AI Glossary: 28 Artificial Intelligence Terms You Should Know

AI Glossary featured image with a robot graphic standing next to the letters A to Z

By Melissa Ng   |   Last Updated 26 April 2024

The world of AI is full of terms and technologies that change quicker than the newest software update.

In 2024, getting to know artificial intelligence can seem like learning a new language. Whether you’re talking to a digital assistant, developing the next big AI, or just keen to understand the terms you see online, it’s important to know the latest words.

Let’s go through this together and understand the AI terms that are shaping our future.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is the technology that allows machines to imitate human intelligence. It’s like advanced technology that can analyse, learn, and make decisions.

AI powers things like Siri’s helpful responses, the strategies of chess computers, and the spot-on recommendations from streaming services. AI systems process a lot of data, identify patterns, and use this information to do tasks ranging from predicting your shopping needs to driving cars without a human driver.

Machine Learning (ML)

Machine Learning, or ML, is what makes AI systems smarter over time. Think of a computer as a student and ML as its ongoing education, always learning from new data.

It’s not about setting fixed rules; it’s about algorithms, which are steps and calculations that help the system find patterns and make predictions. For instance, your email’s spam filter improves at detecting junk mail because ML teaches it to recognise what spam looks like from the emails you flag.

ML is what gives AI the impression of having a brain, even if it’s just made of silicon.

Deep Learning

Deep Learning is a sophisticated part of AI that mimics the complex networks of the human brain, letting machines understand and make decisions from unstructured data without direct programming.

This branch of machine learning works through neural networks, which you can think of as layers of processing that convert inputs, like images or sounds, into something the machine can understand and respond to.

So, when your virtual assistant recognises your voice or your social media automatically tags photos of your friends, that’s deep learning at work, interpreting complex patterns just like our brains do.

Neural Networks

Neural Networks are at the core of deep learning and are modelled after the networks in our brains. These mathematical models have layers of artificial neurons that send signals similar to our brain’s neural pathways.

By processing inputs through these connected layers, neural networks decode complex data, learning to recognise patterns and improve over time. For example, when you talk to a digital assistant, neural networks help it understand your words and feelings.

This structure enables AI to carry out increasingly smart tasks, like recognising faces in photos or diagnosing diseases from medical images.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Natural Language Processing, or NLP, is how machines understand human language. This part of AI allows computers to read, understand, and even create text or speech as if they had learned linguistics.

It powers chatbots that respond to you, voice assistants that know what’s on your shopping list, and translation services that can switch “where is the library?” to “¿dónde está la biblioteca?”

Whether it’s analysing customer feedback or automating content creation, NLP connects human communication with digital responses, translating our words into a format machines can comprehend and act on.

Computer Vision

Computer Vision enables machines to see and interpret the visual world. This area of AI is full of algorithms that allow computers to process and understand images and videos, similar to how our eyes and brains work.

It’s the technology behind self-driving cars that read traffic signs, security systems that detect intruders from their movements, and health apps that check your exercise form.

By digitalising vision, Computer Vision creates a range of opportunities for AI to help, enhance, and sometimes even independently handle tasks that involve the complexities of visual perception.

Supervised Learning

Supervised Learning is a method where AI learns from examples. These examples are labelled datasets that show the machine what to learn and how to perform a task.

You provide the system with examples and their correct outcomes, and it starts to recognise patterns and make predictions. For example, in image recognition, you might show the AI thousands of pictures, each labelled as ‘cat’ or ‘dog.’ Over time, the AI learns to distinguish cats from dogs by itself.

It’s essentially practical training for AIs, preparing them to handle real-world tasks based on the training data they’ve been given.

Unsupervised Learning

Unsupervised Learning allows AI to discover patterns in your data without any direct guidance.

Imagine you have a bunch of mixed-up puzzle pieces without a reference picture. Unsupervised learning is about figuring out how these pieces fit together by identifying similarities or groups, even though you don’t know what the final picture will look like.

This method is useful when you have lots of data but aren’t sure what patterns might emerge. It’s good for grouping similar data, discovering structures, and spotting outliers. In this way, AI acts like a detective, finding hidden details and stories in your data.

Reinforcement Learning

Reinforcement Learning is about AI learning through trial and error, akin to training a pet with rewards and punishments.

The AI ‘agent’ makes choices in an environment to reach a goal. Good decisions receive a ‘reward,’ and poor ones get a ‘penalty.’ This feedback helps the system figure out the best strategies over time.

For instance, consider a robot navigating a maze; each decision either moves it closer to or further from the exit. With feedback, the robot learns the most efficient path.

This technique is vital for developing complex AI behaviours, from playing video games to optimising delivery routes.

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs)

Generative Adversarial Networks, or GANs, involve two neural networks competing against each other: a “generator” that creates data and a “discriminator” that critiques it.

The generator produces new data that looks like the real thing, while the discriminator compares it to genuine data to identify the fakes. This process sharpens the abilities of both networks, resulting in highly realistic synthetic outputs.

GANs are used to create everything from new fashion designs to convincing deepfake videos, transforming the fields of art, design, and content creation by showing how AI can not only mimic reality but also create things never seen before.

Big Data

Big Data refers to extremely large and complex data sets that are difficult to process with traditional applications. This vast amount of data can uncover patterns, trends, and connections, particularly in human behaviour and interactions, when analysed computationally.

Every interaction online, every sensor, and smart device adds to this pool of data. AI uses big data to make decisions, spot trends, and predict needs. Essentially, big data is the rich resource from which AI extracts information, allowing machines to learn and become smarter.


An algorithm is a set of instructions that computers follow to solve problems or perform tasks. It’s like a step-by-step guide for your computer to complete actions, ranging from simple tasks like sorting your emails by date to more complex ones like deciding which posts appear on your social media feed.

In AI, algorithms process raw data and convert it into useful AI services, such as mapping routes, recommending movies, or detecting fraud. They are the essential instructions that drive the complex operations of our digital world.


A chatbot is a digital tool that uses AI to mimic conversations with humans. They range from simple, rule-based bots that answer specific questions to advanced ones that can learn and tailor conversations.

Chatbots are used in customer service, tech support, and even for giving therapy advice in messaging apps. Thanks to natural language processing, they are getting better at understanding the nuances of our messages, leading to smoother, more natural conversations.

If you’ve ever received an instant reply on a website, it was probably a chatbot.


Robotics is the field of technology that turns metal and wires into robots that can carry out tasks, sometimes independently. These programmable machines might look like humans or nothing like us, and they do jobs that are boring, dirty, or dangerous.

They are essential in manufacturing, perform precise operations in surgeries, and even explore Mars. Equipped with sensors and AI, robots are becoming smarter, more adaptable, and capable of doing more varied tasks, showing that robotics involves much more than just machinery.

Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous Vehicles, or self-driving cars, are changing the way we use roads by driving themselves. These vehicles use AI, sensors, and computer vision to navigate safely without a human driver. They aim to reduce accidents, lessen traffic congestion, and free up your time during commutes.

Imagine relaxing with a book or a movie while your car manages the drive — that’s what autonomous vehicles offer. They’re not just an idea from science fiction; they’re close to becoming a regular part of our transport system.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive Analytics uses past data to forecast future events, helping businesses plan better. It analyses historical patterns and current trends to predict upcoming outcomes. This helps in making decisions like tailoring marketing strategies to potential customers or managing stock before a big sale.

With predictive analytics, businesses can anticipate which products will be popular each season or detect potential machine malfunctions before they occur. This method combines machine learning, big data, and statistical algorithms to provide strategic insights, giving companies an advantage in a data-driven world.

Bias In AI

Bias in AI occurs when an AI system repeatedly and unfairly favours certain individuals or groups. This can happen if an AI is trained on data that has historical biases related to gender or ethnicity, potentially continuing those biases.

The bias isn’t intentional but is a byproduct of the data used or how the AI is programmed. Addressing AI bias is crucial, as developers strive to create algorithms that are fair and treat everyone equally.

AI Ethics

AI Ethics guides the development and use of AI towards positive outcomes. It deals with important questions such as how AI should handle privacy, ensure fairness, and remain transparent in its operations.

AI ethics promotes the development of technology that supports trustworthiness, human rights, and social and environmental responsibility.

Whether AI is conducting job interviews or controlling cars, ethical standards help ensure it benefits society. Embedding ethical principles in AI aims to balance technological progress with the well-being of society, ensuring that advances do not compromise our values or quality of life.

Edge Computing

Edge Computing is a technology that processes data close to where it’s needed, right at the source like a smartphone, a connected car, or a factory sensor. Instead of sending data across long distances to a cloud or data centre, edge computing handles it on the spot.

This approach speeds up decision-making, essential for real-time applications such as autonomous driving or emergency drone operations.

By processing data locally, edge computing allows for faster responses, crucial in our rapidly advancing AI world, making devices smarter and more independent, perfect for the Internet of Things (IoT) era.

Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing represents a major advance in computing power, using the principles of quantum mechanics.

Unlike traditional computers that use bits as ones or zeros, quantum computers use qubits, which can exist in multiple states simultaneously. This allows them to perform complex tasks much faster than current supercomputers.

Quantum Computing could transform fields like cryptography and materials science, and greatly enhance AI capabilities, turning today’s data analysis methods obsolete. It’s still early in development, but the potential is immense, offering a future with far fewer computing limitations.

Large Language Models

Large Language Models (LLMs) are advanced AI systems trained on extensive data sets, giving them a deep understanding of human languages. These models can handle various language tasks such as translation and content creation, often matching human levels of sophistication.

They power popular chatbots like ChatGPT and improve as they process more text, enhancing their grasp of language subtleties. LLMs are ushering in an era where machines are not only calculators but also conversationalists and creators, playing a significant role in our digital interactions.

Generative AI

Generative AI is a branch of machine intelligence focused on creating new content, including text, images, audio, or code. It uses existing data to generate original works that can impress or assist in various tasks.

Examples include ChatGPT, which can compose everything from emails to poetry, and image generators that create visual scenes from simple descriptions.

Generative AI doesn’t just copy; it innovates, providing personalized experiences and a wide range of content possibilities, transforming how we create and interact with media.


Hallucination in AI happens when a system, like a language processing model, produces output that is incorrect or not relevant to the input. It’s when an AI gives out wrong information with confidence.

For example, if a chatbot gives a historical date or fact that is inaccurate, that’s an AI hallucination.

While sometimes amusing, these mistakes are signs that the AI needs more refinement to ensure its outputs are reliable. Fixing these errors is crucial for developing trustworthy AI.


Prompts are the instructions or questions you give to generative AI models like ChatGPT to start a response or action. They are the initial requests that trigger the AI to engage in a conversation or provide information.

Creating effective prompts is akin to programming through conversation; you shape the AI’s responses by being clear and specific.

Research shows that detailed, emotionally rich prompts often result in more nuanced responses from AI. Whether it’s a single query or a series of instructions, the prompt influences the quality and relevance of what the AI produces.


A Copilot in AI acts as your advanced digital assistant, helping to navigate complex tasks and provide insights. In businesses, AI Copilots serve as support, using sophisticated algorithms and extensive knowledge to assist in tasks ranging from writing emails to forecasting market trends.

They contribute to decision-making and task management by adapting to your needs, learning from interactions, and proactively offering solutions. An AI Copilot isn’t just an order taker; it’s a proactive helper that enhances productivity and decision-making in the workplace.


ChatGPT is a chatbot developed by OpenAI that uses a large language model to chat in a way that resembles human conversation. Built on the advanced technology of GPT-3.5 and GPT-4, it can discuss almost any topic, from explaining quantum physics to writing a sonnet. This AI can produce detailed and informative text or help with creative ideas.

ChatGPT demonstrates significant advancements in how machines understand and generate human language, marking a major step forward in machine learning and natural language processing. Whether you’re looking for information or a casual chat, ChatGPT is changing how we interact with AI.


OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT and other innovative AI tools, is an AI research lab known for pioneering new technologies.

Originally established as a nonprofit, it shifted to a capped-profit model to expand its reach. OpenAI is dedicated to developing AI in an open and ethical way, aiming to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI) benefits all of humanity.

Whether it’s talking to a robot or creating art from text, OpenAI’s influence is evident. They are behind some of the most advanced AI models that are significantly altering what machines can do.

Fine Tuning

Fine Tuning in AI involves adjusting a broadly trained model to perform specific tasks by training it further with more targeted data.

For example, an AI model trained to recognise objects in images can be fine-tuned to specifically identify different types of birds.

This process refines the AI’s abilities, enhancing its accuracy and effectiveness for particular applications. Fine tuning is essential for making AI not just intelligent but also highly skilled and relevant to the specific tasks it performs.


Understanding AI is key to keeping up with technology that’s quickly changing our world. From simple tools like chatbots to complex systems like quantum computing, AI affects many parts of our lives.

By learning about AI, we can use these tools wisely and make sure they’re helpful and fair. As we keep exploring AI, it’s important to make sure it grows in ways that are good for everyone. Let’s keep learning and adapting as AI advances.

Melissa Ng, the Business Development & Operations Manager at AppSalon, is a versatile professional with a wealth of experience across fintech, startups, content creation, SEO, marketing, product management, and QA.

Melissa's career journey is highlighted by her seven-year tenure at Credit Savvy, a fintech startup under Commonwealth Bank. Here, she wore various hats, including product manager, content manager, operations manager, lead QA, and account manager. Her contributions led to the remarkable achievement of growing the user base from zero to over one million Australian members, in just over 5 years.

Beyond her professional achievements, Melissa embraces adventure, with interests ranging from hiking, pilates, and baking to knitting. Surprisingly, she even finds relaxation in cleaning.

Melissa Ng is a seasoned expert in the realm of digital business. With both extensive experience and commitment to excellence, Melissa endevours so that every single client receives the best possible outcome.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.