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Ai in 2018


From facial recognition devices to personalized media, AI is expected to finally start affecting people’s lives in a truly meaningful way in 2018.

Introduction

Since at least Turing’s time in 1950, intelligent computers has fascinated people. But it has taken decades for the right combination of factors to come together to move AI from concept to an increasingly ubiquitous reality. After a lot of talk in 2017, it is in 2018 that data generated because of mass use of Internet-connected devices, and algorithms that recognize patterns in this data, will lead to tangible ways in which AI affects all our lives. Some of these expected developments are:

 

  1. Smart virtual assistants – Personal assistants based on AI will become smarter and more affordable. They will learn our daily routines and handle simple, but useful, chores like ordering groceries.

  2. Multiple voice-based gadgets – The popularity of voice-based assistants will result in many devices at home across platforms. There’s exciting potential, but possible chaos expected as well.

  3. Practical use of facial recognition – Going beyond security and biometric capabilities, facial recognition will start replacing credit cards, driver’s licenses and barcodes. No need to even line up at the payment counter at a store.

  4. Basic AI terminology becoming commonplace – As AI permeates the enterprise, everyone from CEO through middle managers to frontline employees will start becoming conversant in basic terminology. This will help demystify the technology and open up possibilities.

  5. Personalized media – Forget identifying songs that you will like – new services could start creating music from scratch based on your tastes.

  6. Tailored news and market reports – Reports that don’t just recap market performance, but explain your portfolio performance, at any time, will soon be a reality. Newsrooms will also use AI in more innovative ways.

  7. Empathetic computers – Multi-part conversations, more comprehensive answers, and insightful suggestions, will be expected from new smartphones and smart speakers. This will be partly driven just by the increasing amount of time these devices spend around us.

  8. Wide use in healthcare – By end-2018, nearly half of leading healthcare systems will have adopted some form of AI within their diagnostic groups, not just in medical specialties, but even in hospital operations, solutions for population health and clinical specialties. The way patients experience healthcare globally will truly begin its transformation in 2018.

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Ai and blockchain


The two cutting-edge technologies of today, artificial intelligence, and blockchain could unlock new frontiers if used in sync.

Introduction

AI: The theory and practice of building machines capable of performing tasks that require intelligence, using technologies like machine learning, artificial neural networks, and deep learning.

Blockchain: A new filing system for digital information, which stores data in an encrypted, distributed ledger format. Encryption and distribution of data across many different computers enable the creation of tamper-proof, highly robust databases that can be read and updated only by those with permission.

Working together

The theoretical benefits of combining these two technologies haven’t translated as yet into real-world applications, but this could change soon. Three ways why this should happen are:

  1. AI and encryption work well together

The cost of securing the vast amounts of sensitive, personal data (think healthcare systems, banks or even Netflix) handled by AI systems is immense. Blockchain databases hold information in an encrypted state, requiring only the safety of the private keys – a few kilobytes of data – lowering the costs of handling AI data tremendously.

Conversely, an emerging field of AI is concerned with building algorithms that can process data while still encrypted. This complements the safety of blockchains, by eliminating the risk of exposure of unencrypted data.

  1. Blockchain can help us track, understand and explain AI decisions

AI systems make complex decisions by assessing a large number of variables. In areas like banking or the retail industry, these still need to be audited for accuracy by humans, which can be very difficult. If decisions are recorded, on a datapoint-by-datapoint basis, on a blockchain, it makes it far simpler for them to be audited, with the confidence that the record has not been tampered with between the recording of the information and the start of the audit process. This is a step towards achieving the level of transparency and insight into robot minds that will be needed to gain public trust.

  1. AI can manage blockchains more efficiently than human or conventional computers

Conventional ‘stupid’ computers apply brute force when working with encrypted blockchain data, requiring large amounts of computer processing power. AI can perform such tasks – like verification of Bitcoin transactions – more intelligently by becoming adept at cracking codes almost instantaneously if fed the right training data.

 

Clearly, the two ground-breaking technologies have the potential to become even more revolutionary together. They can enhance each other’s capabilities while offering better oversight and accountability.

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E-learning revolutionizing education.


There are several important ways in which artificial intelligence is aiding e-learning technology to solve some of the most critical challenges faced by education today.

AI helping e-learning revolutionize education

The internet and burgeoning AI technology have made e-learning more accessible than ever before. But AI can also help provide solutions to education’s most pressing challenges in other profound ways, ensuring access to quality teaching for all students. Here’s how:

  1. Meaningful curriculum differentiation
    Despite having known for a long time that different pace and style of learning works for different students, limited resources in the traditional classroom model have made it difficult for teachers to differentiate content. E-learning can suggest different paths of learning based on students’ level of mastery, ensuring better success rates.

  2. Encouragement of individual tutoring
    E-learning technology equipped with new models of AI can address students’ points of confusion as they arise. Students can form the correct foundational knowledge and build more complex ideas upon that, as against waiting until the end of the class or when the teacher is free in a traditional setup.

  3. Private clarification of confusion points
    E-learning courses allow for students to ask questions privately or in a forum of students engaging with the content at a similar pace. This lessens the chance of being burdened by self-consciousness when the need for asking a query arises.

  4. Lower costs for students, a lower burden on teachers

Especially in higher education, the issue of crippling costs associated with a brick-and-mortar institution can be addressed by adopting e-learning technologies. Savings from doing away with faculty benefits, classroom upkeep and administrative burdens can be passed on to students.

 

  1. Student engagement with relevant course material

While gathering continuous feedback in the traditional model is impractical, e-learning tools and AI can help teachers adjust content in real time to include up-to-date information and innovations.

The future of education

Other challenges, like engagement and course completion, still need to be addressed, which can also be addressed by the interactive environment created by new AI learning models. Professionals in the education space need to work on accountability, more tactile means of engagement, and greater reach. Nevertheless, benefits of e-learning – including customization of content to pique students’ interests and cultivation of more actionable data for teachers – far outweigh these challenges, and possess the potential to drastically improve student outcomes across the world.

 

 

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7 steps to become an ai-enabled enterprise


7 steps to become an AI-enabled enterprise

While platform companies – firms like Google, Amazon, and Alibaba – continue to collect tons of data and train their systems using information on consumers’ lifestyles, most enterprise leaders seem to underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. A general AI strategy is needed for old world companies to keep up with this competition.

Challenges for the established economy

Apart from their own inability to change effectively and the intra-industry competition, large companies also face an underestimated challenge in the form of stiff competition from platform companies in three main ways. These are:

  1. The ability to "burn" money

Platform companies have more financial resources they can leverage to invest with no urgency to prioritize budgets. In contrast, companies from the old economy have very little money to play with since they are constantly subject to pressure from the capital market, shareholders, and customers. For example, if Pfizer or Bayer were to invest USD 500 mn in cancer research – which is related to their core business – and come up with no drug, their CEO would be fired immediately. Google or Alibaba, on the other hand, could burn money on the same cancer research – a non-core project – and move on. This is coupled with the mindset companies like Amazon have to take risks and invest massively in R&D, including on untested AI technology, which is lacking in old-world companies even when they do have the cash to spare.

  1. The strategy to hijack direct customer relationships

Today, as customer engagement, advertising and sales have moved on to platforms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, these companies can easily hijack the direct relationship between established companies and their customers. As an enterprise owner, you might get analytics and some data from platform companies, but they can then use the same data and AI to enhance product recommendations, customize shopping experiences and improve targeting to offer goods and services from a pool of brands that keep customers from switching.

  1. The power to collect massive data for building general AI

The range of products and services offered by platform companies – think Amazon’s marketplace, Kindle, Echo, and more – helps them collect endless amounts of data and thus create their own general AIs. These general AIs can then be deployed in different areas like finance, shipping, entertainment, and healthcare, further cementing the companies’ connection with a customer. This disruptive approach is not possible for enterprises from the old economy..

AI is the strongest tool to overcome the threats

While a strong brand, outstanding services, and innovation can help in survival, turning exponential is the only way to successfully compete against companies that are already exponential and trying to touch billions of customers across industries. AI is possibly the only tool today that can help ward off the competition, making use of the strong side of established companies: their experience. Their own general AIs can help established companies run processes autonomously across their organizations while retaining their knowledge and monetizing their data and experience. But, given the relatively limited breadth of data with these companies, a pooled approach would work better. Here is a step by step strategy to execute this idea:

  1. Established companies collect every piece of data within the company.

  2. Give data to a secure and independent intermediary platform operating a shared data pool for an established economy.

  3. In return, they get access to a shared pool of aggregated and semantically organized data.

  4. They use this data and the necessary technology to build their own corporate general AI.

  5. Outcome-based on corporate general AI - New business models, offerings, services, etc.

  6. Give resulting data from new business models, offerings, services, etc. to the shared data pool.

Adapting this approach can allow companies to keep their intellectual property and create value from their experience.

AI-enabled enterprise: anything that is a process can be and will be run by AI

Any process that can be automated today can be run by AI, leading to massive savings in money and manpower. This also spares resources to innovate at a faster pace. The following seven steps can help your company become an “AI-enabled enterprise”:

  1. Create a semantic map of your data - accept continuous data flow as a foundation for future strategy.

  2. Automate your IT operations - automate IT operations to receive immediate value brought by AI and to collect data; also make them autonomous.

  3. Rethink your strategy - think about a new (exponential) business model.

  4. Retrain your entire organization top-down - prepare and train your organization for an AI-enabled enterprise and for accepting a new business model.

  5. Expand autonomous operations to other business processes - use company knowledge gathered through IT automation to make more processes autonomous.

  6. Embrace predictive analytics - use data from the semantic map to expedite, improve business processes and future business events.

  7. Consider data-driven processes - use data and AI to generate outcome-based processes.

Strengthen your core, widen your horizons

All data collected in the entire company eventually ends up in the IT environment: stored in applications, databases or storage systems. Thus, it is recommended to start setting up an AI in the IT environment – the core of your enterprise. Most importantly, come out of your comfort zone – your existing business and the industry you operate in right now. It doesn’t help you to simply develop something for the media industry when you are a media company. You have to think across industries and develop something that adds an additional value for your customers and thus opens a new industry for you.

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10 ways ai is affecting our lives today


While machines that can learn on their own are still some ways off, AI in its early forms has seeped into
our lives in many different ways, sometimes without us even noticing it.
Introduction
 
A true AI system can learn on its own, make connections and reach meanings without pre-defined
behavioral algorithms, and get smarter and more aware based on past iterations. While true AI-based
machines are still some distance away from materializing, early AI technologies have already seeped into
our lives in many ways, in this machine-learning phase of the Digital Age. These will pave the way for a
multi-generational leap forward in the next 100 years, unmatched even by the dramatic upheavals we
have seen in the last 100.
 
Some of the ways in which AI is already affecting our lives are:
 
1. Virtual Personal Assistants
Services like Siri, Alexa, Google Now and Cortana use machine-learning technology to better recognize
your speech and serve you results tailored to your preferences. These will eventually even learn to
anticipate your needs.
 
2. Video Games
While AI has been part of video games for a long time in small ways, today’s games have characters that
learn your behavior, respond to stimuli and react unpredictably. First-person shooters like Far Cry and
Call of Duty has enemy characters that can analyze their environments to find objects or actions
beneficial to their survival, and even communicate with other AI characters to team up against you.
 
3. Smart Cars
Google’s self-driving cars could potentially learn to drive using experience, just as humans do.
Eventually, the car will be able to ‘look’ at the road, make decisions based on what it sees and learn in
the process. Tesla’s autopilot feature might not be this advanced, but it’s already being used on the
road.
4. Purchase Prediction
Retailers like Amazon hope to reach a stage where they can ship your items before you even realize you
need them. Even coupons, discounts, targeted advertisements or warehouse stocking systems are using
predictive analysis to anticipate customer requirements. There are niche companies that are using AI to
dominate the playing field, like Boxever, which leans heavily on machine learning to improve customer
experience in the travel industry.
 
5. Fraud Detection
AI is often used to detect credit card frauds, on the basis of which card owners receive a communication
from the bank. Use of AI reduces the time for detection to an astonishing 40-60 milliseconds. And
computers will only get better in spotting fraudulent transactions based on indications learned through
training.
 
6. Online Customer Support
While many of the automated customer support systems today are rudimentary chatbots, some of them
do use AI to extract knowledge from a repository and present to customers when needed. In fact, many
of the basic chatbots also make use of natural language processing to better understand customers.
Related to this is the service provided by companies like Cogito, which uses machine learning and
behavioral science to improve customer interaction with human phone professionals.
 
7. News Generation
In-depth investigative articles are still beyond the capabilities of AI, but simple stories like financial
summaries, sports recaps and fantasy sports reports are already being written by AI programs, and used
by services like AP, Fox, and Yahoo! Wordsmith is a popular natural language generation platform that
turns data into narratives and has been used in e-commerce, financial services, and real estate
industries.
 
8. Security Surveillance
With supervised training exercises, security algorithms can take input from security cameras and
determine threat – better than a single person monitoring many video cameras. Identifying actions that
might imply a thief in a store are likely beyond the current technological limitations but don’t be
surprised if this sort of technology debuts in the near future.
 
9. Recommendation Services
Apps like Spotify, Netflix, and Pandora make music and movie recommendations based on your past
selections. While not futuristically advanced, the amount of data these services can handle at a time is
quite impressive. And they will only get smarter.
 
10. Smart Home Devices
Many of your home devices have the ability now to learn your behavior patterns and do things like
adjusting thermostat settings to save money. This service was made particularly famous by Nest, the
company acquired by Google in January 2014 for $3.2 bn. Lighting systems, security cameras, cooking
systems – use of AI in smart homes is only limited by our imagination.
 
While companies like Apple, Facebook and Tesla rollout revolutionary changes, it is not always clear how
deep an effect AI, and related technologies like quantum computers will have on our day-to-day lives.
When AI really blossoms, how much of an improvement will it have on the current iterations we have
available already? What we do know is that there is no stopping its evolution and its rise.
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