cases it misses that are important. You could die based on this answer, not an ideal outcome. I would label it a failure.

Also AI is not capable of determining if the underlying data used to make it prediction is accurate or not or even true. The saying “garbage in, garbage out” springs to mind.

That being said, there are areas where AI can be very useful as long as the question is not a “yes/no” scenario. Analyzing computer code and fixing errors and improving performance have been very successful.

Give AI the right data and the right question, then accuracy increases exponentially. AI does not “think” but uses statistical analysis to predict its outcome. As seen in the above Covid example, accuracy can be high but the answer may not be helpful. It will take come human interpretation to discern if the answer AI provides is correct, accurate and useful.

AI can learn at an incredible rate. It is even at the point where it is re-writing its own algorithms. It will be necessary to increase and improve the underlying data and re-evaluate the questions and responses produced.

If your need for AI is critical in nature, by aware that you will need to make your own judgements on its responses. Non-critical needs such as analyzing computer code, generating text or art, or researching a subject, then AI can be and is a very powerful tool.

There are a number of websites where you can play with AI for free so you can experiment with it yourself. Have fun.

Last Updated on: 2024-06-04