Artificial Intelligence: The Second Coming of SoftwareGary Williams
It’s been a long time coming but artificial intelligence is here with us. From personal interactions such as Google Assistant on Android smartphones to autonomous cars. It all started in 1956 but it was all baby steps at the time and now, artificial intelligence continues to prove its importance in today’s world.
For the longest time, people associated AI with sci-fi movies such as Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot to HBO’s Westworld. Today, the same scenes witnessed in these movies are a reality. Businesses are breaking their bank accounts to incorporate the latest AI technology to improve sales and customer service among others in a bid to stay ahead of the competition.
Artificial Intelligence: The Definition
It’s vital to understand what AI is all about before diving into the nuts and bolts of how it’s transforming the business world. Artificial intelligence is a broad term but the simplest definition is computer software with the ability to perform like humans. This includes problem-solving, planning and learning.
As mentioned earlier, AI is broad with many subsections but the main focus here is how it affects business. For that, we’ll analyze two subsections critical in AI.
If you’ve been around tech news for a while, then you must have come across the term machine learning. This type of artificial intelligence is common in businesses which generate tons of data and require fast processing.
Machine learning, as the name suggests, means the machine “learns” with each set of data fed into it. This means its decision-making process will improve with each new data set. In short, the more data fed into the algorithm, the more the machine learns and the better it becomes at decision making.
A good example is with machines connected to a central station such as in a manufacturing plant. All these machines transmit a lot of data every second and this is way too much for any human to handle in a short period and give results.
Introducing machine learning to the equation can reduce the time needed to analyze the data without skipping any patterns. With this, decisions can be made in real-time and avoid chaos. However, machine learning has given rise to what is known as deep learning.
What is Deep Learning?
Deep learning is far more detailed than machine learning. The difference is that it uses neural networks to perform nonlinear reasoning. This is important where systems receive multiple unknown variables and require advanced reasoning. Most of the time, these variables require parallel analysis.
For example, the self-navigating ship currently under construction by the Japanese will need to analyze multiple variables in order to chart the best course. This includes weather, obstacles, distance and time among other variables. This will go a long way in reducing maritime accidents while improving efficiency. This is also similar to autonomous cars which need to analyze various factors within the shortest time possible in order to avoid accidents.
As you can see, deep learning is more advanced than machine learning since it can analyze multiple data sets within a short period. In addition, algorithms used in machine learning tend to stagnate once they reach a certain point (they stop “learning”).
In contrast, deep learning algorithms continue learning with more data fed to it. As a result, deep learning is more detailed and scalable and this makes them independent.
Business and Artificial Intelligence
While artificial intelligence appears superior to human intelligence, it cannot replace it, especially when it comes to common sense. Instead, it can support it. The human brain cannot analyze tons of data as fast as artificial intelligence algorithms would.
Artificial intelligence can take this data, analyze it and present it in a human understandable format to enable decision making.
One of the areas using AI is the finance and banking industry. The cybersecurity department being the biggest beneficiary. With increased online transactions, it’s only logical that identity theft and fraud cases increase. Artificial intelligence can spot and analyze patterns while flagging suspicious activities.
For example, PayPal has been able to bring down fraud rates to a mere 0.32% of its total revenue through the use of deep learning algorithms which monitor all financial transactions in real time.
Technology is also a consumer of AI apart from being the developer. From Google, IBM to Apple, the list of big tech giants using AI is endless. Some of the products these companies include virtual customer assistants using voice recognition and natural language processing to serve customers. Chatbots are also common on websites. Social media platforms such as Facebook uses facial recognition.
Energy and utilities form another industry set to incorporate AI in its operations. Despite being in its early stages, AI is set to transform the industry. For instance, the algorithms can be used in analyzing patterns in a bid to identify vulnerabilities along a power grid.
The Future of AI
It’s difficult to predict AI’s future but what’s certain is mundane tasks will become far easier to analyze through the use of computers. This means robots will be part of our day-to-day activities. Back in 1956 or even the turn of the century, it seemed impossible to have autonomous vehicles. Today, it’s a reality.
This is thanks to advanced technology such as faster GPUs which have broken the glass ceiling created by slow processors. In fact, the GPUs will only get faster, thus allowing artificial intelligence to thrive.
According to tech trends analysts, it’s possible to create a 3D display when playing a game, reading a book or even interacting with a webpage. This means instead of the display forming the primary interface, your surrounding environment will. Cool huh?
Its certain artificial intelligence is here to stay and will only become better. This is despite growing concerns over job security and whether AI could overrun human beings.
Various leading tech personalities such as Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates also voiced concern on the use of AI. Each of them sharing a concern of a time where machine intelligence may be strong enough to be a major concern.
Internet of things along with artificial intelligence can be a game changer in all aspects of life. However, as Stephen Hawking said, “The rise of powerful AI will be either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity. We do not know which.” We are yet to see its true impact.