Though the concept has been around since at least 1980, it’s only really started to take off now thanks to improvements in mathematical formulas and more powerful computers. But what is it? Basically, it’s software that can simulate the workings of the human neocortex, a part of the cerebral cortex that deals with processing sight and hearing. What’s the big deal? Well, computers would be of greater help to people if they could reliably recognize patterns and make inferences about the world. In a nutshell: intelligent machines straight out of a sci-fi movie.