The hype and anxiety on the rise and use of AI and it’s possible ill effects on humanity has been at its peak since the modern age started from the invention of the computer. There have been speculations and fears of driverless cars replacing drivers’ job, AI powered aircrafts replacing pilots, fully automated factories replacing industrial workers and AI developing consciousness and attempting to destroy humanity. It should be noted that these are still mere speculations and will only happen if AI is not properly designed and applied. Besides, the state and place of AI in human socioeconomic existence is completely different from the negative picture painted in the popular media.
First, let us look at what AI is right now. AI in the past use to be machines and computer systems that are preprogrammed to perform a specific task and are inflexible to changes in its environment and can cause damages without putting human lives and resources into consideration. The AI of today have evolved beyond preprogrammed instructions. Through the implementation of state-of-the-art Machine Learning algorithms, AI now learns to understand our world and perform tasks by observing information about real world events and objects, just like every human grows learning about the world and using the experience gained to act. That is the reason why we now have AI systems that can perform lots of task as good as humans can and even better where repetitive task are predominant. Therefore, today’s AI are doing what they learn, what we teach them and what information about us and the world that we make available to them.
So far we know AI is becoming better in performing a number of human tasks and will still get better at them and more tasks. A number of people raise the question on if this benefits all of humanity by keeping people’s job untouched and improving lives as well. I am about to enlighten you on the extent at which AI has benefited people, business owners, employer and employees, professionals and researchers in financial, economical, social and health terms.
- In hiring workforce, AI have greatly helped to improve the job application review process and save the employers lots of processing time and tedious work, as well as reduce the waiting time of prospective employees . For example, an Argentina-based credit firm oMelhorTrato.com uses AI to comb through the CVs of job applicants who apply through the company website and third parties. The process of scanning through the applicants CV that usually take two-thirds of the application process was drastically reduced so the hiring team can concentrate on interviewing the best candidates. In addition, the AI deployed also do help increase diversity and avoid human bias in the candidate selection process.
- AI is also helping employees to perform their jobs efficiently and faster than before hereby improving productivity and taking the stress out of the job. An example is EY, a Big Four accounting firm that uses robots to scan details of frauds and disputes for investigation. This helps reduce the tedious manual review of these details, and also help in providing decision recommendations to accelerate employees decision process.
- In journalism, AI is helping writers, editors and publication house to produce more reports efficiently and accurately than ever before. An example is Associated Press, a 170 year-old news service that publishes quarterly earnings report of publicly held companies. With a staff strength of 65 workers, they could only publish reports on 320 companies of the 5300 companies. Not until 2015 that AP deployed an AI system that assisted in the report preparation process; they published about 3700 reports within the same time frame and with the same number of staff.
- AI is also transforming and improving our lives at home . An example is Amazon Echo, a mobile and AI powered speaker that can be placed on any flat surface in the home. By merely asking Amazon echo, it can tell you the time , tell you the weather, play you music, control your TV, set alarms, request a Uber ride, update you shopping list, read books aloud , tell you sports results, find restaurants and stores, perform banking services and control every IoT supported device in your home. It is like having a tireless minion do the job for you in the home by simply asking it too.
- In the manufacturing industry, AI is used to monitor performance and conditions of production lines and equipment to detect potential faults ahead of a major breakdown and recommend when to replace machine parts.
- In Cardiology and Radiology , AI is helping to accelerate the analysis of tests data , X-Rays, CT scans, data entry, and other mundane tasks, thereby saving lots of work time and leading to quick and accurate diagnosis that can help save lots of lives.
- In personal health , there are AI apps that users can tell the symptoms observed in children, which in turn let them know if they need to see a doctor, and if they do not. An example is the Boston Children’s Hospital App built for Amazon Alexa. Also worth mentioning are AI powered monitoring hardware and systems that provide both patients and doctors real-time information on the patients health status and also recommend possible immediate actions to avoid serious health deterioration.
- Pharmaceutical companies are using AI to accelerate the process of developing new medications for diseases by saving time and billions of dollars involved through traditional clinical trials. Recently, an AI program was deployed to find medications for the dreadful Ebola virus. The program found two medications that may reduce Ebola infectivity in one day.
- AI is helping educators to provide optimized and effective education to learners by analyzing the learners knowledge, cognitive needs, emotions and feedbacks from the learner. Then it uses these details to prepare a customized learning model for the learner. An example is the iTalk2Learn system16 by Carnegie Mellon University
- In driving, there has been a lot of autonomous driving developed and systems used in cars, buses , trucks and even trailers. An example is Tesla Autopilot by Elon Musk’s electric and autonomous vehicle company Tesla. The Tesla Autopilot is an advanced driver-assistance system with full driving , lane centering , adaptive cruise control and parking capabilities. It also learns from the human driver and can tell the human to take control of the driving where necessary. This system allows you to use your long driving hours to do some useful activities even when stuck in traffic. It can be considered like the AI driving system depicted in Captain America 2 , “ The Winter Soldier “, used by Director Nick Fury in his SUV.
There are lots of examples where AI has enabled humans to work, socialize, discover and innovate faster and better. I have only been able to mention a few. AI has influenced and is driving productivity in almost all fields of practice. Not to forget that the modern AI we have now performs it’s task by learning from information about the real world and also from us. So therefore, AI is like a growing minion that need to be taught, welcomed and corrected so that in the future, we will have relatively perfect AI systems that knows us well, understands us and help us in anyway we need it to. Should AI go wrong as critics fear, it is because we taught it the wrong details and gave it a wrong impression about us.
AI is also currently been improved which means there is room for everyone, from every culture, race and works of life to join in creating this new and amazing piece of technology perfectly. In my next posts, I will be addressing steps everyone should take in preparation for the AI driven socio-economic future.
You are free to drop your comments and questions. You can also reach to me on Twitter via @OlafenwaMoses.