Think about your typical day. Your phone alarm wakes you up (maybe after hitting snooze a couple of times), you check the weather as your coffee is brewing, and you get traffic alerts about your commute to work. How many times do you think artificial intelligence (AI) is a part of your day? It’s definitely more often than you think.
During a conversation with President Barack Obama, technologist Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicted that 2016 would be the “year artificial intelligence becomes more than just a computer science problem.”
He was right.
In 2016, AI’s fast progress led to acquisition deals topping $1 billion, and the White House released its first report on artificial intelligence and the economy.
One of the most notable ways artificial intelligence is changing communication is in the way the tech giants are working to educate the general public. The biggest example of this is Apple. Beyond giving us the sassy AI assistant Siri, Apple is making a significant exception to its generally-secretive practices by allowing its AI team to publish research papers on the subject.
Apple isn’t the only tech giant sharing its knowledge with the public. In December of 2016, Yann LeCunn, Facebook’s head of AI research, produced a series of educational videos that outline how AI works, what it can conceivably achieve, and how people can get involved. The technology behind AI will be the “backbone of many of the most innovative apps and services of tomorrow,” but it remains a mystery for many people who eventually see AI influence their daily lives, according to LeCun. “Increasingly, human intellectual activities will be performed in conjunction with intelligent machines,” he wrote. “Our intelligence is what makes us human, and AI is an extension of that quality.”
Speaking of AI influence in our daily lives, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Jarvis. While I have a soft spot in my heart for Jarvis in Iron Man, it appears I’m not the only one. It’s the name Mark Zuckerberg gave to the AI he built to run his home. “Building Jarvis was an interesting intellectual challenge, and it gave me direct experience building AI tools in areas that are important for our future,” wrote Zuckerberg. “In a way, AI is both closer and farther off than we imagine. AI is closer to being able to do more powerful things than most people expect — driving cars, curing diseases, discovering planets, understanding media. Those will each have a great impact on the world, but we’re still figuring out what real intelligence is.”
“The volume of online social communication is getting so overwhelming that it will only able to be handled using computer assistance—in other words AI,” Eli Israel tells Paste. Israel is the CEO and founder of Meshfire, the first and only social media management powered by artificial intelligence. Meshfire’s A.I. assistant, Ember, makes suggestions to help you manage your Twitter account with ease.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasing the urgency for enterprises to embrace real-time streaming analytics. Business leaders have an urgent need for actionable real-world insights, which is why they’re increasingly turning to machine learning and artificial intelligence, and tools like Meshfire to help them manage information.
A 2015 Tech Pro Research survey indicated that 24 percent of businesses across industries are currently using AI or had plans to do so within the year, and 63 percent say AI will be good for their business.
Despite marketplace confusion, AI adoption is imminent, says Narrative Service. In fact, one of their surveys revealed that 68% of organizations will be using AI technologies by 2018.
If you’re looking to add a little AI magic to your existing operations this year, companies like Amazon are making it easy even for small businesses. In 2015, Amazon introduced Amazon Machine Learning, a cloud service that lets companies build predictive models using their existing data. If you work with huge data sets, Amazon will train its algorithms to help deliver results for your company.
Currently it’s limited to three distinct types of predictions:
- Predicting one of two possible outcomes such as, “Is the shipping address an apartment complex?”
- Predict one of three or more possible outcomes and the likelihood of each one. Amazon gives the example of, “Is this product a book, a movie, or clothing?”
- Predicting a number through regression such as, “How much red lipstick should we stock? What should we charge for the lipstick?”
In addition to the services offered by Amazon, there are AI apps business owners can use to streamline their activities. If you’re looking for a way to manage your meeting requests, meet Amy (x.ai), the smart assistant who schedules meetings for you. When you’re ready to hire for your growing business, check out textio to help you write better job descriptions.
I’m still waiting for the day I can hop on my hoverboard to zip around my neighborhood, but until then, I’ll settle for the apps making our lives easier every day.
Berrak Sarikaya is Paste’s assistant business editor. You can follow her on Twitter @Berrakbiz.