How Can You Take Advantage of AI Today?
Published on December 2nd, 2020
We’ve been dreaming about artificial intelligence for more than a century, though the technology could never match our ambitions. But that has changed more recently, as modern computers have become capable of performing billions of calculations per second.
While certain elements of artificial intelligence remain in the realm of science fiction, there are many ways in which it became a part of our reality. Using techniques like machine learning and natural language generation, AI has slowly become a part of our modern world. Here’s how you can use it to your advantage.
Having a personal assistant was once only possible for wealthy senior businesspeople. Today, everyone already has access to one.
Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft each have their digital assistants: Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, and Cortana respectively. If you own a device like a smartphone, tablet, computer, or smart speaker from one of these companies, you already have access, since an assistant like Siri was already included in the iPhone 4S back in 2011.
While it may not always seem like it, these assistants use artificial intelligence to help you add appointments to your calendar, send messages, order pizza, and check the weather.
Even listening and responding to your voice requires complicated computer processes. Computers speak a very different language to humans, so two types of artificial intelligence called natural language generation (NLG) and natural language processing (NLP) are required to make it possible for successful communication to occur.
NLP helps the computer to understand what you said, while NLG helps it to respond naturally.
Getting it to understand and reply is only the first hurdle to overcome. Siri and Alexa work better over time by learning from their mistakes and successes. For example, if you ask Siri what the weather is like outside, but it returns web search results instead of straight-up weather info, you can tell it the answer wasn’t right.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, digital assistants get to know you, understand the way you ask for things, and how best to help you so take advantage of them as soon as possible.
Online gaming has completely changed the way people enjoy their favorite free time. Instead of just playing alone, many now use the internet to compete against their friends and strangers in just about every type of gaming genre.
This has made gaming much more of a challenge, as skilled human players have been typically harder to beat than the pre-programmed non-playable characters seen in many games over the years.
Older games used a method of control for non-playable characters called a “Finite State Machine” algorithm, that had a pre-programmed list of possible responses, which made games predictable.
However, this is changing as artificial intelligence is helping to create more advanced computer-controlled opponents. AI has been used in several games, including chess and card games, where they have become capable of beating the best human poker players. These computers still have a long way to go as they have limitations, but they hint at the many possibilities that lie ahead.
It’s not just creating powerful game opponents either. AI is being used to help create and test video games too. Using a process called “procedural level generation”, developers can create games that have seemingly endless maps.
Procedural level generation uses AI to continue drawing the map, no matter how far the player moves and it can be found in popular titles like Minecraft and Skyrim. In Civilization a popular world-building game, AI-creates maps to come up with a unique experience, no matter how long you play for, helping to keep the game interesting for longer.
If you’ve had an email address for several years, it likely gets bombarded with barrages of baloney in the form of spam. According to Statista, around 55% of all the emails sent are junk, which amounts up to around 107 billion pieces of spam every single day.
But if you use Gmail, Outlook, or another popular email service, you’ll know that almost none of this junk lands in your inbox.
That’s because email service providers have been using artificial intelligence, along with other techniques, to improve the spam filters that keep your inbox clean.
15-20 years ago, spam filters would look for specific words but could be fooled by replacing letters with numbers or symbols. For example, replacing “S” with “5” or even “$”. Sometimes, even just putting a space between letters would be enough to sneak into your inbox.
Today, that isn’t the case, and spam filters are incredibly intelligent. If you never check your spam folder, do it, and you’ll be surprised at just how effectively it works.
If you’ve ever flown by plane or used ridesharing apps like Uber, you will have benefited from AI without even knowing it.
Autopilot, the function that takes over the controls from the human pilots when a plane is up in the air, uses artificial intelligence to get its bearings. According to the New York Times, typical commercial passenger flights will only have around seven minutes of flight time where the pilots are in control.
Ridesharing apps use AI to match you and your driver while minimizing the amount of time you need to wait to fill cars with paying passengers for as much of the day as possible.
Uber also uses machine learning, another type of artificial intelligence, to calculate ride ETAs and to tell you how long your meal will take to reach you.
While it may not always seem it, artificial intelligence is something you benefit from daily.