AI is hot and happening these days. Investment activity is high. The research in AI is finding its way into real-life applications. Corporates are waking up to it and are grappling with above questions. Having leveraged AI for business applications, my attempt here is to address above questions in plain language sans buzzwords.
AI simply put is computers doing things normally done by human mind. Hence, by this definition, an AI ..:
Recognizes and understands like a humanAI technologies are attempting to provide computers the ability like human mind to recognize and understand unstructured inputs like handwritten inputs, natural language, audio, pictures, video and more. The application of these in real world are diverse:
- Understand queries in natural language. Current popular applications are personal assistants like Siri, Cortana, Google Now. However, in future it will extend to work related queries 'Which fastener should I use for ....?'
- Extract valuable data/information from handwritten documents, audio and video for analysis. Eg: Handwritten records in regulated industries, Audio and video recordings of experts and executives, Customer feedback.
- Automate management of unstructured data: Imagine an app that goes through all your pictures and videos, identifies the best moments and catalogues them in a timeline and makes a collage out of it. Or a software that organizes lifecycle data of a product/part (say car engine) from paper records and databases.
Interacts/Responds like a humanEnabling machine to converse like humans allows to automate human interaction and improve user experience.
- Customer service, service desk, 'Help and FAQ' can be automated by using chatbots which can understand and respond to queries in natural language.
- Chatbots can be used for branding. A customer can actually talk to a brand. Eg: Barbie chatbot for interaction with kids.
- Chatbots can be your concierge and advisor: Eg: Book itinerary (flights, taxi, hotel) through chat. Organize and order your shopping. Advice on preparations for special occasions.
Thinks like a humanAI technologies are adding self-learning power to computational power of machines so that they can rival humans in performing specialized tasks. The applications are diverse:
- Gaming: AI have been pitted against humans in Chess and Go. In future Gaming will include AI to make games more adaptive and engaging.
- Driving: Driverless (Tesla, Google,..) and driving assistance (Porsche) vehicles are evolving rapidly.
- Training/Assessment: Recently AI performed better when pitted against a fighter pilot in dog fight simulation. In future, one could imagine AI training humans at specific tasks and also assessing them.
- Professional services: AI is automating the knowledge and analysis work in legal and financial world. UBS and Goldman Sachs are using AI for both employees and customers.
- Automation in IT industry: Many aspects of software development and testing can be automated with AI.
- Healthcare: AI will participate/assist in diagnosis, treatment, nursing and follow-up. It will improve overall healthcare quality and reduce costs.
- Shopping: AI will learn buying preferences over time and suggest relevant and interesting products. Will benefit both shoppers and retailers alike.
- Entertainment: Insights into likes and dislikes of individuals and masses will help entertainment industry to put together better storylines and shows.
- Security: AI technologies can learn about anti social elements, terrorists, criminals from past actions and investigations; and predict their behavior and next move.
- Business decision making: Activities like processing data, mathematical analysis, applying frameworks, forecasting can be managed by AI. AI assistants to CXOs are a distinct possibility. And maybe an AI CEO in future.
Creates like a humanIt has been argued that AI can emulate human creativity and art. AI can learn and produce beautiful music, painting, poetry etc.. Recently, Google's Magenta created a 90-second piano melody. The early attempts by AI are tad simple and imperfect but cannot be ignored by art world.
Feels like a human (Self aware)This is still far-off and in realm of science fiction. If it happens, mankind would have effectively spawned a new intelligent species. The implications of which would be far reaching and best left to imagination for now.
AI technologies & applications are expanding fast and will disrupt businesses, job profiles, our daily work and get more intertwined in our personal life.