Artificial intelligence is poised to change our lives. AI can now drive cars, write best-selling books and transcribe spoken words, beat human opponents at chess and identify the genetic sequences that cause cancer.
But some people are nervous about doomsday scenarios sensationalized in movies and worry that AI will undermine basic values.
1. Self-driving cars
A machine that can play chess or understand spoken language is one example of artificial intelligence. Today, AI is used in a variety of ways, from recommending what you might want to buy on Amazon to automated customer support.
Self-driving cars, for instance, require onboard computers that assemble a wealth of data from sensors and cameras to perceive their surroundings. They then make instant decisions on whether to shift lanes or take other action.
Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are working on driverless cars as are car manufacturers. Hynd believes that autonomous vehicles will soon be able to communicate with each other to form “platoons” and allow closer driving, which could reduce traffic congestion. But it isn’t the only way that AI will impact traffic.
2. Smart homes
The most visible impact of AI is automation. There’s virtually no industry that modern AI tools (especially those in the broad category of machine learning) haven’t touched already.
Whether it’s recommendation algorithms on retail websites or chatbots that handle customer service questions, there are countless examples of AI in use today. AI is even helping to streamline countless tasks like weather and financial forecasting, cutting down on repetitive manual work, and processing language.
The future of AI is expected to be even more far-reaching, particularly in the medical field. A study published in April found that an AI program is now as skilled as human doctors at spotting heart problems on ultrasound images. This could mean fewer trips to the doctor for patients and faster diagnoses.
3. Smart cities
There’s almost no industry that modern AI hasn’t touched in some way. From automated phone customer-service reps to spotting potential heart issues on a scan, AI has improved and replaced processes all over the world.
For example, the latest AI systems rely on machine learning to pore over billions of words to learn how human language works and then generate very human-like responses in response to questions and prompts. These “large language models” are the basis for chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bing, as well as voice assistants like Siri.
However, there’s a limit to what AI can do and humans need to be vigilant in monitoring the work that it does. This keeps it from going rogue like the time it misdiagnosed someone with cancer.
4. Smart health
Artificial intelligence is a broad term and is defined differently by different people. However, most definitions agree that AI involves machines and programs that perform functions normally associated with human intelligence. This includes problem solving, decision making and understanding context.
AI is already used in many ways to improve existing technology. For example, chatbots are helping to facilitate telemedicine and other smart software can analyze medical records to make precise diagnostics.
It can also automate certain tasks and cut costs for companies. This may cause some jobs to be lost, but it will benefit society overall as businesses become more efficient. The challenge is to ensure that the AI tools are programmed to align with humanity’s overarching goals and not be used to achieve nefarious ends.
5. Smart education
AI has already transformed most industries, and with tech giants spending billions on development, universities making it a key part of their curricula and the Department of Defense upping its game, we’re likely to see even bigger changes in our lives. In the most broad sense of the word, AI refers to computer programs that perform objective functions based on data without being explicitly programmed.
Currently, banks are using AI to help make payments, and online used-car seller CarMax is leveraging AI to help review customer reviews. Other companies are using AI for marketing, financial and customer service applications.
One challenge is ensuring that intelligent software doesn’t become so good at doing its job that it crosses ethical or legal boundaries. It’s important to develop systems that align with the overarching goals of humanity.