AI for Beginners: A Practical Introduction
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. What is Artificial Intelligence?
  2. How to Identify Types of AI
  3. How AI Works
  4. How to Apply AI in Real-life Scenarios
  5. How to Start with AI Programming
  6. How to Choose the Right AI Tool
  7. How to Address Common AI Challenges
  8. How to Stay Informed About AI Trends

Imagine you're a chef, and AI is your new, mysterious ingredient. You've heard it can transform your recipes, but you're unsure where to start. This guide is your recipe book—it will help you understand what AI is, how it works, and how you can use it to spice up your tech skills. Think of this as your beginner's guide to AI, an easy-to-understand, practical introduction to the world of artificial intelligence.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is like a really smart parrot—it's a machine or computer program that can learn, reason, and solve problems, just like a human brain. In other words, AI is a system that can do things which would usually require human intelligence. So, when we talk about AI, we're talking about machines that can understand, learn, and apply knowledge.

Now, there are two main types of AI: narrow AI and general AI. Narrow AI is like a one-trick pony—it's great at doing one specific task. For example, you know how your smartphone understands and answers your questions? That's a type of narrow AI. General AI, on the other hand, is more like a Swiss Army knife—it's designed to perform any intellectual task a human being can do.

AI is everywhere around us. It powers the voice assistants in our homes, recommends what movies we should watch on Netflix, and even helps doctors diagnose diseases. In this AI for beginners guide, we'll explore more about how AI works, how to apply it in real-life scenarios, and how you can start with AI programming. So buckle up—it's going to be an exciting ride!

How to Identify Types of AI

Just like dogs come in different breeds, AI also comes in different types. Let's break it down into four main types:

  1. Reactive Machines: These are the basic level of AI systems. They can't form memories or use past experiences to inform current decisions. A good example is IBM's chess-playing supercomputer, Deep Blue. It can identify pieces on a chess board and make predictions, but it has no memory of previous games.
  2. Limited Memory: These AI systems can use past experiences to inform future decisions. For instance, self-driving cars do a good job of this. They observe other cars' speed and direction, which is used to make decisions like when to change lanes.
  3. Theory of Mind: This type of AI can understand thoughts and emotions which affect human behavior. It's a concept still in development. Once achieved, these AI systems could truly understand and interact with humans.
  4. Self-awareness: This is the ultimate goal of AI research. Self-aware AI would understand its own state, be able to predict the feelings of others, and make decisions based on this understanding. We're still far from achieving this level of AI.

Why is it important to know these types? Identifying the type of AI helps you understand its capabilities and limitations. Knowing what your AI can and can't do is the first step towards using it effectively. As a beginner, getting familiar with these types will give you a strong foundation to build on as you dive deeper into the world of AI.

How AI Works

If we had to compare AI to an animal, it would probably be an octopus. No, seriously, hear me out! Just as an octopus uses its tentacles to touch, feel, and understand its surroundings, AI uses data to learn about the world and make decisions. This process is known as machine learning.

But how does this happen? It's a two-step dance: training and inference.

  1. Training: Just like teaching a puppy to sit, you start by giving the AI system a lot of examples. For instance, if you want it to recognize cats, you feed it thousands of cat pictures. It looks at these pictures, gradually learning what a cat looks like.
  2. Inference: Once trained, the AI system can now make predictions or decisions based on what it has learned. Show it a new picture, and it can tell if there's a cat in it or not.

But remember, AI is like a very specialized octopus. It can become an expert at recognizing cats, but it won't understand dogs unless you train it with dog pictures too. So, when you start your AI journey, be prepared to feed your AI lots of data to help it learn.

Now that you have a basic idea of how AI works, let's move on to how you can apply it in real life. Are you ready to discover the potential of AI for beginners? Let's dive right in!

How to Apply AI in Real-life Scenarios

Alright, let's make this as simple as tomato soup. AI is already everywhere around us, even if we don't always realize it. Here are some cool ways people have been using AI:

  1. Chatbots: You know when you visit a website and a little box pops up asking if you need help? That's usually a chatbot — an AI system that can answer simple questions and guide you through the website. If you build a website, you can use AI to create your own chatbot!
  2. Recommendation Systems: If you've ever wondered how Netflix knows exactly what movie you'll enjoy, the answer is AI. It analyses your past choices and suggests new ones you might like. Can you imagine creating a tool that knows your friends' music tastes better than they do?
  3. Self-driving Cars: These are like the unicorns of the AI world. They use AI to understand the road, other cars, pedestrians, and even traffic signals. Although you might not be building self-driving cars as an AI beginner, it's cool to know what AI can do, right?

As you can see, AI has a lot of practical uses in our everyday lives. But guess what, you don't have to be a tech wizard to use AI. With the right tools, any beginner can start applying AI in real-life. Ready to get your hands dirty with AI programming?

How to Start with AI Programming

Let's start with a fun fact: Learning AI programming is just like learning to cook. You don't need to be a Michelin-star chef to make a tasty meal, and you don't need to be a tech genius to start with AI. So, how do you go from being an AI beginner to being able to whip up some AI magic? Here's a simple recipe for you:

  1. Get a taste of Python: Python is the language of choice in the AI world. It's like the salt and pepper of programming — it's in almost everything. Don't worry, it's also one of the easiest programming languages to learn. There are many free online resources to help you get started.
  2. Understand the basics of AI: Before you start cooking, you need to know what you're making. In the same way, before you start programming, you need to understand what AI is and how it works. This includes learning about algorithms, machine learning, and neural networks.
  3. Get your hands dirty: Just like cooking, the best way to learn is by doing. Start by working on small AI projects. This could be something as simple as a program that recognizes handwritten numbers, or something as fun as a chatbot that tells jokes.
  4. Never stop learning: AI is always evolving, just like your taste buds. Keep trying new recipes, learning about new algorithms, and experimenting with new projects. The more you learn, the better your AI programs will become.

Starting with AI programming might seem like a daunting task, but it's really not. With a dash of curiosity, a sprinkle of patience, and a good helping of practice, you'll be creating your own AI programs before you know it. Ready to set your AI adventure in motion?

How to Choose the Right AI Tool

Choosing the right AI tool is a bit like choosing the right pair of shoes. You wouldn't wear flip-flops to run a marathon, right? Similarly, the right AI tool depends on the task you want to accomplish. So, how do you choose the right AI tool as a beginner? Here's a simple guide for you.

  1. Identify your needs: Before you can choose the right tool, you need to know what you're trying to do. Are you trying to automate a task, predict an outcome, or maybe you're working on image recognition? The task at hand will often dictate the tool you need.
  2. Consider your level of expertise: Some AI tools require more technical knowledge than others. As a beginner, you'll probably want to start with tools that have user-friendly interfaces and lots of documentation and support.
  3. Look at the tool's capabilities: Not all AI tools are created equal. Some are better at certain tasks than others. Make sure the tool you choose is capable of doing what you need it to do.
  4. Think about the future: As you progress on your AI journey, your needs will likely change. Consider choosing a tool that can grow with you. Look for tools that offer more advanced features that you can use as your skills improve.

Remember, the best AI tool is the one that fits your needs and abilities. Don't get caught up in the hype of the latest and greatest. Instead, focus on finding a tool that will help you reach your AI goals. So, are you ready to find your perfect AI tool match?

How to Address Common AI Challenges

Just like learning to ride a bicycle, starting with AI can come with its own set of bumps and scrapes. But don't let this scare you. After all, even the most seasoned AI experts had to start somewhere. So, let's talk about some common AI challenges and how you can tackle them.

  1. Data issues: AI thrives on data. But, as you might have guessed, not all data is created equal. You might encounter issues such as missing data, inconsistent data, or simply not having enough data. Fear not! There are various data cleaning methods and tools available that can help you ensure your data is up to scratch.
  2. Overfitting and underfitting: These are two common problems when training your AI model. Overfitting means your model performs well on training data but poorly on unseen data. Underfitting is the opposite—it performs poorly on both. To handle this, you can use methods such as cross-validation or adjusting your model complexity.
  3. Choosing the right model: There are many AI models out there, and choosing the right one can be tricky. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all model. Consider your task, the nature of your data, and your AI goals when choosing a model.
  4. Keeping up with AI trends: AI is always evolving, and it can feel a bit like trying to catch a high-speed train. But don't worry. There are many resources available, like AI newsletters, online communities, and webinars that can help you stay on top of the latest AI trends.

Remember, every challenge is a learning opportunity. Don't be discouraged if you hit a few roadblocks on your AI journey. With patience, persistence, and the right approach, you'll overcome these challenges. So, are you ready to take on these AI challenges head-on?

Staying updated with AI trends as a beginner might feel like trying to drink from a fire hose, but it's manageable with the right approach. Here are a few simple and practical steps you can take.

  1. Read AI-focused blogs and websites: A little bit of reading goes a long way. Websites like Towards Data Science, AI Daily, or the AI section of MIT Technology Review can be a great start. They cover a wide range of AI topics and are quite beginner-friendly.
  2. Join online AI communities: Online communities can be a goldmine of information. Forums and social media groups dedicated to AI are great places to learn from others, ask questions, and even share your own experiences. Some popular ones include the AI section of Stack Exchange or the Machine Learning subreddit.
  3. Participate in webinars and workshops: There's always something new to learn with AI. Webinars and workshops can be a great way to delve deeper into specific AI topics, get hands-on experience, and connect with other AI enthusiasts.
  4. Follow AI influencers: Many AI experts share their insights and predictions on platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn. Following these influencers can give you a sense of where AI is heading and what's currently in the spotlight.

As you can see, there are many ways to stay informed about AI trends. It's all about finding the resources and methods that work best for you. So, which one will you try first?

If you're excited to learn more about AI and its practical applications, we highly recommend the workshop 'Midjourney AI: Beginners Crash Course' by Ansh Mehra. This workshop will provide you with a solid foundation in AI concepts and help you understand how to implement them in real-world scenarios. Don't miss out on this opportunity to expand your knowledge in the ever-growing field of artificial intelligence.