Not too long ago, artificial intelligence (AI) was the subject of science fiction. Now, the modern world is growing increasingly dependent upon the abilities of these sophisticated computer programs that have the capacity to learn, use reasoning, and act without human supervision. Here are six of the most powerful applications of artificial intelligence technology that are changing our lives today.
1. Data Analytics
Arguably the most basic function of AI in the modern world is in the field of analytics. Living in an era of big data means that even though we have the information we need to discern patterns and make accurate predictions in many fields, the human mind simply can't collate and process all that information. Enter AI chips and neural network emulations which can rapidly discern patterns and form models which can vastly streamline everything from business processes to meteorology. Look for this capability to grow along with the complexity of AI systems.
Sometimes it's best to fight fire with fire. The best solution to the growing threat of malicious software like worms and viruses is often simply having a more capable program at your disposal to fight them. AI programs are good at stopping attacks by recognizing anomalies in incoming emails that could indicate malware attacks and disarming trackers embedded in income emails. With the cost of data loss around $146 per file compromised, it pays to have smart tools available to help fight back.
3. The Service Sector
You might think that the service sector is a humans-only club, but that's not necessarily the case. In fact, chatbots are beginning to take the place of human operators in customer service. A real person is still preferred by the majority of customers, but the tide of opinion is slowly shifting, with around 40% of customers now preferring a chatbot to a virtual assistant. This is largely thanks to natural language processing, which is an application of machine learning that results in programs being able to pick up on and emulate nuance and context in human speech. We're still a few decades away from robot servants, but digital AI is the next best thing.
4. Workplace Safety
AI systems are already working behind the scenes to make our workspaces safer. One AI safety solution is the use of robotics to do tasks that are dangerous for humans. Robotic systems have been used in manufacturing for some time, but now augmented reality systems are merging humans with machines. Wearable systems like Google Glass overlay digital information onto real-world perceptual data. With systems similar to this, workers in hazardous professions can see data about emerging safety issues on a heads-up display and head-off problems before they develop, all thanks to the threat assessment capability of artificial intelligence.
5. Biometric Security
The pattern-recognition capabilities of AI are being put to good use in physical biometric security systems. Physical recognition systems can analyze fingerprints, iris patterns, and even DNA to provide authentication and verification that's difficult to spoof, while behavioral recognition software looks at gait and mannerisms to locate potential threats. Similar technology is even being used in legal proceedings, where programs like COMPAS are being used to determine the likelihood of recidivism, though questions of algorithmic bias remain an issue there. Even so, the potential benefits of this technology are clear.
6. E-commerce and Media
Artificial intelligence isn't just changing how we work, but how we play. Probably the most visible use of AI in entertainment has been in the gaming industry, where it's used to create characters that can interact with (and challenge) a player on a level approaching the human. Gaming isn't the end of the story, though. AI musical composition programs, such as Watson Beat, from IBM technical, can use machine learning to actually compose music if given samples of a genre. A more objectively useful application has been the use of AI programs in object restoration and facial reconstruction, which can almost bring history to life.
As AI technology advances, its impact on our lives will only grow. It's up to this generation of entrepreneurs to leverage this innovation in ways that will make human life easier and more productive.
Related: Human-First, Not Digital-First