Artificial Intelligence (AI) might invoke images of a futuristic world. But far from science fiction, AI is a current technology that affects our everyday lives.
From your workday commute to online searches, AI provides tools to transform many areas of daily life. Even Spotify’s music suggestions or your Facebook newsfeed use a form of AI.
AI is the study and development of intelligent machines and computer programs. It makes it possible for machines to learn from experience. They can also adjust to new input and make decisions based on the information they are fed. AI systems are complex and mighty: they can quickly process loads of data to produce an appropriate outcome. Think about how promptly AI-powered smart assistants like Siri or Alexa reply to questions—and with accurate information.
Detailed algorithms help AI systems perform huge processing tasks. And they do it much quicker and more efficiently than human minds ever could. They assist in making advances in research and development. For example, IBM’s Watson is used to power research in different fields. Different companies and academic institutions use it for drug research. Watson for Drug Discovery helps scientists discover new drugs quicker. And it helps repurpose current drugs for better healthcare.
Examples of AI in everyday life:
- Commuting: Google uses AI-powered predictions to advise the best traffic routes. Google Maps can evaluate the speed of traffic at any instant. It does this using location data from smartphones. It can also include user-reported traffic incidents like construction and accidents. Maps can reduce commute times by suggesting the fastest routes. It saves time (and frustration) while you travel. Maps does this through vast amounts of data being fed to Google’s algorithms.
- Email: AI technology controls one of your inbox’s most essential features: the spam filter. Simple rules-based filters aren’t always effective at filtering out spam. Spammers can update their messages to work around them. So, spam filters must constantly learn from a variety of factors: the words in the message, where it is sent from, and who sent it. And from here, it must further personalize results based on what you consider spam.
- Banking: AI technology allows customers to deposit checks from their mobile phones. It also helps in fraud prevention. Many banks rely on a technology that uses AI to decipher handwriting on checks and convert them into text. AI is also used to create systems that learn what types of transactions are fraudulent.
- Social networking: Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat use AI technology. For example, Facebook uses AI to power facial recognition software. So, when you upload pictures, Facebook can highlight faces and suggest friends to tag. Facebook can also personalize your newsfeed through AI.
- Online shopping: AI is changing the way we shop online in two main areas: search and customer service. Advancements in AI now allow for visual searches. With Pinterest Lens, for example, customers can point their mobile camera at a product and do an online visual search. Chatbots are also redefining customer service online. Chatbots can help companies meet customers’ needs. For example, they can answer customers’ questions through direct message.
- Smartphone use: Voice-to-text is a fairly standard feature on smartphones. Now that technology allows for basic conversation, there is a new round of smart personal assistants. Voice assistants like Google Assistant or Samsung’s Bixby use data to understand their user’s voice commands. From here, they can perform a variety of tasks. Google Assistant can personalize responses based on your previous commands and data (like your past Google searches).
AI isn’t only around-the-corner technology (like robot maids). It makes our current lives easier by solving problems or making things more convenient. Rapid gains in AI technology are impressive. They can change industries and occupations. It’s exciting to imagine where it may go next, or what problems it will ultimately be able to solve.