From brain to computer: The future of AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) – two words that have simply impacted the future of almost every industry and every human being in one way or another. Acting as the main driver of emerging technological advancements like big data, robotics, and Internet of Things (IoT), AI has and will continue to be an accelerator of innovation for the foreseeable future.

Projected to have a lasting impact on just about every industry imaginable, AI has already started to subtly share a part of our lives through our smart devices, cars, healthcare system, and favorite apps, stamping its presence and evolving further into many other industries for the foreseeable future.

AI is the very foundation of machine learning. Through AI, computers have the ability to leverage massive amounts of data and apply their learned intelligence to make efficient decisions and discoveries in a fraction of the time it takes an average human to do the same. As an undeniable testimony to its calibre, one can say that AI is becoming responsible for creating advanced medical breakthroughs, from cancer research to cutting-edge climate change research.

It is quite hard to pinpoint a major industry that modern AI – more specifically, “Narrow AI,” which is known to perform objective functions using data-trained models – hasn’t already affected. With data collection and analysis ramping up considerably in line with robust IoT connectivity, the advancement of connected devices and ever-speedier computer processing techniques become evident day by day.

Both the beginner sectors who are at the start of their AI journey as well as the veteran AI moguls have a long way to go. Regardless, the impact AI has on our present-day lives is hard to ignore. Here’s why.

  • Transportation: Give it a decade, or even two. Autonomous driving isn’t far from conception. Soon, mankind will find itself an unmanned mode of transportation that is solely spearheaded by AI
  • Manufacturing: AI combined with the power of predictive analysis sensors have given birth to an entirely new possibility of powered robots working alongside humans. They are programmed to perform a limited range of tasks like assembly and stacking, and the aforementioned technologies ensure the equipment keeps running smoothly
  • Healthcare: In the field of healthcare, AI can be considered comparatively nascent, but has managed to awespire the leaders of science. Diseases are accurately diagnosed at a faster pace, surgical capabilities, and medicinal discovery are sped up and streamlined, virtual nursing assistants constantly monitor patients, and big data analysis has taken a leap in helping create a more personalised patient experience
  • Education: From digitised textbooks, virtual tutors, and even facial analysis systems that gauge the emotions of students to help determine who’s struggling or bored, AI has paved a way to create better and tailored experiences to both students’ and tutors’ needs
  • Media: Journalism is leveraging its fair share of AI too, and will continue to benefit from it. One of the most inspiring examples is how Bloomberg uses cyborg technology to help make quick sense of complex financial reports
  • Customer service: Last but never the least, Google itself is working on an AI assistant that can assist in placing calls to, say, make appointments with your doctor. The assistant is being programmed to not only understand words, but also to comprehend context and nuances. How exciting is that?

But even these advances are only the tip of a very large, tech-based, innovation-driven iceberg: There’s much more to come.

With companies spending nearly $ 20 billion collective dollars on AI products and services annually; tech giants like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Amazon spending billions to create those products and services; universities making sure to include AI as a more prominent part of their curriculum (i.e. MIT is investing $ 1 billion on a new college that teaches computing with a primary focus on AI); and the US Department of Defence stepping up its AI game, big things are bound to happen.

For example, to address these problems, Samsung Research seeks to use domain knowledge in addressing the conventional limitations of deep learning, namely the data volume requirement and long training time. This can also greatly help to ensure stability towards contingencies and unforeseen malicious attacks. Samsung aims to provide innovative user experiences by accurate recognition of user status and intent through multimodal cognitive and advanced reasoning technologies.

Some of these impressive developments are still on their way to being fully realised. While some concepts are theoretical and may continue to remain so, the others are sure to disrupt the norm for better.

AI’s impact on the workforce

At a lecture at Northwestern University, AI mogul Kai-Fu Lee shared his insights on many championing features of AI technology and its stamping impact on the future, while also making sure to share its side effects and limitations. He had shared that the bottom 90%, especially the bottom 50%, of the world in terms of income or education will be badly hurt with job displacement. When asked how routine a job is, he believes the answer will determine how likely it is to be a job that will be replaced by AI. This is because within the routine task, AI learns to optimise itself.

Activities like separating things into bins and answering customer service calls are very much scripted – they are repetitive and routine in nature. They can be easily displaced by AI in a matter of just 10 to 15 years. Even in the warehouses of the online giant Amazon, picking and packing functions are still performed by humans, but this will soon change.

Ease the burden: An AI-powered workforce’s woe

Regardless of its supreme capabilities that even takes some industries for a spin, AI sometimes can be quite useless in some areas of life, two of which are creativity and the lack of capacity for compassion or love.

Those with jobs that require the repetition of routine tasks must learn new skills so as to not be left behind by the sweeping waves of innovation. Amazon, a guru at speculating industry norms, even offers its employees money to train for jobs at other companies.

Future ramifications of AI

AI poses as a catalyst affecting sustainability, climate change, and environmental issues on a grand scale. Through the use of sophisticated sensors, cities are expected to become quite less congested, much less polluted, and ideally more livable. Inroads are already being made.