10 everyday uses of AI

Whether you know it or not, artificial intelligence (AI) plays a vital role in your daily life.

What is AI?

AI is the intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to that displayed by humans and other animals. Any device that can perceive its environment and act accordingly will have artificial intelligence.

When AI is mentioned, your mind naturally jumps to Terminator or the Matrix, but AI hasn’t reached those levels of sophistication just yet. From the early days of a chess playing computer, to current strides towards automated cars, the evolution of AI has been astounding since the discovery of it as an academic discipline in 1956. Google are currently working on an artificial intelligence mission of their own to make machines capable of learning things for themselves with their Google DeepMind division.

In the future, who knows what technological advancements may hold. e-Careers counts down 10 examples of AI that are in use every day.

1) Virtual Assistants

This is one of the clearest and best examples of AI at work. Every time you talk to Siri and other smartphones that have voice recognition, you are utilising the AI to find useful information or plan your day.

The words “Hey Siri” can do so many things (for Apple users, please don’t say it to your phone if you have an Android), from telling you where your nearest petrol station is, to putting events in your calendar as a reminder.

These assistants use AI by collecting information on your requests and using that information to recognise your speech and understand what you need to do. The advancements in this field may soon mean that your virtual assistant will know what you need before you even tell it.

2) Video games

One of the more obvious entries in this list, and one which I personally enjoy.

The very first video games utilised AI to control the non-playable characters which were usually your enemies. Even the 1972 release of Pong used AI which would control the paddle you were up against.

As video games have evolved, both mechanically and graphically, so has the AI behind them. For example, shooters and tactical games where you need to utilise stealth have powerful AI controlling your enemies to analyse their environment; this is how they take cover, investigate your presence through what they see and hear, and ultimately try and see you reach your demise. Characters in games have become more adaptive, responsive and intelligent as the technology behind them has become more sophisticated.

3) Music and Movies

Your favourite streaming sites for music and movies, whether it be Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime, Netflix, or NowTV, all use AI and machine learning to figure out what selections you would prefer.

Have you ever wondered how the recommendations section can pick out some absolute corkers? Well, that’s how. They analyse your behaviour (what you like, what you watch, how long you watch it for, which actors are in your selections) and bring out recommendations based on the data you provide.

4) Amazon

The e-Commerce giant is probably one of the biggest users of AI.

Another user of machine learning and AI together, Amazon will recommend products to you based on your searches, purchases you’ve made, and products you’ve clicked on and had a mooch at. This can be very useful, but it can also put incredible stress on your bank account as you buy that afro wig for your dog.

5) AI Autopilot

The New York Times reported that pilots controlling a Boeing 777 did so for around seven minutes of most flights. This seven-minute period is used to control the precision bits which autopilot can’t do – taxiing and taking off, and landing. This has pros and cons; I won’t go through the cons for those with aerophobia as I don’t want to disrupt your next holiday.

6) Fraud Prevention

Banks have an automated system to review transactions and transfers, as I’m not sure humans are capable of processing 3.4billion transactions per day, at a rate of 38,000 a second with an average respond time that calculates to mere milliseconds.

These numbers are handled by AI, which learns the types of transactions that can be fraudulent. This can be worked out (or at least predicted) by utilising factors including frequency of transactions, transaction size, the location of the transaction, and the kind of retailer involved.

7) Social Networking

The filters on Instagram and Snapchat, although they seem very trivial and potentially a waste of time, have proved very lucrative and have seen user numbers and frequency soar. You can’t see many selfies nowadays without a pair of dog ears and a tongue protruding from the head and face of the subject, and that’s down to AI.

Snapchat acquired Ukrainian company Looksery who owned the patents for using machine learning to track movements in video, changing selfies forever.

Facebook utilises AI through their facial recognition when uploading a picture, this allows the platform to instantly identify which of your friends is in the photo. The social networking giant also uses AI to personalise your newsfeed, ensuring you see posts and advertisements that interest you, helping them to become a giant in the advertising market.

8) Toys

Personally, I find dolls that can talk to me quite weird, I’ve seen Chucky.

Although the doll did initially raise concerns over children’s privacy, Mattel released “smart Barbie”, a toy that utilised voice-recognition technology which gave the owner the opportunity to have a unique relationship with their doll.

The doll could learn about the child’s like, dislikes, ambitions, fears, anything that the child wanted to talk about.

Another example of this is CogniToys Green Dino, the only toy so far to be powered by IBM Watson’s cognitive capabilities, meaning the toy can learning in real time and answer questions that are not programmed.

9) Smartphones

The biggest example today. The smartphone is a gadget that is owned by over 36% of the entire world’s population, with that number expected to reach 2.5 billion in 2019.

As stated at entry one, smartphones have a virtual assistant at the core of their existence, with voice-to-text, requesting your phone to make a call to a contact, or schedule something into your day now being an almost routine occurrence.

The AI presence doesn’t stop here though. The interface that you use to navigate around your phone (which is usually a touchscreen nowadays) has been programmed to respond to your preferences. The facial recognition feature that Apple has released creates a 3D map of a person’s face and use it to identify that person, to unlock the phone, make payments via Apple Pay or authenticate other services.

10) Emails

Your inbox uses AI to power one of its most important features: your cyber security.

Your rules-based filters are not enough to ward off the benefactors of 10 million Nigerian dollars from your bank account. Spammers can quickly update their message to get right back into your inbox and become a nuisance.

AI spam filters work to take note of a variety of factors including words used in a message, where the message has come from, who sent it, as well as your personal definition of spam – which is why you keep sending that mailing list you signed up for one time into your junk folder.

If you are interested in developing apps or any other piece of technology that would utilise AI, take a look at our coding courses and see if you are a future AI Developer who can make past dreams a reality. Find out more here.