Despite Stephen Hawking’s stark warning, we are welcoming AI into ever-more corners of our lives. Often we don’t even realise it.
The phenomenon has been a long time coming. Since the dawn of the simplest video games and, before those, the earliest science fiction movies, we have understood the term ‘artificial intelligence’. Kraftwerk dedicated a career to the idea of a thinking man-machine. Fritz Lang’s classic silent film, Metropolis, showed society itself as the mainframe, 50 years or so before the German band emerged.
The list of flicks that are cautious, at best, when it comes to AI is long and distinguished. Far fewer ever seem to think AI is a good idea. Maybe it’s simply sci-fi’s penchant for pessimism and dystopia. Perhaps we really are doomed now machines can form their own plans. Irrespective, Artificial Intelligence is actually proving pretty useful for the time being.
From the kit in the cockpit of a plane, to revolutionary medical equipment and treatments, computers have some incredibly important, incredibly complex, and, perhaps most significantly, incredibly variable tasks to perform. There are plenty of less grandiose ways we’re employing A.I. too, which are also pretty handy.
The bank text
Everyone who has travelled abroad has likely received a text at one point or another from their bank. Usually immediately after trying to pay for something in a very public place, and being refused the transaction. Fraud detection has never been more observant, but it’s rarely humans picking up on the alarm bells. It takes 300milliseconds to blink, but just 40-60 for real-time fraud analysis.
Predicting the future for business
Amazon’s ‘anticipatory shopping’ is an example of how businesses can predict purchasing decisions through artificial intelligence- algorithms that understand how a choice is made, and learn about the buyer the more choices they make. The same can be said for the suggestions of Netflix, Spotify and Apple Music, or TiVo recording things it thinks you’ll enjoy.
OK, so for every good example of this there are probably five or ten bad, but that’s not the point. Many of us have interacted with customer support whilst on a company website- from quotes to flight advice. What might not have been obvious every time is that only a fraction of the URLs offering this have dedicated people on the other end- sophisticated alternatives are advanced enough to deal with you’re average enquiry.
Eat me. Drink me
Food apps that provide restaurant recommendations based on our location and previous dinners out. The beer currently being brewed in London by IntelligentX, taking customer feedback from a Facebook group to try and get the ingredient proportions and timings just right. AI, particularly in the form of a computer algorithm that learns, is actually starting to feed us…
…And that’s before we mention the fridge that orders food items you’re running low on. Or thermostats capable of telling when you’re home, adjusting the temperature accordingly. There are even lights that alter their brightness depending on what’s happening in the room and the time of day. We could go on, but you probably get the point. Then we have the small matter of Tesla’s auto pilot and self-driving cars…
What we read
Bubble Zoom is a new app that allows e-comic book readers to increase the size of speech bubbles in panels with a simple click of the volume. Google’s machine learning algorithms figure out which parts of the image are text, and set larger proportions for those without obscuring the remainder of the image. Meanwhile, the likes of AP, Fox and Yahoo! use automated writing for certain areas of content- from sports to finance- as we mentioned in our Blagger’s Blog here [LINK].