Artificial Intelligence: Revolutionising today, shaping tomorrow

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Artificial Intelligence: Revolutionising today, shaping tomorrow

Who hasn’t heard of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Well yes, everyone has; it is perhaps the most astounding and revolutionary invention in the field of advanced technologies. This is so even while the current array of AI applications happens merely to be, what can be called, the tip of the AI iceberg. It is all but intriguing to observe how this fascinating technology has disrupted virtually every domain of human activity, especially industries and businesses despite being at a relatively early stage of its evolution.

Who hasn’t heard of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Well yes, everyone has; it is perhaps the most astounding and revolutionary invention in the field of advanced technologies. This is so even while the current array of AI applications happens merely to be, what can be called, the tip of the AI iceberg. It is all but intriguing to observe how this fascinating technology has disrupted virtually every domain of human activity, especially industries and businesses despite being at a relatively early stage of its evolution.

For the beginners’ sake, let us first define AI.

Modern dictionary definitions term AI as a subfield of computer science and focus on how machines, imitating human intelligence can become human-like to perform tasks the way humans do.

The English Oxford Living Dictionary defines AI as, “The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”

Merriam-Webster provides the following definition of AI:

  1. A branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behaviour in computers.
  2. The capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behaviour.

Amazon which has a heavy and critical reliance on machine-learning systems (a subset of AI) defines AI as “the field of computer science dedicated to solving cognitive problems commonly associated with human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving, and pattern recognition.” 

Artificial Intelligence, it should be noted works in close association of Machine Learning to perform its plethora of operations. Machine Learning helps machine in “learning” from the data provided to it by AI tools, thus making them “intelligent”. The importance of machine learning has mentioned by Amazon as: “Without ML, couldn’t grow its business, improve its customer experience and selection, and optimize its logistic speed and quality.”

AI classification; Types of AI

To determine the AI categories and classify them into different types, we use the criteria of the degree to which it makes machines emulate human-intelligence-based functioning. In other words, we first learn the extent to which an AI system or AI-enabled machine can replicate human capabilities – “ feel” and “think” for its task performance. The 7 different types of AI which we discuss below have been based on the differentiation drawn on the basis of how a machine compares and performs akin humans in terms of versatility and proficiency.

1.    Reactive Machines

These constitute the oldest forms of AI systems with basic and extremely limited capability. Though like the human brain they respond to various stimuli, these machines are found lacking in memory-based functionality. This implies that the AI capability in the machines cannot use its previously gained experiences to guide or inform their current actions. Hence, this type of AI is devoid of “learning” ability. And cannot automatically respond to new inputs from the external environment. The best-known example of a reactive AI machine is IBM’s Deep Blue, which in 1997 famously beat chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov.

2.    Limited Memory

Limited memory AI-based possess the capability of learning from past historical data and performing decision-making tasks based on this learning. Nearly all the current day applications we know of today fall under limited memory AI. The existing systems in operations today, such as the ones using deep learning are trained by large swathes of training data that get stored in their memory. The training helps form a reference model for decision-making or solving future problems in the presence of a new set or sets of stimuli. A well-known example of this type of AI is – image recognition technology, wherein AI-enabled software is trained using hundreds and thousands of images. Labels are made to teach the machine to name objects it scans in the future. Nearly all the present-day AI applications, ranging from chatbots and virtual assistants to driverless vehicles use limited memory AI for their operations.

3.    Theory of Mind

While the usage of the previous two types of AI is rife in various businesses and industries, the next two types are still in their evolving stages. Researchers are currently involved with the Theory of mind AI, the next level of AI-powered systems. A theory of mind type or level AI seeks to better understand and interact with foreign entities with abilities to discerning their needs, beliefs, emotions, beliefs, and thoughts. A branch of Theory of mind that is budding and shaping in a significant way is artificial emotional intelligence. All in all, the challenges posed for Theory of Mind AI are formidable since scientists need to develop applications and programmes that successfully understand humans, perceiving their minds as shaped by multiple factors.

4.    Self-aware

Self-aware type of AI represents the highest level of AI evolution. This final stage of AI development currently exists only in theory and hypothesis. Once developed and in operation, it will be almost like the human brain with in self-awareness abilities. To create such AI capacity is a herculean task, which may take decades of scientific research and perseverance, if not centuries. This type of AI will not only be able to evoke emotions in external “objects”, but will also have beliefs, emotions, needs, and even potentially desires of its own. Just like humans. The development of such AI systems, as some say, could make our existence complex, and it could even be the cause of some kind of catastrophe. 

Tech experts like to use an alternate system of AI classification, whereby, AI is classified into:

  • Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI)
  • Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)
  • Artificial Superintelligence (ASI)

Applications Of AI

(AI) is perhaps the most transformative advanced technology of the day. Its transformative applications are not in the mere confines of the global tech giants or blue-chip companies. If you thought otherwise, think again. AI is also percolating down to mid and small scale industries to transform their businesses. This disruptive phenomenon is being witnessed across the industrial and business landscapes, globally speaking.

Broadly, applications of AI in different sectors such as manufacturing, finance, medicine, banking, communication among various others are in two ways: 

  • Employing AI to create intelligent products and services 
  • Employing AI to design intelligent business processes  

Let’s examine these two critical uses in more detail.  

Intelligent products and services  

AI aims to make so that they can think and perform tasks like humans do (or even better). The immense and the growing popularity of devices like smartphones, smartwatches and smart fitness thermostats reflect the whole-hearted acceptance of products driven by AI that is making life easier, smarter, more connected and better streamlined.  

No wonder then that businesses are increasingly adopting AI and algorithms churned out by AI to make their products and services more intelligent. Google’s search algorithms, for instance, serves as an excellent and obvious example of an AI-driven tool. Amazon’s Alexa similarly, is an AI tool. Social media platforms and online retail shopping sites like Amazon also rely heavily on AI.  

ByteDance, a Chinese start-up with its product, TikTok lets users make and share short videos was one among the most downloaded apps in 2018. Currently, it is a rave among millions of users. Another ByteDance product is Toutiao; it uses a combination of data generated from search engines, social media and news, and has been referred to as ‘Buzzfeed with Brains’. Using AI, it displays a continuous stream of content based on what platform believes is in tune with what the user wants. Services like this know you as a user and bring forth content based on its analysis of your likes and preferences. 

In the world of transport, vehicle driving and operations are getting increasingly eased out, thanks to AI. Vehicles can perform several tasks autonomously such as suggesting perfect parallel parking etc. Today, companies like Amazon are developing and even rolling out autonomously driven cars. 

Intelligent business processes  

Among several other fields, finance has been quick in lapping up AI tools. Take, for example, Experian, a credit reference agency that uses AI to interpret its large swathes of data to make quicker and smarter decisions on credit scores and other important tasks. American Express is also deploying AI extensively to detect frauds transactions in real time. 

The field of manufacturing has benefited tremendously from Predictive maintenance based on AI-optimised software processes. Sensors are used for constant vehicle monitoring and the data derived from them helps to predict when parts are likely to fail. Volvo relies heavily on this technology for the maintenance of its vehicles. 

With the help of AI’s natural language processing abilities, chatbots are developed and these have acquired a pretty mainstream status today. These typically chats or messages and customers to fulfil or resolve their needs in real time. 

AI – What lies ahead

Transportation: Though we already have autonomous cars, it will take decades to make them perfectly workable on the roads.

Manufacturing: AI-powered robots will work alongside humans, performing a plethora of tasks on shop floors.

Healthcare: we should see diseases diagnosed more quickly and accurately, more revolutionary research and drug discovery and virtual nursing assistants to monitor patients.

Education: Facial recognition can help virtual tutors assist human instructors to gauge the emotions of students and in turn, make the classes more interesting accordingly.

Media: Currently, The Associated Press employs the natural language abilities of Automated Insights, producing 3,700 earning reports stories annually. Similar developments are expected in the coming future. 

Customer Service: Google is currently working on an AI assistant who can make human-like calls for appointments in places like beauty salons etc. Such fascinating developments are expected in the near future.

We may not understand the whole science of algorithms behind them, but we pretty well embracing them. However, neither we, the lay people nor experts like software and machine learning engineers can predict exactly how AI will shape up to change our future world. For now, we are all happily enjoying the benefits AI bestows on us.