Surprising Things Artificial Intelligence is Used For: Forget the Big Innovations, Small Stuff Matters

You’ve probably heard the term artificial intelligence (AI) at least once over the last few years. Whether it’s the latest update to Tesla’s self-driving capabilities or a chatbot such as ChatGPT mimicking human behaviour, AI has become more commonplace in our everyday lives. However, for everyone that’s heard of the term, many people don’t know what AI is.

Creating Rational Thinkers

Moreover, even fewer people know what AI can do in various real-world settings. Let’s answer these two questions in turn. Firstly, what is AI? According to one of the so-called “founding fathers” of AI, John McCarthy, it’s the “science and engineering of making intelligent machines”. Why would we want to make machines intelligent? As noted by IBM’s breakdown of AI, we’re trying to make machines intelligent so they can perform human tasks.

Even though humans are complex and intelligent, we’re prone to irrational decisions and making mistakes. Indeed, even the most brilliant minds are flawed. Computers aren’t. Therefore, according to computer scientists Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig, AI development aims to create systems that think and act rationally.

Creating Mechanistic Humans

In other words, we want to develop programs that have neural networks like humans but aren’t subject to irrational thinking. Thus, you get computer programs that can perform tasks more effectively and efficiently than humans. This brings us to the implementation of AI.

Today, businesses around the world are embracing AI. According to data from MIT Sloan Management, 87% of global business owners believe AI will give them a competitive edge. Moreover, according to Gartner, businesses using AI services grew by 270% between 2015 and 2019. This tells us that AI is being used for the “big things” like data analysis, customer service, production lines and even medical procedures. 

However, what about the small stuff? It’s looking likely that AI will become commonplace over the next few decades, but this technology is already capable of doing things we didn’t even know we needed it for. One such example stares us in the face every day.

The Face ID feature on iPhones is powered by AI and 30,000 infrared dots are projected onto your face. These dots relay a signal to an AI program that runs the data through a series of complex algorithms. Once it’s learned the map of your face, it can’t be fooled into thinking someone else is you. As stated by Apple, the chances of fooling Face ID are approximately one in a million. 

AI is Sweating the Small Stuff

Looking at the world of business, AI can also be used to handle something as seemingly simple as branding. For example, Adventrum updated its business name generator based on open AI. Surely an entrepreneur could come up with a business name? Yes, they could. However, let’s go back to our definition of AI. This technology is designed to perform human tasks more efficiently and rationally.

Let’s say the average person could come up with five business names in a minute. However, an AI-powered business name generator can suggest 1,000+ names in a matter of seconds.. And, most importantly, these names will be based on keywords and optimised for the internet with regards to style, length and the ability to become a URL. Therefore, by adding AI to the mix, Adventrum has made the process more efficient and effective.

Away from business, AI is also capable of handling small tasks around the home. If you have a robotic vacuum cleaner, for example, it learns how to navigate your rooms through a combination of sensors and AI-driven self-learning. Then, of course, there are heating and lighting systems controlled by smart devices. Not only can AI help turn these things off and on, but systems such as Hive can also learn when you need power the most/least and program themselves automatically. 

The point here is that AI is shaping our lives in various  ways. It’s impressive when this technology is used to solve big problems. However, it’s the small stuff that will impact our everyday lives the most. By handling tasks all of us can do, but doing them more efficiently, strikes at the heart of what AI is all about. The aim is to create “smart machines” that can mimic human behaviours. That means AI needs to perform simple tasks as well as complex ones and, as we’ve shown, that’s already happening.

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