We’ve all seen or heard the horror stories of artificial intelligence: that familiar dystopian scenario where robots break free from their binary chains, rise up against their fleshy creators and become amoral overlords of all they survey.
Whilst in such an eventuality, we would welcome our android overlords, we have to say the odds are seriously against it.
In fact, we think it’s time to stop the AI fearmongering and focus on the positives by looking at how AI is making life better for people all over the world in ways many of us may not have considered. Sure, we all know about the possibility of AI-powered driverless cars, but AI’s effect is being felt in a range of everyday ways, too.
Making social media simpler and safer
Artificial intelligence is now a driving force behind nearly every social media channel. For LinkedIn users, it can offer that perfect job recommendation, help them connect with a potential future career ally or help recruiters find new, relevant talent pools.
Facebook is using, or planning to use, artificial intelligence to police offensive or sensitive material away from young people’s eyes, to map the world’s population density and even to prevent receiving notifications from those who have passed away. Although, in dealing with such an unknown quantity as AI technology in a relatively new and always-evolving field as social media, it has experienced problems, including racial discrimination and input bias.
Like other social media platforms, Twitter uses a predictive AI algorithm that shows people tweets from preferred accounts. This gives a more relevant experience to users, as they see more of what they want to engage with and less of what interests them. (Those who want to stick to the old-school chronological way of doing things can turn this off.)
With social media platforms not being held legally responsible for the content posted on their sites, AI is the only viable alternative to policing the offensive and graphic content that may appear on the billions of tweets and posts uploaded every day.
Powering voice assistants
“Alexa, can you check the local weather for me today?”
Have you got an Alexa or Google Hub device to help you shape your shopping list or to find out if it’s about to tip it down in Tipperary? Ever use Siri to find out where your nearest Starbucks is? Then you have artificial intelligence to thank. These AI-powered voice assistants have helped make millions of lives that little bit more efficient in all different kinds of ways – and here are ten of the best.
Real-time subtitles and captions
Subtitles have been used on pre-recorded TV and internet videos for a long time, but more problematic for hard-of-hearing and deaf people are live communications, where subtitles lag behind what the person is saying.
But now, thanks to the power of artificial intelligence, companies are starting to improve the time delay between what someone says and how quickly those words are displayed to those who can’t hear them.
To celebrate The UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities last December, Microsoft updated PowerPoint with live captions and subtitles. Not only do they allow the hard-of-hearing community to stay fully up to speed, the captions can be displayed in different languages, so non-native speakers can also be a part of the live presentation as it happens.
But the advantages of AI aren’t just limited to presentations. Companies such as StreamText offer real-time, AI-backed caption support for any real-time writers and producers, whether it’s for the classroom or the live-streaming gaming community.
Music and media streaming
There aren’t many people these days who don’t use one of Spotify, Netflix or YouTube on a regular basis. And, operating as they do as effective advertising platforms, their aim is to keep you using their software for as long as possible.
One of the ways they do this is to keep you watching and listening by making recommendations based upon your previous choices. And, guess what, this is powered by artificial intelligence. This reduces the time you spend having to forage for new albums or films to watch and because they’re based on your viewing and listening history, the chances are you’ll like what’s being suggested.
Although we recommend that you don’t just rely on these recommendation to decide what’s next up for your entertainment – be sure to keep your influences as broad as possible so as not to create an AI-based echo chamber.
AI isn’t the tech of tomorrow; it’s already here
When we think of artificial intelligence, we often conjure up the big-picture projects, such as Elon Musk’s driverless cars and Jeff Bezos’ drone delivery system. But AI is already here and, from Google’s AI-powered journey updates to Spotify’s predictive music recommendations, we’ve been experiencing the everyday benefits of it for some time. So maybe it’s time to forget the dystopian sci-fi futures and embrace all the good things AI has to offer.