It might be easier to state what part of our modern society artificial intelligence (AI) hasn’t touched to show how important it is to our daily lives, business operations and society. Intelligence machines are influencing nearly every facet of our lives to help improve efficiencies and augment our human capabilities. AI is so intertwined in all that we do; it's hard to imagine living life without it.
AI is a central tenet for the disruptive changes of the 4th Industrial Revolution; a revolution that will likely challenge our ideas about what it means to be a human and just might be more transformative than any other industrial revolution we have seen yet.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Put simply; artificial intelligence is when machines can learn and make decisions similarly to humans. There are many types of artificial intelligence including machine learning, where instead of being programmed what to think, machines can observe, analyse and learn from data and mistakes just like our human brains can. This technology is influencing consumer products and has led to significant breakthroughs in healthcare and physics as well as altered industries as diverse as manufacturing, finance and retail. In part due to the tremendous amount of data we generate every day and the computing power available, artificial intelligence has exploded in recent years. We might still be years away from generalised AI—when a machine can do anything a human brain can do—, but AI in its current form is still an essential part of our world.
Everyday Influences of Artificial Intelligence
Many everyday influences of artificial intelligence are altering the way our daily lives look. If someone from the 1950s travelled through time and arrived in 2019, they would marvel at the way we use our smartphones to navigate around town, how virtual digital assistants such as Alexa and Cortana respond to our queries and would be baffled by our addiction to social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. What is now normal to us and powered by AI, would be utterly foreign to our friend from the past. There's no doubt that artificial intelligence is an integral part of our daily lives.
Our financial institutions, legal institutions, media companies and insurance companies are all figuring out ways to use artificial intelligence to their advantage. From fraud detection to writing news storeys with natural language processing and reviewing law briefs, AI’s reach is extensive.
Artificial Intelligence Influences Business
As business leaders and innovators race to reach the promise of artificial intelligence to deliver a competitive advantage as well as cost and time savings, the technology is altering industries from finance to manufacturing with new products, processes and capabilities.
Companies such as 150-year-old Heineken are using AI, the vast amount of data they collect and the Internet of Things to drive marketing decisions and initiatives, improve operations and customer service. From managing global supply chains to optimising delivery routes, artificial intelligence is helping companies of all sizes and in all industries improve productivity and the bottom line at every stage of the business lifecycle from sourcing material to sales and accounting to customer service. It's allowing companies to design, produce and deliver products and service better than ever before.
Artificial intelligence isn't just improving lives; in some cases, it will save lives. There are many companies, including tech companies, that are investing in and researching ways that artificial intelligence can help improve our healthcare system. From figuring out personalised drug protocols to better diagnostic tools and even robots to assist in surgeries, AI is altering our healthcare system from its processes to the care that these organisations provide.
In addition to our healthcare systems, AI is likely to be very instrumental in solving the environmental concerns we are experiencing due to global warming. From supporting smart infrastructure to helping to be more efficient with our natural resources and smart agriculture to feed a growing population, AI can augment our human efforts to solve our global challenges.
It’s also an integral part of our safety and security systems.
AI has been deployed to enhance our lives as well. Experiments with AI to compose original compositions from books to music, develop recipes based on what’s currently in the cupboard and even to create works of art are extending the influence of AI on our lives. The AI-powered recommendation engines of Netflix and Spotify help streamline our decision-making process when we are looking for the next show to watch or song to listen to.
It's clear that if we took AI away, our world would look vastly different in every way. As the current investments and research result in expanded and perfected uses of AI, we can expect the technology to become even more entangled into our daily existence, workplaces and society.
Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and advisor to companies and governments. He has worked with and advised many of the world's best-known organisations. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 10 Business Influencers in the world (in fact, No 5 - just behind Bill Gates and Richard Branson). He writes on the topics of intelligent business performance for various publications including Forbes, HuffPost, and LinkedIn Pulse. His blogs and SlideShare presentation have millions of readers.