Sci-fi novels, movies, and television shows have made very accurate and relevant predictions on the direction of our world’s development, especially where automation and robotics are concerned. The time frame, however, is often exaggerated, mostly due to narrative stakes or unbridled optimism. Certainly, the real picture is much different; AI isn’t yet at a place where it can mimic a human brain in every way, but it’s getting there.
The current state of our development in AI is, however, greatly influencing the way businesses around the world operate as they strive to stay with the times.
AI Needs Humans to Learn
Currently, there’s only a few AI systems in existence that can match or exceed the capabilities of the human brain. These sophisticated systems are praiseworthy, but there’s a catch – they’re designed to excel at only one specific task.
Need a few examples? Deep Blue won against a world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, for the first time in 1997. Another AI, AlphaGo, finally beat a human in Go in recent years, one of the most complicated games known to man. While these are impressive feats for a machine, Deep Blue cannot play Go; it can only play chess.
How does an AI learn to be better than us at a given task? We teach it by providing the AI system with a vast pool of properly identified data. Through programming, we “teach” the AI to take on the information and use it to form a “memory” or database of information. They then create pattern recognition algorithms and improve upon them with this tagged information, and in some cases, further input.
But AIs don’t respond to input the same way we do. Humans need a small sample size to form a pattern or memory, while AIs need thousands of images. We can understand what a dog is after seeing just one or two animals, but an AI may need to encounter thousands before it finally “gets” what it’s seeing. That’s the missing human quotient that still requires significant research.
The demand for human input as well as precisely identified and classified data in bulk creates job opportunities for humans. Platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk and ImageNet employ people to create the databases used to help AIs learn. There are concerns about this industry’s future and its scope, but right now, this research is it’s necessary for the continued development of AI systems. Perhaps one day these companies will develop an AI that can tag data on its own: a machine that teaches other machines. The possibility of AIs replacing humans in the workplace is something many industries, both in the real world and the Internet, are keeping in mind.
Problem Solving Is Easier
AIs that are limited in scope and function are still very useful for businesses. Computers have always been better at processing vast amounts of raw data. Now, thanks to developments in machine learning, they’re highly effective at drawing accurate conclusions from large amounts of data. These AIs need human supervision and correction to draw the right conclusions, but the goal is to reduce this workload from humans and enable them to function with limited oversight.
Many fields of research and infrastructure technologies find use for advanced AI systems, including medicine, chemistry, and transportation. While we’ve made significant progress in these fields in recent years, the sheer amount of data to process and integrate is holding us back in some situations. AIs will help us solve these problems and potentially make discoveries along the way, rapidly speeding up our evolution, both as humans and in business.
One of the prime examples of utilizing an AI is NASA’s plan to send a self-governing, unmanned robot to Mars in 2020. A robot that can make choices on its own can circumvent the 13 to 24-minute delay in communication between systems on Earth and the robot on Mars. The ability to operate on its own reduces potential errors in navigation and increases the machine’s ability to explore more area in a shorter period of time. NASA’s advances in AI and robotics will improve industries on Earth that rely on them as well as create new opportunities and uses for these technologies.
Improved Forecasting Capabilities for Corporations
Timing is one of the primary keys to success in business. Figuring out when, where, and how to place an advertising campaign, open a new store, or optimize employee work schedules is difficult, especially in the gig economy and current tumultuous economic times. It’s difficult to find the right signal in all that data and noise, making it veritably impossible to identify how often trends change or even how the traffic and weather are on a given day. AIs are a practical solution to this problem, and that’s exactly why so many companies are using integrated AI in-house.
Businesses who bank on AI for help stand to gain many benefits. An AI system that can process the vast amount of data regarding events, holidays, locations, and competing industries into something useful gives your business an edge by granting you a clearer picture of daily operations and trends. Most importantly, AI systems significantly reduce the time spent on sifting through data, saving businesses money, time, and resources.
There’s one additional benefit – fewer human errors. Because they remember everything they see, most AIs factor all potential variables into their decision. A human, on the other hand, might forget crucial details during their research.
Advances in AI technology are paving the way for automation to take over many industries in our world. It’s already happening, and it will only become more predominant with time. The business world greatly benefits from AI already with everything from highly-engaging chatbots to assist a customer or AI-integrated back-end data analysis software programs to perfect your marketing campaign. Rather than seeing it as something to fear, businesses should lean in and learn to embrace it for a better future.