Think of the term “Artificial Intelligence”. What comes to mind? A perfect futuristic world with self-driving cars, towering skyscrapers, and robots? Giant robots that are planning on taking over the world. Whatever it may be, many people think of a world with Artificial Intelligence as one that seems far off in the future, perhaps only achievable by the year 2500. However, there are already applications of Artificial Intelligence present in our current lives, whether we realize it or not.
Before we get into its applications, what is Artificial Intelligence? According to Techopedia, it is an area of Computer Science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. In modeling the human mind, Artificial Intelligence uses neural networks to train machines to think and act rationally. The initial idea of Artificial Intelligence was proposed by Alan Turing, a mathematician that helped break the Nazi encryption machine Enigma during World War II. Stemming from the question: “Can machines think?”, he wrote a paper called “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” (1950) which laid the foundation for what Artificial Intelligence was to become.
So how is AI used in our lives? One simple example would be on Gmail, where there are tabs at the top that filter your email into Primary, Social, and Promotions. Gmail uses AI to filter out your emails and to make sure that the emails that you actually see are authentic.
A similar email feature that is used in other email services is the spam filter where algorithms are in place to detect and filter out any spam mail.
Whenever we are going online, we are unconsciously interacting with AI by feeding in our data. When we go on YouTube and click on the videos that we want to watch, that information is plugged into YouTube’s algorithm, which is used to recommend videos to us. Similarly, when we search for a product online, Google’s algorithm learns from that information and generates ads on other websites for products that it thinks that we are interested in. According to Forbes, artificial intelligence has the potential to offer $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030 through sales generated by specific pop-up ads.
The “Internet of Things” (IoT), a network of interconnected devices that exchange data, is full of information. Artificial intelligence can go through all of that data and learn new information to make our lives easier. One practical application of this today is Google Maps, which approximates the time for you to get to a distance and how long it will take you to get there. By having the location data to your smartphone the app can compare the location of your device from one point in time to another, calculating how fast or slow you are traveling. Thus, it can determine the pace of traffic in real-time. Combined with incident reports, it can better predict how long it will take you to get from Point A to Point B.
Despite not realizing it at times, we are always interacting with Artificial Intelligence when we go online. With advanced training of neural networks through larger quantities of data, computer scientists will be able to apply AI to more aspects of our lives and make our lives easier. Maybe the vision of robots walking around the streets isn't too far off in the future after all.