A Brave New World of AI

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Unless you have been living under a rock in recent times, it is likely you have come across the term AI or Artificial Intelligence in full. This is a term that has been a big buzz-word recently whether you are talking about self driving cars or websites.

NOTE: This blog post is part of a three-part series including AI in Web and App Development and Is AI Out To Take Your Job Any Time Soon?

AI is quickly making its way into our lives. Artificial Intelligence is set to revolutionize our lives and make them immensely better. It is creeping into our lives; both being influenced by and shaped by it, creating a brave new world of AI. The interesting thing is that most of the time we are not even aware that we are interacting with Artificial Intelligence.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

I like the definition for AI according to Investopedia dot com which follows.

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving.

The ideal characteristic of Artificial Intelligence is its ability to rationalize and take actions that have the best chance of achieving a specific goal.

Areas of Artificial Intelligence Applications

In order to appreciate the scope and impact of AI, it may be beneficial to consider some of the major areas in which AI has significant applications. These are novel applications since as anyone who has ever written a computer program will tell you, it's no easy task to simulate human intelligence.

1. Automated Customer Support

Traditional customer support channels such as by telephone, email or chat take up a lot of human resources and time by staff which could be more productively used in other areas. By automating these processes, such as through the use of chatbots, business can become more productive.

2. Personalized Shopping Experience

Websites typically collect a lot of data about users such as pages visited or how much time is spent on each page. Naturally all this data requires someone to analyse and make sense of it. With AI, the analysis can be done automatically and in real time and also allows for personalized shopping experiences such as sending timely notifications and offers.

3. Health Care

AI is finding its way in all areas of health care from securing patient data against cyber criminals and assisting in surgery. AI-enabled workflows are allowing doctors to operate more efficiently by freeing up their schedules. Furthermore, by assisting pathologists, AI is enabling more accurate diagnosis.

4. Finance

Every day, Artificial Intelligence is used to assist the financial sector on real-time reporting, accuracy, and processing of large volumes of quantitative data to make crucial decisions. Because of the accuracy and efficiency of Artificial Intelligence, the financial sector is quickly implementing machine learning, algorithmic trading, adaptive intelligence, chatbots, automation and other procedures into an array of processes.

5. Smart Cars and Drones

Autonomous vehicles are prime examples of how Artificial Intelligence is impacting the automotive industry. A large segment of autonomous vehicles are connected and thus, able to share the learning with each other. This percentage is set to increase rapidly in the future.

6. Travel and Navigation

From suggesting an efficient route to home, to making travel arrangements - Artificial Intelligence is helping people in taking the big leap. When it comes to transportation, you can consider Google Maps. With AI-enabled mapping, it scans road information and utilizes algorithms to identify the optimal route to take, be it in a bike, car, bus, train, or on foot.

7. Social Media

Whilst self driving cars may seem far from home, you are likely to be impacted by Artificial Intelligence in your use of social media. Be it Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform, AI is used to influence major decisions on the platform and also for specific activities like combating spam.

8. Smart Home Devices

In the smart home, where devices automatically adjust to the needs of its inhabitants. AI efficiently coordinates that data from all the sensors to automatically adjust settings to the preferences of the house occupants.

9. Security and Surveillance

Despite the negative sentiment against it, AI in surveillance is taking off in a big way. Technologies like facial recognition and voice recognition are getting better with each passing day and AI is there to process the massive data sets needed to make this possible. 

What the Future Holds

With the ubiquity that AI has gained in recent times, you might think that Artificial Intelligence is an emerging field. The truth however is that the field of AI was formally founded in 1956. It has therefore been many years in the making and still has a long way to go.

I do not want to try and play the prophet by predicting where the field is going. For one thing, I am no expert in the field and for another, there is a lot that can happen in the next few years that I can only imagine.

One thing I can guarantee however is that the rule of convergence is going to come into play. Right now AI is operating in "puddles of spheres of influence". In the near future, I can envision Artificial Intelligence merging seamlessly with other technologies; for example AI with Robotics- That will indeed be a brave new world!

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