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I don’t want to talk abut the future. I want to talk about now. I don’t want to talk about AI fiction. I want to talk about the AI we have now. Since the term Artificial Intelligence was coined in the 1950s, many predicted that this will be a century of intelligent machines and technology. Are we living that life?
There has been a wide talk about the dangers of intelligent machines and scientists being worried about them. I won’t go into that now as it is more an issue of the future. But I want to beleive that they would be our friends, the same way I would not think of my best friend turning against me. It’s all about how we make and use them.
I first noticed AI in advertising 4 years ago, when I was 15, while browsing on a home computer. I noticed that most ads displayed were within my interests. That is what we call machine learning. You may also put it under cognitive intelligence, which is all about our needs, wants and behavior, which machines are able to mimic. Advertising is not only about a catchy line or a creative design. Marketers are now facing the challenge to give the customer what they want. Most agencies are taking this challenge and using insights from cognitive intelligence to create personal experiences to clients. Look at Facebook, for example, among your friends, whose posts appear most on your feed? There must be some AI there, right?
Siri, OK Google, Cortana, Amazon Alexa… You must have come across one of these and other bots in your device. These are Intelligent Personal Assistants; which can perform tasks or services for you. I personally love chatbots, especially those that are able to predict my intents, of course without digging into my privacy. All this is artificial intelligence at your service.
Many corporations are currently racing to put self driving cars on the road. Google is actually facing stiff competition as other companies whose core business is autonomous cars have come up. Most of these companies are looking to hit the road by 2020, so we may call the next decade the promised life of autonomous cars. I wont talk much about them for now, but if I got the chance to ride on one, I cant fail to brag about it, believe me.
In robotics, AI is the most controversial field. It has become hard to define Artificial Intelligence, just like the term ‘robot’ itself. We have robots automating manufacturing and other processes in industries, but are they intelligent? As much as most of them have a mechanical construction and electrical components, I would still put industrial robotics under AI as they contain some level of computer program that determines what, when and how they do something.
If you now feel like you want to join the revolution, I’ll give some information. Common fields of artificial intelligence research are expert systems, neural networks, robotics, fuzzy logic and natural language processing. Fortunately, there are many doing research on artificial intelligence, so we can just make use of their products. If you are a developer, for example, you have Google’s TensorFlow which is now open source. TensorFlow is an open source software library for machine learning in various kinds of perceptual and language understanding tasks. Google also has a speech API which you can use in your applications. You may also decide to be like one of my friends, learn programming and focus on writing smart algorithms.
We can all be part of the AI revolution in one way or another. Let’s embrace what artificial intelligence has for us and transform our world to a sophisticated technological marvel while we still have it. We are living in the promised life of intelligent machines, and there is no going back.