The concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been hard to understand since its emergence. When asked about AI, the average person can confuse it with high-powered robots from TV shows and ideas from Elon Musk. Depictions in popular culture such as Terminator or “Star Trek” do little to demystify the myth. In the boardroom, executives when asked about AI know for certain that they want the technology a part of their organization but lack more than cursory knowledge as to how it operates. The mystery surrounding the term enables those cautious of advancements in technology to issue warnings that AI will dominate humans, endanger individual freedom, and destroy the remaining shreds of any personal privacy we have through a digital coup.
But does the emergence of AI signify the decline of human intellectual freedom? To make that determination, a definition of AI needs to be established. At a basic level, AI is a way to replicate human intelligence in machines. Since the 1950s, every attempt by a scientist at AI was to answer the fundamental question, “Can machines think?”.
The pioneer of AI was Alan Turing. In the 1950s, he was credited with engineering “thinking machines” that were capable of reasoning at a human being level. The “Turing Test” was used to see if computers could do reasoning puzzles as well as humans to be assessed as “having a human capacity for contemplation, judgment, and intention”. Further scientific research would separate the actions and the behavior of computers to see if they could simulate thinking humanly and rationally as well as acting humanly and rationally. Such developments as white label AI and artificial neural network would come to define the leading edge of the field.
How Is Artificial Intelligence Measured?
There are different metrics by which AI is measured, one of which is intentionality. AI algorithms are designed to make decisions with real-time data. Insights derived from unstructured, semi-structured, or structured data can be used to do instant analysis to reach decisions. The dynamic nature of AI inputs differentiates them from passive machines that are only capable of predetermined responses. The intentionality of AI machines
makes them pliable to human values. Unlike popular culture and imagination, there is little risk of AI posing a risk to human beings. The presence of AI helps and augments human capabilities rather than endangers them.
Another feature of AI is intelligence. Oftentimes, AI is used with machine learning and data analytics to look for underlying trends. Identifying such patterns leads researchers to intelligent decision-making on specific issues.
Having intelligent design is important for another AI criteria which is adaptability. AI systems are dynamic, they must learn and adapt to incoming information and factor it into decisions. As circumstances and conditions shift, AI algorithms must adjust to new changes and update to reflect them.
Artificial Intelligence Examples
While the perception of AI varies from the average person to the executive, there are everyday uses and examples of AI that often go unnoticed by the untrained eye. Here are some common uses of the technology:
Smartphones have become ubiquitous since their inception. Everyone that used an iPhone is familiar with Siri, Apple’s assistant. Siri is a pseudo-intelligent digital personal assistant that is a great example of machine learning (ML) technology. With every use, Siri gets smarter when it comes to the user’s requests to send messages, add events to the calendar, and find information.
Alexa from Amazon is the smart home hub that has been made welcome in many homes. It is a good example of AI because it can recognize and decipher speech from anywhere in the room. It helps us do every day, useful tasks such as schedule appointments and set alarms so we could focus on more value-added tasks around the home.
These self-driving vehicles are not just a glimpse of the future but also a great example of AI in action. Due to their over-the-air updates, Tesla cars get smarter as you get a better driving experience.
Amazon started as a bookseller and has turned into the number one shopping destination on the internet powered by AI.
While it cannot predict and ship products to us before we even know we need them it is not too far off yet. Amazon’s AI algorithms can predict a lot of purchasing behavior based on a consumer’s online behavior. The massive amount of data that Amazon collects refines the algorithms with predictive analytics.
Everyone’s favorite home movie app relies on AI to make decisions on what movies to suggest. Collecting billions of records, Netflix suggests movies based on consumer’s previous reactions and viewing history. As the data set grows so does the accuracy of personal predictions for Netflix users.
This is a beloved music app that is used by many people to curate musical playlists. Pandora analyzes songs and “musical DNA” to personalize recommendations for people using AI. Such a level of personalization is what attracts users to adopt the app and customize the experience.
Artificial Intelligence & NLP
AI is a broad term that encompasses how machines simulate human intelligence. While there are different levels of AI, such as weak AI and strong AI, there are also subsets of the technology such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML).
AI powers systems that mimic cognitive abilities, like learning and solving problems. To master such tasks, NLP capabilities help computers understand and translate the human language. While AI and NLP cannot yet interpret the nuance and context of the text, the machine can translate, extract keywords, classify topics, and map content.
NLP is also used as a capability in data analytics tools that perform content analysis. It can be used to analyze large batches of content to map relationships, assign responsibility, and extract insights. This enables businesses to gain valuable insights, move the business forward and scale.
Artificial Intelligence Benefits
AI Benefits At Work
The evolution of technology has benefited society on a large scale. Specifically, AI has moved the economy forward by ushering in a new era of work. Robots and AI make work more efficient by augmenting capabilities and automating redundant tasks. By utilizing machine learning, AI improves over time making a business more efficient at using resources and scaling. It reduces the margin of human error and uses data patterns to cut costs. These advancements can benefit an array of industries from scientific research where researchers use AI to map cancer cells to space exploration companies where futurists design rockets that land on Mars. There are plenty of enhanced capabilities and opportunities powered by AI in the future.
AI Benefits At Home
The reach of AI extends beyond the economy into the home of the everyday individual. AI makes everyday life more efficient and information more accessible, it helps people create new opportunities in their environment. As a result, it improves job satisfaction, savings, and revenue generation.
As mentioned in the examples of AI like Pandora and Netflix, AI uses search algorithms to provide targeted information for a better user experience. Whether listening to music or watching a show, the presence of AI guarantees that these lifestyle choices will be curated. Also, AI in the home handles mundane tasks such as data entry and answering emails freeing up the individual to pursue their interests in their free time.
The proliferation of AI is innovation. Just like electricity marked an era of human progress, so does the evolution of AI expand human creativity and ingenuity by automating the redundant and mundane tasks necessary for accomplishing a greater vision. When the power of the human mind and the efficiency of AI collaborate the quality of human life improves.
Industries That Use Artificial Intelligence
Given the plethora of AI benefits on the economy, numerous industries have adopted the technology into their business practices.
Here are some examples:
Healthcare was one of the early adopters of AI given its far-reaching benefits in the medical field. AI has been used for: digital consultations, robotic surgery, data, and health record-keeping, and changing the service delivery in the healthcare setting.
In some ways, all the departments in the business support marketing in the brand-building activities. Some of the marketing initiatives such as A/B testing can be automated with AI to figure out the best possible ad copy combination that would work.
Robots are used to fill in the gap between reading and social skills for students and students with disabilities. Smart scheduling assistants are used to schedule parent-teacher conferences, so a student’s needs are addressed consistently.
4. Retail And Ecommerce
AI-powered tools are used by e-commerce companies to manage sales and inventory. AI chatbots can interact with customers managing the customer service experience and boosting sales.
These days, AI is more than just a page out of a science fiction book. It has become ingrained in our society to empower the individual and the business to make progress and to move forward. From healthcare to tech, from smart driving cars to smart phones, AI touches every corner of our lives with computer intelligence that simulates our own intelligence so it could make our experience better in the moment.