AI lives everywhere but may be one of technology’s most misunderstood fields of research.
AI may be the most disruptive technology of all time and likely to spark a new industrial revolution. AI can be found everywhere now, from researcher’s labs to your living room. It is helping security firms autonomously detect and mitigate cyber attacks, its helping militaries detect incoming threats, and Alexa is filling your room with music.
AI has taken jobs from humans already and will continue to do so as it becomes more widely-adopted and effective. But with job loss comes job gain and many developed countries’ AI sectors are attracting talent from all over the world and companies such as Oracle have started to expand their AI base as opportunities increase and development thrives.
For most people their first encounter with a form of AI will be through smart home devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home. These smart assistants rely on accurate voice recognition to relay data from the Internet, whether that’s in the form of answers to questions, queries about the weather, or playing songs from a music streaming platform. Although data analysis of this kind is relatively surface level, devices such as these give us a glimpse of the everyday role that AI could one day play.
A useful way of looking at AI is to look at how it is deployed. Applied or ‘narrow’ AI refers to machines built for specific tasks. This has been the most successful application of the technology within an industry, allowing systems to make recommendations based on past behavior, ingesting huge quantities of data to make more accurate predictions or suggestions. Despite this narrow form of AI being brilliant in its own field, it isn’t designed to perform day to day decision-making.
General AI remains the realm of science fiction. Instead of being trained to perform one task very well, like applied (or narrow) AI, general AI would see a machine able to perform any task a human can. This would involve, for instance, it being able to learn a lesson from one type of situation and apply that lesson to an entirely new situation. While general AI is generating a lot of excitement and research, it is till a long way off.
Regardless of whether AI in its present basic form is handling simple tasks today, or future uses for AI are being developed in the laboratory, its clear that this unique technology will increasingly impact human lives for the foreseeable future.