The term “artificial intelligence” may sound intimidating to some, but it has been in use for decades and its applications are more common than you might imagine.
AI assists in every area of our lives, whether we’re trying to read our emails, get driving directions, or start a new business.
In this article, we’ll show you 17 ways that artificial intelligence is used in day-to-day activities such as:
- Email communications
- Social media
- Web searching
- Stores and services
- Offline experiences
I. How Artificial Intelligence Improves Email Communications
1. Email Filters in Gmail
Google uses AI to ensure that nearly all of the email landing in your inbox is authentic. Their filters attempt to sort emails into the following categories:
The program helps your emails get organized so you can find your way to important communications quicker.
For example, Gmail sorts email into 4 different tabbed categories, and sends the spam mail to a separate folder.
Google claims that AI-powered filtering prevents more than 99% of spam from getting into your inbox.
2. Smart Replies in Gmail
Smart replies offer users a way to respond to emails with simple phrases like “Thanks!” or “Let’s do it!” with the click of a button.
Smart replies are tailored to the content of each email. Users can reply by typing a manual response or may instead choose a one-click smart reply.
For example, if you send an email to someone about an upcoming movie release and they reply to let you know that they interested in seeing the movie, Gmail offers “smart reply” options.
Replies offered include Let’s do it!, I’m in!, or I’m no longer available.
Smart replies attempt to mimic your personal writing style, and often do a pretty good job of mirroring the way that you might genuinely respond.
3. Nudging Reminders in Gmail
Gmail’s “nudging” feature reminds you to follow up on emails you’ve ignored or forgotten. Using AI, Gmail attempts to determine which emails require a response, then highlights them after a few days of non-attention.
This example from Google’s blog shows how nudges work.
Nudges are bold and colorful, offering you a way to quickly glance at a list of emails and identify the ones that may need attention.
II. How Artificial Intelligence Improves Social Media
Artificial intelligence makes it easier for users to locate and communicate with friends and business associates.
Some of the ways you may be benefitting from AI on social media are:
AI is used to help match candidates to jobs with the hopes of creating better employee-employer matches.
On its talent blog, LinkedIn explains that they use “deeper insights into the behavior of applicants on LinkedIn” in order to “predict not just who would apply to your job, but who would get hired…”
Pinterest’s LENS tool uses AI to identify objects in images. Take a picture of that beautiful maple dining set at your friend’s house using Pinterest’s LENS tool, and its AI-driven feature will help find similar tables.
In some cases, you’re even able to find the product’s seller so you can purchase the item.
Chatbots recognize words and phrases in order to (hopefully) deliver helpful content to customers who have common questions. Sometimes, chatbots are so accurate that it seems as if you’re talking to a real person.
For example, the chatbot conversation in the image below shows AI being used to schedule a hairdresser appointment.
Chatbots attempt to mimic natural language, simulating conversations as they help with routine tasks such as booking appointments, taking orders, or answering billing questions.
7. Facebook Proactive Detection
In November 2017, Facebook launched a proactive detection feature that scans posts to detect patterns that may indicate if a user may be considering self-harm.
When it detects suicidal thinking patterns, the AI-powered program sends mental health resources to the person and, sometimes, also to his friends.
Facebook supports this AI program with human resources such as trained moderators, partnerships with local mental health organizations, and local first-responders when appropriate.
For example, in a video shared on Facebook Newsroom, Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace in upstate New York explains how his department once received a phone call about a young woman that was threatening to harm herself.
Thanks to Facebook’s AI-driven detection program, the local police were notified and able to locate the woman through a cell phone ping. They were then able to rush her to the hospital, which saved her life.
III. How Artificial Intelligence Helps With Web Searches
AI has been used to help with Google searches for quite some time.
8. Google Predictive Searches
When you begin typing a search term and Google makes recommendations for you to choose from, that’s AI in action.
Predictive searches are based on data that Google collects about you, such as your location, age, and other personal details. Using AI, the search engine attempts to guess what you might be trying to find.
9. Google’s Algorithm
Google search engines evolved over time by studying the linguistics used in searches. Its AI learns from results and adapts over time to better meet the needs of users.
For example, a search of “How much is the price of tea in China” offers Google’s choice of “best answer” highlighted at the top, followed by a list of sources that answer the question.
The purpose of Google’s algorithm is to deliver the best possible results to the searcher. In order to do this, Google uses AI to try to determine the quality of content and match it to the user’s query.
IV. How Artificial Intelligence Improves Your Experience at Online Stores and Services
10. Product Recommendations
Amazon and other online retailers use AI to gather information about your preferences and buying habits. Then, they personalize your shopping experience by suggesting new products tailored to your habits.
Below is an example of AI-powered recommendations on Amazon.com.
When you search for an item such as “Bose headsets,” the search engine also shows related items that other people have purchased when searching for the same product.
11. Music Recommendations
Music services use AI to track your listening habits. Then, they use the information to suggest other songs you might like to hear.
For example, Spotify offers suggestions for new discoveries, new releases, and old favorites, based on your listening habits.
Google Play also offers personalized music recommendations. Its AI-powered suggestions take into account factors like weather and time of day to offer music that can set the mood for activities. For example, you might be offered a playlist of dance music on a Friday night, or soft acoustic music on a rainy day.
12. Mobile Banking
AI is used by many banks to personalize your experience on their mobile apps.
For example, according to Biz Journals, the Wells Fargo app analyzes account information in order to provide personalized alerts such as:
- Bill pay reminders
- Pre-overdraft alerts
- Transfer prompts
13. Financial Institutions Fraud Prevention
Another way that banks use AI is by sending mobile alerts to help prevent against fraud.
For example, if an unusually large transaction takes place in your account, you might get a warning alert on your phone.
Or, if you suddenly begin making purchases in a different state, you may get flagged for fraud prevention, requiring you to call your bank to personally verify your purchase.
These types of notifications are possible due to the tracking of your day-to-day financial transactions, allowing AI to recognize unusual patterns in your spending habits.
14. Maps and Directions
When apps like Google Maps calculate traffic and construction in order to find the quickest route to your destination, that’s AI at work.
In the example below, Google Maps offers directions based on the fastest route according to the usual traffic.
Orange sections of the route indicate where traffic is slower.
V. How Artificial Intelligence Powers Travel Experiences
15. Ride-sharing Apps
Ride-sharing service Uber uses AI to determine how long it will take to get from your location to your destination. This lets you know when to expect a driver or food delivery.
In May 2017, ZDNet tech news website published a report that revealed how Uber uses artificial intelligence to set prices based on what they think you might be willing to pay.
A recent report by The Independent claims that Uber is developing artificial intelligence that will help determine if a rider has been drinking — before the driver agrees to pick up the passenger.
This AI-powered software would attempt to determine a rider’s state by analyzing and comparing patterns of typing, walking speed, and other factors.
16. Commercial Airline Flights
You might be surprised to discover how little flying your friendly pilot actually does in the cockpit.
A 2015 survey of airline Boeing 777 pilots reported spending only 7 minutes manually flying the plane during a typical flight, with much of the rest being done by AI technology.
According to a report by Wired Magazine, Boeing is working toward building jetliners completely piloted by artificial intelligence — with no human pilots at the helm.
Artificial Intelligence Makes Our Lives More Efficient Every Day
AI powers many programs and services that help us do everyday things such as connecting with friends, using an email program, or using a ride-share service.
If you have reservations about the use of artificial intelligence, it may be comforting to know that most of us have been using AI on a daily basis for many years.