Artificial Intelligence


AI Glossary in Business Language

This guide is designed to help you understand the key concepts and terms related to AI, making this technological revolution more accessible.  Additional selected terms used in the downloadable whitepapers are also included.

Check out our Technical Glossary for more technical terms. 

Technical Glossary

Business Terms

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of software to perform tasks that traditionally require human intelligence. AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning, reasoning, and self-correction.

Artificial Intelligence Models

Artificial Intelligence (AI) models are computational frameworks that learn from data to make predictions or decisions without explicit programming. They are constructed using algorithms and trained with data. AI models can be classified into several categories:

  • Supervised Learning Models: These models are trained using labelled data, which includes both the input and the expected output.
  • Unsupervised Learning Models: These models are used when the training data is not labelled, meaning the model must find patterns in the input data independently.
  • Semi-Supervised Learning Models: These models use a mix of a small amount of labelled data and a large amount of unlabelled data for training.
  • Reinforcement Learning Models: These models learn by interacting with their environment.


An algorithm is a step-by-step procedure or set of rules followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

It's a detailed series of instructions for executing an operation or solving a problem. In a computing context, algorithms are vital because they define the specific steps a computer program needs to take to complete a specific task.

Application Programming Interface (API)

An Application Programming Interface (API) is a method to programmatically interact with other software or data sets. It includes a set of rules and protocols for building and interacting with software applications.

APIs allow different software systems to interact with each other, enabling them to share data and functionalities. They act as a bridge between different software applications, allowing them to work together.

Artificial General Intelligence

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) refers to a type of Artificial Intelligence that can understand, learn, adapt, and implement knowledge in a wide range of tasks at a level equal to or beyond a human being.

Unlike Narrow AI, which is designed to perform a specific task, AGI can theoretically perform any intellectual task that a human being can do.

Big Four Firms

The term "Big Four" refers to the four largest international professional services networks, offering cybersecurity, audit, tax, consulting, advisory, corporate finance, and legal services. The Big Four firms are Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (EY), and KPMG.


Chatbots are software applications that mimic human conversation. They interact with users via messaging platforms, websites, mobile apps, or voice command interfaces. They can be rule-based or AI-powered.

Rule-based chatbots respond to specific commands, while AI-powered chatbots use machine learning and natural language processing to understand and respond to a wider range of inputs.

They are commonly used in customer service, information retrieval, and therapeutic contexts.

Cognitive Bias

Cognitive bias refers to systematic errors in thinking that affect decision-making and judgment. These biases often stem from individual perceptions and past experiences, leading to distortions in how we perceive reality.

Examples include confirmation bias, hindsight bias, anchoring bias, and availability heuristic.

Data Repositories

Data repositories are centralized storage locations for data. They can store various types of data such as raw data, curated data, metadata, and relational databases. They are often used for data backup, archiving, and data sharing purposes.

Deep Learning

Deep Learning is a subset of machine learning that simulates the behaviour of the human brain to learn from large amounts of data. It drives many AI applications and services that improve automation, such as image and speech recognition, and natural language processing.

Encryption of Data in Motion

Encryption of data in motion refers to the process of protecting data while it is being transferred from one location to another.

This is typically achieved using various encryption protocols such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Transport Layer Security (TLS), or Internet Protocol Security (IPSec).

Encryption of Data at Rest

Encryption of data at rest refers to the process of protecting inactive data stored in any digital form.

This is typically achieved using various encryption methods such as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), RSA, or Twofish.

Endowment Effect

The endowment effect is an emotional bias where people value a good or service more once their property right to it has been established. This can lead to decision-making that is not in the individual's best economic interest.

Foundation Models (FMs)

Foundation models are deep learning models trained on vast quantities of structured and unstructured, unlabelled data. They can be used for a wide range of tasks as is or adapted to specific tasks with fine-tuning.


Fine-tuning in AI refers to the process of taking a pre-trained model and adapting it to a specific task. This is done by continuing the training process on a smaller, task-specific dataset.

Force Multiplier

A ‘force multiplier’ in business refers to a factor that significantly increases the potential output or effectiveness, such as AI which automates certain repetitive tasks.

Generative AI

Generative AI is a type of AI that focuses on creating new content. It's a type of machine learning that allows computers to generate data that resembles the data it was trained on.

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs)

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) are a type of generative AI models. They comprise two parts: a generator that creates the new content and a discriminator that tries to distinguish between the generated content and the real training data.

Generative Pretrained Transformer

This is a type of AI model developed by OpenAI that's used for tasks involving language, like translation, answering questions, and creating text.

The "generative" part means the model can create new, creative outputs like writing a story.

"Pretrained" means the model has already been trained on a lot of text data, which helps it generate sentences that make sense in context.

The "transformer" part refers to the model's structure, which uses a mechanism called attention to decide how much weight to give to different words when creating an output.

Graphics Processing Unit

A Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is a type of processor designed to handle tasks related to creating graphics, like for video games, 3D modelling, and video editing.

Recently, GPUs have also become popular for computing tasks because they can perform operations on large amounts of data at once, making them great for tasks like machine learning and deep learning.


Groupthink is when a group of people prioritizes agreement and harmony over making the best decision. This can lead to irrational or ineffective decision-making outcomes because the group suppresses differing opinions and isolates itself from outside influences.


In the context of AI, guardrails are rules or constraints that guide the AI system in generating outputs. They ensure that the AI system operates within certain boundaries and doesn't produce undesirable or inappropriate results.


In the context of AI, "hallucinations" refer to instances where the AI generates information that wasn't in the input data. This can lead to creative and unexpected results, but also inaccuracies and mistakes.


Ideation is the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas. It involves several stages, from the initial generation of ideas to their development and realization.


In the context of IT, integrations refer to the process of combining different computing systems and software applications to act as a coordinated whole.

The goal of integration is to create a seamless flow of data between various IT systems and software applications.


ISO 27001 is an international standard on how to manage information security. The standard provides a framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an Information Security Management System (ISMS).

Knowledge Worker Productivity

Knowledge worker productivity refers to the efficiency and effectiveness with which knowledge workers, such as analysts, managers, software developers, or consultants, can produce valuable outputs from their work.

Large Language Models (LLMs)

Large language models (LLMs) are a type of AI model that have been trained on a vast amount of text data. They are designed to generate human-like text based on the input they are given.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that enables computers to learn and make decisions without being explicitly programmed. It's a method of data analysis that automates the building of analytical models.


In the context of IT and AI, modality refers to the way information is represented or the type of data that is being processed. Different modalities include text, images, audio, video, and more.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Natural language processing (NLP) is a subfield of artificial intelligence that focuses on the interaction between computers and humans through natural language. The ultimate objective of NLP is to read, decipher, understand, and make sense of the human language in a valuable way.

Neural Network

A neural network is a computing model inspired by the way biological brains work. It's designed to simulate the behaviour of interconnected brain cells (neurons) in order to solve complex tasks.

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing, also known as pen testing or ethical hacking, is a practice in software security where a system, network, or web application is intentionally attacked to identify potential security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.


Productivity refers to the efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system, etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs. It is generally measured by the rate at which products are generated by a system running at full capacity.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on investment (ROI) is a financial metric that is widely used to measure the probability of gaining a return from an investment. It is a ratio that compares the gain or loss from an investment relative to its cost.


Self-attention, also known as intra-attention, is a mechanism used in artificial intelligence models, particularly in natural language processing (NLP), that helps the model to focus on different parts of the input when producing an output.

Status Quo Bias

Status quo bias is a cognitive bias that refers to the preference for the current state of affairs. In other words, people are generally inclined to resist change and prefer to maintain things as they are.

SOC 2 Type 2

SOC 2 Type 2 is a type of audit report that focuses on a service organization's non-financial reporting controls as they relate to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of a system.

Structured Data

Structured data are tabular data, such as data organised in tables, databases or spreadsheets. This data can be used to train some machine learning models effectively.


In the context of AI, a walled-garden refers to a closed system where the system's owner has complete control over the data, algorithms, and operations. This can ensure consistency and quality, but it can also limit innovation and flexibility.

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