Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science focused on creating intelligent machines that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. These machines are designed to mimic human cognitive functions such as learning, problem-solving, perception, and language understanding. AI encompasses a broad range of techniques and approaches, including machine learning, neural networks, natural language processing, computer vision, and more.

Machine learning, a subset of AI, enables computers to learn and improve from experience without explicit programming. Neural networks, inspired by the human brain, consist of interconnected nodes (neurons) that process information and make decisions. Natural language processing allows machines to understand, interpret, and generate human language, enabling applications like chatbots and language translation.

AI applications span various industries, from healthcare and finance to transportation and manufacturing. In healthcare, AI aids in diagnosing diseases from medical images and personalizing treatment plans. Financial institutions use AI for fraud detection and algorithmic trading. Transportation benefits from AI-driven autonomous vehicles and route optimization.

The potential societal impact of AI is vast, offering solutions to complex problems, improving efficiency, and transforming industries. However, ethical considerations, data privacy, and the responsible development of AI are crucial areas of discussion. As AI continues to advance, its integration into everyday life is becoming more prevalent, shaping the future of technology and human-machine interaction.