When we think about artificial intelligence (“AI”), what usually pops into mind is robots hellbent on taking over the human race. Movies like I Robot, Terminator, Passengers, Interstellar, and even the cartoon Wall-E, immediately come to mind, and have predicted our future. Thankfully, sentient machines do not yet exist… for now. But, it probably will, going by The Bicentennial Man.
In the last decade, there has been a lot of progress and development in AI, though mostly for commercial use. There’s also an increasing worry that AI might take away human jobs. And rightly so, because AI and machine learning are increasingly leading towards a world where man and machine will cross paths significantly more.
What is Artificial Intelligence (“AI”)?
Artificial intelligence is a wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence.
Can machines think?Alan Turing
Can machines think? If you have watched The Imitation Game based on Alan Turing’s life, or read about Alan Turing, you might be familiar with this question he posed in 1950. Turing was the brilliant mathematician who built the Enigma code-breaking machine that helped the Allied Forces to win World War II.
|Did you know?
The Turing Test is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.
Wikipedia – Turing Test
Today, AI is re-wiring our modern conception of everyday life at an unprecedented speed. Advancements in AI are creating a paradigm shift in virtually every sector in the tech industry and also daily lives. The best part is, as AI can think for itself and improve itself, in the longer run, it will also pay for itself.
How is Artificial Intelligence impacting us right now?
AI is all around us, and believe it or not, you are likely to be using more than one tool with AI daily. AI is lurking whenever we open our Instagram / Facebook feed, do a Google search or even when you use your electrical appliances at home!
1. Social Media
Most of us today are hooked to many social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, etc. Whenever we have free time, be it while waiting for the train or in between engagements, most of us will take a quick scroll on Instagram or some other social media platform. In 2020, according to Statista, over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide, and this figure is projected to grow to 4.41 billion in 2025.
Social media platforms have already identified AI as the way forward to progress its business. AI helps further personalise worthwhile experiences for social media users.
Companies like Meta, Twitter, Slack and others are all investing heavily in AI to get a bite of the revenue in the social media space.
Artificial intelligence in Social Media for consumers
Social media supports every person to speak for their rights and talk against violence publicly. It plays a pivotal role in today’s modern society. In a way, social medias are in the position to shape a person’s opinion.
Indirectly, when you are using these social media platforms, you are actually using an AI-enabled tool.
Social media platforms are currently using AI for chatbots, algorithmic newsfeeds, photo tagging suggestions, ad targeting, suggested people to follow, analysing how people interact with each other and more. AI has also been deployed to police fake news, hate speech, and other bad actors in real time.
Artificial Intelligence in Social Media for content creators
For content creators, social media platforms are deploying AI to help content creators in social content creation and management, social insights and social listening, and social advertising.
With AI and intelligent automation, content creators can create social media posts quicker, by analysing historical data to learn what works and what social media post to share next. AI-powered tools exist to deliver insights from your brand’s social media content, profiles and audience. With that, AI helps to develop the right messages to your audience.
2. Household products
These days everyday household appliances are getting smarter. You have smart vacuums, smart lights, smart door locks, smart washing machines… and the list keeps getting longer by the day.
For example, a robot vacuum these days uses AI to scan room size, identify obstacles and remember themes efficient routes for cleaning. They also can determine how much vacuuming needs to be done based on a room’s size. Smart fridge even has the ability to suggest recipes to cook depending on the food in it.
Companies like iRobot, Panasonic and more have spent quite a bit on incorporating AI in making their products smarter.
AI is also big in driving self-driving cars. These cars are loaded with multiple sensors so that it can take in everything that’s happening around the car and use AI to make the necessary adjustments. With the help of AI, these smart vehicles are able to interpret and process data – like speed, road conditions, pedestrians, traffic, and act accordingly. An example is a car stopping when a person is its path, or even a self-parking car.
Companies like Cruise, Motional, Waymo (Google’s self-driving car project), Tesla and more, are betting big on automatous cars in the future.
The financial sector is a data rich sector, which heavily relies on accuracy, real-time reporting and high volumes of quantitative data. Over the past few years, this sector has taken on automation, chatbots, adaptive intelligence, algorithmic trading and machine learning into financial processes.
You may have heard of robo-advisors. They are basically an automated portfolio manager that takes in relevant economic and financial data with AI, to make smarter investment decisions on your investment portfolio. It essentially replaces the traditional human advisor, and saves both the company and client’s time and money, and produces better results too!
Companies like StashAway, Syfe, AlphaSense are challenging the status quo in the finance space with AI.
AI is proving to be a game changer in this industry. From robot-assisted surgeries to safeguarding private records against cyber criminals, hopefully with AI, it will also help eliminate inefficient processes and bring down the ever skyrocketing medical costs.
According to Accenture, AI-enabled virtual assistants are reducing unnecessary hospital visits and giving nurses 20% of their time back in the process. Workflow assistants are helping doctors free up 17% of their schedules. Pharmaceutical companies are researching lifesaving medicines in a fraction of the time and cost it traditionally takes.
Remote monitoring devices, electronic health data collection, telemedicine, clinical diagnosis machines and even robot doctors are transforming the field of medicine in ways not seen. The use of AI in health data collection is enabling those data to be used to seek the personalise treatments. Remote monitoring devices is enabling patients to get their lives back because they no longer need to be confined to the hospital for monitoring. All these are leading to better quality care and life for patients.
Companies like Covera Health, PathAI, and others have incorporate AI into healthcare to improve diagnoses accuracy and treatment.
AI has also found its way into monitoring simple hygienic practices like hand washing which Apple has incorporated into its system, something which can make a difference during the pandemic.
A new landscape is being defined by the rapid digitalisation of the many aspects of our lives. The complexities of the digital world makes it quite impossible for human defenders to keep up with the security threats. Hence, AI has become a vital component in keeping up with the cyber threats. AI enables quick responses to any out of the ordinary behaviour and will execute automated responses to contain the threats.
Even in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian conflict, AI is deployed in weapons and also identifying the enemies through face recognition technology. Drones which can take off and land autonomously, use laser guided bombs to hit enemies. AI is also roped in to analyse open source intelligence from social media to fact check claims.
In time to come, the data will also be useful for war crime prosecution. It is also capable of making propaganda and creating deepfakes.
It is without a doubt that AI will continue to drive massive innovation which will change our lives. Will it mean the replacement of humans by machines? I doubt it. Innovation will continue, accompanied and complimented with the use of AI. Machine learning will improve and increase efficiency for sure. The quality of life will continue to get better too. The adage there’s not time like the present will continue to hold true with each innovation for those in that particular present. The advances will keep coming – no question about that.
What we humans will probably need to do is adapt to the changes. It’s quite certain that there will be a need to redefine the kind of skills we require in this changing landscape. However, just like many things that has faded into historical records because they were made redundant by innovations, one thing that has remained constant is how those who can adapt will continue to thrive too. Hence, AI impacts our lives not only by imprpvomg quality but also challenges us to change or catch up with those very changes too.