Just to be clear, in our everyday lives there’s some form of artificial intelligence being utilized to help with our needs. Sometimes we don’t even realize that this is AI and how it does benefit us. It doesn’t come in the sense that we’re in a simulation a la The Matrix, but that they are tools to help us process out our large amounts of data, and provide actionable and organized information.
Existing methods of AI primarily discussed and used today
There are two major instances where we see AI being used in our day to day, and they are technically a precursor to true AI. These are Machine Learning and Deep Thinking.
This is where we as humans stop trying to compute things either in our brains or on a computer and let the computer handle the processing of information. This is where terms such as data analytics or Business Intelligence come into play.
Yet those are limited only to sift through information and have a human use that information to make strategic decisions. Machine learning uses that data to change how it operates and works on becoming a much more efficient machine.
To relate this to current practices, consider Google's image search and translation functionality. These are both continuously learning how to offer the best result from the input that it's given. The more these products are used, the more refined the search becomes because the system is learning.
Whereas Machine learning requires input that leads to several iterations of refinement, deep learning starts to take the input information and creates its own efficiencies. It’s basically the next step from machine learning.
Consider those chatbots that appear on many sites that enable communication. The more these are used, the more the chatbots will know how to reply to queries they come across. That's a rudimentary example, so let's take a look at self-driving cars. This is where there are multiple inputs coming in, from weather conditions, to driving conditions, speed, other cars on the road, different traffic signs to recognize, the list goes on.
Through actual practice, these machines end up figuring out the best way to drive the car, based on the predictability and probabilities that occur when driving.
If given enough time we can start to have these machines think completely on their own, and calculate the probabilities of outcomes a lot faster than we can. This can help reduce things such as car accidents because these automated cars would be programmed to already drive safer and watch out for the numerous possibilities. The more of these we get on the road, the more ‘safer’ drivers there would be.
This can be transposed to all types of high-risk jobs such as heavy machinery used in factories, or even remote jobs such as oil rigging.
How it can help you today
In essence, AI today helps in two major ways and that is through automation and recommendation. With the automation portion, it can help to handle and run processes much faster than humans can, while at the same time being able to adapt and consistently become more efficient across the board.
Through the recommendation system, it can help either recommend the latest products to a retail online shopper, or recommend the best course of action that a business should take.
Either way, these types of AI are meant to handle the grunt work, so that companies and organizations can work smarter not harder. There are topics that AI may replace certain levels of jobs that may now seem redundant.
That's true, but just like people stated robots would have taken over all the jobs by now, there's still a need for a human interface for everything. It also means there's a new set of roles coming out to help develop smarter AI or machinery that can be run better and safer.
It also helps enable people to run leaner operations when they are starting out their own business. Things ranging from customer support or marketing activities can be handled automatically and more efficiently with bots and scheduling tools to handle what replies should be made for support, and how/when the marketing campaigns should be deployed.
This frees up those starting out or those trying to grow, to reinvest their resources in other more necessary areas such as expanding their product variety or expanding their tech infrastructure to handle more customers instead. AI is helping those, some without even knowing it, to be empowered to build and create their own businesses.
It helps established businesses learn to pivot in certain directions when their business revenues start to reach certain stability. This helps businesses diversify how they generate income and enables them to expand with new staffing and opportunities.
These shifts and pivots would have taken exponentially longer without the data sets and forecasting being completely automated. With automation, a lot of these tools can also help predict which direction of business will be the most profitable because it's taking in the history of past businesses and their attempts at pivoting to these new businesses!
Medical areas benefit too
The medical and pharmaceutical industry really benefits from AI, because there are numerous simulated scenarios that can be run at the same time, to help predict how certain pandemics or diseases may react.
Running through these possible scenarios is one thing, but with proper AI it helps to shift the model as needed to make the scenario as realistic and organic as possible. This helps medical professionals develop medicines and vaccines at a higher rate, due to the fact that they can run the necessary permutations much faster.
As we continue to make medical advances, especially with mapping our genome and DNA properly more every day, the power of AI will technically be able to find cures for specific DNA, meaning eventually there’ll be a day where your medical treatment is completely custom for your DNA make and model so to speak. That may seem a bit far off, but it’s not as science fiction as it used to be believed back in the day.
What about the rise of the machines?
Of course, there's philosophical discussion out there of what would happen if we developed such an artificial intelligence that can produce its own thoughts and eventually decide we as a species are no longer needed? We've gotten pretty close and the world is still here. It's moot to focus on what can be when we can see all the benefits today. We are able to eliminate jobs that were literally placeholders for humans to simply do something (think transaction processors of old).
We also continue to increase our interconnectivity through new technological and social media channels. Those are also built on AI-based thinking to help bring connections easier and even develop new forms of careers and businesses that were never even considered possible as early as a decade ago.
The business landscape itself allows for local companies to go global overnight, and the recent pandemic has taught us that we don’t need to be zip code locked to be able to have a fruitful and successful career.
A lot of that is thanks to AI tools that help process information a lot faster than we can and help us to be able to become inspired to run businesses in a different way.