The Future of Artificial Intelligence(AI) In Business
April 17, 2019 14:15
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First of all, what is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
AI is a branch of computer science and is intelligence demonstrated by machines. Generally used as a way to describe a computer programme that mimics thinking, in ways that people associate with other human minds, such as learning and problem-solving.
Where did AI come from?
Artificial Intelligence started life as an academic discipline in the late 1950s, at Dartmouth College. Early advances excited researchers, but when results slowed, governments were hesitant to grant funding in favour of other research projects. This kick-started an "AI winter".
What uses AI now?
AI pervades every aspect of our day to day lives now, whether it be asking Siri on your iPhone to check something for you, or using your Nest device in your home to regulate the optimum temperature. It is employed by companies like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon to curate and caters to your every consumer need, with Amazon trying to work their AI in such a way that one day, it will know what you want to buy even before you do.
We, as consumers, use AI every day without even realising it. When you want to watch something new on Netflix, the algorithms suggest a TV show or film that you will enjoy, by using machine learning to know what you like, and what you don’t, based on how long you watch a certain thing.
It is easy to assume that AI or pseudo-AI is only used by things like Amazon and Netflix, but the applications of AI and machine learning are a lot more widespread than you think. For example, Unilever is starting to use AI when looking for potential candidates for jobs. In a report about how efficient the whole process is, they were able to show that they could process about four times as many candidates, from a much wider range of universities, as well as cutting down the recruiting process from months to a few weeks.
At digital consultancy firm Accenture, AI is being used to help employees keep track of their ongoing professional development, and highlight where and when someone might need more training or whether they might be better suited in a field that is different to the one they are currently in.
Social Media companies such as Facebook and Instagram use complex algorithms and AI, paired with machine learning, to be able to show you what you would want to see on Instagram or which of your friends you see more content from, based on how much you interact with their posts and talk to them. All that data that you enter is logged, and used, at the very least, to ‘improve’ your social media experience.
How are we going to use AI in the future?
Lots of research is already being done into how AI can be integrated into the everyday workings of the average business person. James Wilson from Accenture said on IdeaCast, the Harvard Business Review podcast, that one day, AI should be as easy for a salesperson to use as their Excel spreadsheets. And at AT&T work is being done to put in place point and click AI programmes to help their teams with the day to day working.
AI will also have a large role in the Internet of Things, with large strides made in that field already. AI will be a part of the processes that filter the data you send off via wearable technology, such as smartwatches or Fitbits.
That data is analysed and if something is out of the ordinary, then your local health provider would receive a notification and help would be sent out to you. Or, not in an emergency, your doctor will be able to analyse what you have been doing, and what might be wrong with you, before you make an appointment, and so cut down on the amount of time it takes to see a medical professional.
The point of using AI in society is to make our lives as efficient and as streamlined as possible, using less and getting more out of everything we do. AI in your thermostat will regulate the temperature, only in the rooms, you use in your house. AI in your car will determine the most cost-effective route somewhere. AI in your watch will let your house know when you're home from work and turn the heating on.
The best way to gauge whether AI has integrated itself into our day to day would be to see how invisible it is. The best and most integrated technologies seem to work behind the scenes. It will make your life easier without you even realising it.
Different countries have different priorities when it comes to the widespread implementation of AI. France, for example, will be focussing more on healthcare, and how AI can help and improve services there. Whereas in the United States, the security services and armed forces will lead the charge in research and development.
One thing is for certain, AI is the future, and our lives will be drastically changed by year on year advances. For better or for worse? That remains to be seen.