The future is here. AI is taking off and we are at ground zero of this data and intelligence revolution. Artificial intelligence is eking into our lives and it’s only going to speed up and gain even more traction. Don’t worry! This isn’t Terminator 2, the machines aren’t here to rise up against us! AI is going to make our lives easier, freeing up time to get back to the essence of what it means to be human: love, social interaction, and leisurely pursuits.
Today we take a closer look at artificial intelligence and machine learning, the current state of AI, big players in the space, and some predictions for the very near future. Have a read and see how this amazing technology is going to disrupt the world and transform all of our lives.
What is artificial intelligence and machine learning?
While the terms artificial intelligence and machine learning are often used interchangeably, they are similar and yet different concepts. In the scope of current technologies and products, AI is simply smart products that are able to mimic human behaviour, such as a car seeing a pram on the street and swerving to avoid it. These software systems may have hard coded backends, algorithms expertly created by software developers.
Machine learning is a particular branch of AI that involves software that is fed massive amounts of datasets, adjusting its own algorithms to become “smarter” and more granular in the application of their purpose, thanks in no small fact to human correction when they are wrong. You’ll see examples of machine learning in places such as Facebook’s facial recognition feature, which can suggest your friends’ names to tag, when these friends appear in your photos. You’ll probably notice that this feature has gotten better over time, too – something that machine learning algorithms are trained to do.
How AI is already creeping into our lives
We’ve already mentioned a couple of examples of AI in practice – both in self-driving cars and in facial recognition systems in social media. However, there are plenty of other applications that have been around for some time now, and are becoming the norm – and getting smarter.
Many people use intelligent personal assistants like Siri, Google, and Cortana to help them achieve simple tasks and research simple facts via voice operated queries connected to the internet. While the results aren’t always what you’re looking for, or are misunderstood, these intelligent virtual assistants are becoming more adept at their jobs. When you’re able to ask Siri to book you on the cheapest flight from LA to Sydney within the next month in a window seat and she nails it, you’re all paid up with tickets in your email in seconds, we’ll know that these personal assistants are really hitting their strides – and making life that much more efficient and streamlined.
AI is already helping savvy marketers create more clever campaigns and send out content to people at just the right times. When applications like Marketo’s ContentAI can recommend the best content for your audience, display the right content to the right people, and learn what campaigns are working for which people when, it makes a marketer’s job that much easier – and they can get back to creating quality content that resonates with their audiences more than ever before.
Online casinos are already using AI to cleverly weed out poker and blackjack “bots” who play against human players online, making it safer for us to gamble knowing there’s a human at the other side when we place our no deposit bets.
AI and big data: what’s the state of play?
These applications of AI in practice are just the tip of the iceberg for what’s in store for AI. Automation is poised to shake up almost every industry as well as everyone’s everyday personal lives.
Artificial intelligence is hot among the key tech companies in the world. Pivotal companies such as Google, Amazon, Oracle, and Apple are spending billions on AI, including acquiring plenty of smart startups that are coming up in the space.
What’s important to notice about this it that these companies are the companies that have almost unfettered access to much of the world’s data. While we may be getting upset about the Cambridge Analytica data “breach” over at Facebook, these companies have had access to a great deal of our data for many, many years.
Big data sets, such as the ones that these companies have access to, form the backbone of AI, and in particular machine learning, solutions. The old adage that knowledge is power certainly applies to big data, too. These companies wield a great deal power within the AI space: they are the ones that will be able to develop the best, most advanced solutions, simply because they have access to the most data.
What AI solutions are on the horizon for these tech giants?
These tech companies will be looking to serve up AI solutions for both individuals as well as enterprise clients. Google may well be on the cusp of a solution to translate languages in real time. This would mean that you could have a conversation with someone of an entirely different language simply by speaking naturally with an earpiece in your ear, so their reply could quickly be spoken back to you and understood. This has wide ranging implications for globalization, in particular trade. Imagine if language was never a barrier? Trade deals could easily be accomplished without interpreters, you could easily fall in love with someone from far away and live a life together, while never ever needing to learn a new language.
We could imagine a brighter, greener future, with zero road accidents when driverless vehicles are the only vehicles on the road. Vehicle ownership will be a thing of the past, electric cars will be cleaner for the environment, and fatalities would drop to zero. It’s not that hard to think that in 20-30 years this will be the exact case all around the world.
What AI solutions are going to become prevalent for niche industries?
There are some pretty pivotal industries in which AI is going to really make an impact. In financial markets, AI will be able to accurately market forecasts, even stretching out to the future. Inputs like world leaders’ temperaments, logistics systems of oil in the Middle East, and possible drought in Asia could be used to predict markets. Finance companies are well aware of this and have some of the best and brightest already on this task.
Imagine being able to always look fantastic leaving the house. With intelligent clothing shopping assistants, you’ll have clothes that fit you perfectly, in colours and styles to suit your body, delivered to your door from worldwide manufacturers whenever you feel like adding to your wardrobe.
How about a food delivery service that reads your patterns and can order food to your door right when you’re hungry, with just the right meal, without you even having to lift a finger? Hey, it’s all possible – this could just be the state of things to come.
There’s no denying that clever AI is still just a toddler learning to walk. That being said, it’s coming along at a rapid rate – which you can tell by investor interest in the field. We should all look forward to this interesting change in how the world will operate, as it’s sure to completely shake things up. Are you looking forward to the future? Are you looking forward to AI?