Artificial Intelligence was once just a distant dream, thought up by science fiction writers. Yet, today Artificial Intelligence is starting to truly take root in our everyday lives.
We may be quite a few years away from having robots helping out in our everyday lives, but AI already affects our lives in a more subtle way. Believe it or not, everyday technology such as weather forecasts, email spam filtering, Google's search predictions and voice recognition (Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa) are all examples of Artificial Intelligence in everyday life.
The History of Artificial Intelligence
AI is far from a new concept. Stories of such an invention go as far back as Greek antiquity. However, it was less than a century ago that technology stepped up a gear and went from creative fiction to reality.
Alan Turing, a famous British mathematician and WWII code-breaker, is widely credited as being one of the first people to come up with the idea of computers which can actively think, back in 1950. Turing even came up with the 'Turing Test' which is still used today to determine a machine's ability to 'think' like a human. Back in the 50s, Turing's ideas were ridiculed, but they truly set the wheels in motion and the term 'Artificial Intelligence' entered popular awareness in the mid-1950s after Turing died.
Then, American cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky picked up the AI torch and went on to co-found the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AI laboratory in 1959. Minksy quickly became one of the leading thinkers in the AI field thanks to his work throughout the 1960s and 70s. He even advised Stanley Kubrick on the film "2001: A Space Odyssey", which was released in 1968 and gave the world one of the best reputations of AI, in the form of HAL 9000.
Since the 1980s and the rise of the personal computer, it's taken a few decades to realise the true potential of AI and how it can help day-to-day lives. High-profile investors and physicists like Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, and Stephen Hawking, are all fuelling the conversation around AI technology. While this discussion does usually turn to potential doomsday scenarios, there is a belief that when used for good, AI could radically change the course of human history and how we live our lives.
How Can AI Change the World?
AI Virtual Assistants
Using AI, people will be able to step down on having to carry out more mundane day-to-day tasks themselves. For instance, there would no longer be the need to go food shopping or manage your messages, as your AI assistant will know exactly what to do. It could even have the potential to sort out your wardrobe and do your laundry!
Leading car manufacturers, such as Tesla, are exploring Artificial Intelligence and how it could affect self-driving capabilities.
You may not have realised, but whilst you are chilling on the couch, streaming from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, you are using Artificial Technology.
Streaming sites use a range of advanced predictive technology to suggest shows based on your viewing preferences or rating.
Many banks are beginning to use various applications of Artificial Intelligence to spot fraudulent activity. The AI software is given a very large sample of data that includes both fraudulent and non-fraudulent purchases and is trained to determine whether a transaction is valid based on data. Over time, this intelligent software becomes quick and accurate at spotting fraudulent transactions based on what it had previously learned.
Online Customer Support
You may have noticed that most websites, especially retail sites, offer some form of a 'chat' functionality which allows you, as a customer, to chat to a support representative. Though, in most instances, this representative will be a form of understanding natural language and can readily assist customers in finding out what they need, extracting information from a website and directing to the appropriate webpage/person for further support.
Preparing for AI Integration
Artificial Intelligence and technology is advancing and evolving at a rapid pace and the challenge of ensuring that you are capable of supporting and implementing Artificial Intelligence becomes a challenge. It's important to monitor how technology is developing and plan far in advance how you will adopt new technology. It will impact our industries, our homes and our health - but will also help us grow, improve and become smarter in every way.