Tuesday, 26 July 2016

“Artificial” Intelligence - A Means to Solve “Real” Life Problems

It’s here, it’s there, it’s around you, it’s everywhere! You may not see it, but you can still find its presence around you! There it goes! Trying to trick me intelligently as I press backspace to correct the typo, only to find that it already has been corrected! I wouldn’t call it Artificial Intelligence (AI), as others call it. I see this technology more like a small kid trying to learn and understand things and eventually becoming intelligent enough to make its own decisions. You just need to be careful about what you are teaching this kid though.

AI has undoubtedly reached a long way, with IBM’s mind blowing supercomputer Watson taking over humans. Watson was designed to analyze and understand and speak human language fluently. To test it, researchers at IBM uploaded all of Wikipedia, IMDB databases and sent the computer to jeopardy against two top players. For the first time in human history, a computer has beaten us in human knowledge. In October 2015, a computer Go program called AlphaGo, powered by DeepMind, beat the European Go champion Fan Hui, a 2 dan (out of 9 dan possible) professional, five to zero. This is the first time an artificial intelligence (AI) defeated a professional player. From the way you shop for a pair of shoes online to how SIRI makes life so convenient to those high class of iPhone holders, AI is helping businesses across the globe save millions by improving performance and efficiency.

Now let us give a minute to that class of people who are deprived of basic needs. Is AI just used for defeating humans in games or for shopping? Does it really do anything else? This article will  demonstrate how top companies like Facebook have actually gone out of the way to implement AI by giving due consideration to lesser privileged sections of the society. For example, we all are aware that there are millions of people in the world out there who are blind. CEO Mark Zuckerberg praises a blind engineer who has been working with him in a technology in AI that enables Facebook to look at a photo and read it aloud to the blind person. Also, Facebook has recently been testing technology that can help differently abled people to experience the internet, such as blind people experiencing photos. Another contribution by Facebook is the Oculus Rift VR headset and a visual recognition program that uses AI to help blind people use Facebook.

Today, IBM’s Watson is working in hospitals to diagnose cancers better than human doctors. Isn’t that beautiful? They even put Watson on the cloud so that software developers can unleash the power of Watson in their apps.

The Defence Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), which is agency of the Department of Defence of the United States has funded AI research for development of new technologies in military. The U.S. Air Force is working with private industry to develop systems for faster collection and examination of information. The goal is to improve reaction and decision-making time to implement more effective military actions. Like many of the military's uses of AI, it involves information management and decision making. Researchers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED), are developing robot intelligence that will enable robots to successfully navigate in their environment when given a voice command by a human. The goal is to develop a system capable of performing a wide variety of autonomous behaviors under a variety of battlefield conditions.

Robotic devices powered by artificial intelligence can perform a range of tasks in the mining sector. These include drilling, blasting, loading, hauling, bolting mine roofs as well as ore sampling and rescuing trapped miners.

In the real world of 2016, AI is all about helping companies make better decisions and operate more efficiently. It is always good to be equipped with knowledge - Knowledge about the facts and situations around you and to be useful to the people in some way. When you have knowledge, you can find solutions. But it is how we use it that define us – whether to benefit the society or to cause conflicts within the society. All the magic is at the tip of the iceberg, but all this is still happening.  Jeopardy winner – Brad Rutter says, “I thought technology like this was years away. But its already here, next to me!” So “Artificial” Intelligence is not around the corner, its “real”, it’s here and it’s right at your doorstep.


About the author:

The Author of this article, Shruti Shashi Kumar is a Researcher @ Smartify Health. She has keen interest in research in IoT. Smartify Health is a nascent level startup whose aim is to leverage the power of cutting edge technology like IoT and AI for healthcare domain.
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  1. Really awesome introduction. It's great to see how this technology is moving out of research labs and touching our daily lives