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Helpful tech terms and topics



Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is software that enables computers and other devices to perform functions and tasks that normally require human intelligence and capabilities including problem-solving, learning, language, perception, media creation and understanding, motion and manipulation, and much more. Beyond simply enabling automation, AI can enable autonomous systems that are capable of dynamically responding to, sensing and otherwise interacting with environments. Increasingly tech and other businesses are dedicating resources to enabling developers, engineers, researchers, data scientists, and others to not only become more effective developers of AI but also to use and amplify AI for social good and minimize its potential for societal disruption and harm.


Machine Learning (ML)

Machine learning trains machines how to learn and perform human tasks (this page has a good explanation, along with a helpful video). ML is a branch of AI that enables computer systems to learn from data, identify patterns, make recommendations, automatically apply complex mathematical calculations to Big Data, independently adapt, and make decisions without being programmed to perform specific tasks. It requires a different “life cycle” than traditional software development.



A set of steps or instructions programmed in software to solve a problem or accomplish a task. For example, when someone enters a search term in Google or another search engine, an algorithm determines the resulting information. An imaging system uses algorithms to give diagnostic information for skin cancer in patients.


Big Data

A large volume of structured (numeric and traditional databases) and unstructured (email, video, audio and other) data from multiple sources that can be analyzed by AI and ML for insights that lead to better decisions.


Neural Networks

“Trained” (fed) with very large amounts of information (big data), a large number of interconnected processors (algorithms) learn from this data as it moves from input to output.


Deep Learning

Neural networks combined with machine learning that can process huge amounts of multimedia data.


Reinforcement Learning

Software that learns by doing.


Computer Vision

Computers that can see and understand what they see.


Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Software that enables computers to respond to speech.


Open-Source Software

Open-source software is a type of computer software in which source code is released under a license from the copyright holder granting developers the right to study, change, collaboratively develop and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose approved by the copyright holder.



Blockchain enables digital information to be distributed but not copied or stolen. Here’s how it works:

  • Someone requests a transaction. The request is transmitted through a network of computers (each one is a node).

  • The network uses software (algorithm) to validate (indeed guarantee the validity of) both the transaction and the user.

  • The completed transaction becomes a new block in the chain of blocks.

  • Like the other blocks of data in the chain, the new block containing contracts, records, and other information intended to be private and protected, is permanent and unalterable.

  • Blockchain aficionados refer to the results as an “incorruptible digital ledger” containing any information of value, including everything involved in the journey of coffee beans from farms to our vicar’s cup of coffee at Starbucks.



The “G” in 5G means that it is a generation of wireless technology. By comparison with the 4 previous Gs, 5G has (1) greater speed to move data much faster, (2) lower latency for much quicker responses when activated, and (3) the ability to connect more different kinds of devices (for example, sensors).


A technique using technology to superimpose images and videos onto existing ones, creating a false impression that the edited version is the original image or video; also, the edited image or video itself.



A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. “Although ransomware is usually aimed at individuals, it's only a matter of time before business is targeted as well.”



Computer programs and other technology used to support or enable banking and financial services. “Fintech is one of the fastest-growing areas for venture capitalists.”


A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. “Although ransomware is usually aimed at individuals, it's only a matter of time before business is targeted as well.”

Brain-Computer Interface

A direct-communication pathway between an enhanced or wired brain and an external device.

Contact Tracing

In public health, contact tracing is the process of identifying those who may have come into contact with an infected person and subsequent collection of further information about these contacts. By tracing the contacts of infected individuals, testing them for infection, treating the infected and tracing their contacts in turn, public health aims to reduce infections in the population.


Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is an educational approach that aims to customize learning for each student's strengths, needs, skills and interests. Each student gets a learning plan that's based on what they know and how they learn best. 


The provision of healthcare remotely by means of telecommunications technology. 


A preparation of killed microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms that is administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular disease.


An act or process of electing. Predestination to eternal life. The right, power, or privilege of making a choice. 


The introduction of a democratic system or democratic principles. The action of making something accessible to everyone: “The democratization of information through technology.”


A person or thing that influences another. A person with the ability of influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media. “Influencers can add serious credibility to your brand.”


Measures taken to protect a computer or computer system (as on the internet) against unauthorized access or attack.


The state or extent of being connected or interconnected.

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