WHAT IS AI AND WHY DOES IT MATTER TO YOU

What did you think of the video above? It’s pretty interesting to witness the development of these technologies and to hear predictions of where experts think it’s heading. 50 years ago, the computing power we now have was unfathomable then. Computing power has already overtaken human skill in many aspects but just how far will it go?

Let’s get a look at where we are with Artificial Intelligence in the UK so far.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is, by definition,Β the development of computer systems that are able to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, so essentially, replacing the need for human brain processing with a machine that can learn and make accurate decisions. That’s machine learning.

Examples of AI in our everyday lives

AI can be found in our everyday lives. Not just in terms of robotics but all around our digital day-to-day lives. The technology is widely used by larger organisations like Facebook, Apple and Google, to provide speech and face recognition, language translation, personal recommendations on music and film and online shopping too.

When you’re talking to your smartphone

Virtual personal assistants like Siri or Alexa use speech recognition commands that relies on machine learning technology in order to carry out a web search, make a phone call, tell you what the weather’s doing or if you have smart home automation then maybe adjust the heating or set the house alarm.

These assistants work by processing natural human speech that’s been recorded and then match it to a desired command, responding in an increasingly natural way. The large amount of data from conversations by users is also sampled to help them recognise words with different pronunciations and learn to create natural discussion.

When you’re shopping online

Do you ever get the feeling that companies like Amazon or ASOS know what you’re thinking? Well they don’t, exactly. They’re just using software that learns what you like and then shows you stuff that it thinks you’ll like to buy in the future. Think of it like a personal shopper but with less of the small talk.

Machine learning is the technology used to makes these suggestions. By analysing the data from customers who have made a purchase online before and any preferences they have selected, software can then remember patterns in the user’s behaviour. This learning will then make predictions about the products you might like.

When you’re streaming shows on TV

Streaming service providers like Netflix are able to provide highly accurate recommendations of films or TV shows based on your previous viewing history. The machine learning software used analyses your viewing habits and recognises patterns in others who have similar behaviours.

By understanding the users who watch particular shows and by using your own previous data, the software systems can easily identify your tastes. These systems are also used to suggest music choices on streaming services like Spotify and articles to read on Facebook.

When you’re using social media

Companies like Facebook are investing heavily in AI machine learning technologies. Notice how when you upload a picture to Facebook it’s able to determine exactly who’s in the picture from your friends list? That image recognition technology (check out Microsoft’s CaptionBot) has been around for a while now and is learning and improving at an impressive rate that’ll soon be able to read and process documentation more accurately.

The future of machine learning technology?

The biggest historical breakthrough in machine learning technology that we’ve seen, aside from robotics, is driverless vehicles. Their impact will be astounding; not just for personal use but in terms of commuting and haulage logistics, what with Uber striking a deal with Volvo to purchase 24,000 self-driving cars, we’re on the cusp of a transportation revolution.

The above examples are what’s happening right now. There are much cleverer examples being tested that haven’t hit the mainstream yet like better diagnosis investigation in hospitals and fraud behaviour recognition in banking. UK AI company Greenwood CampbellΒ have conceptualised the idea of AI in the futuristic video below.

Pretty out there but absolutely achievableΒ with the technology available.

What are your thoughts on Artificial Intelligence? Something to be feared or embraced? Let us know in the comments below with any other examples you might know about. Don’t forget to share with friends and family who would be interested in reading about future technologies. Thanks for reading!

A promise of quality reads for guys and girls interested in cool stuff that we all share a vested interest in writing about. As passionate supporters of mental health care, in particular the prevention of male suicide, we'll continue to promote "it's ok not to be ok" conversations.

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