Artificial intelligence is a term that inspires wonder in the minds of some people but instigates terror in the hearts of others. The truth is AI is changing our lives at a phenomenal speed. From driverless cars to special purpose robots, AI is meant to enhance the quality of human lives.
Technologies powered by AI and Machine learning have already begun transforming the industrial landscape, providing organizations with tremendous benefits and adding great value to their businesses.
The sectors of transportation, healthcare, logistics, finance and industrial manufacturing, among a plethora of others, would undergo an immense transformation under the influence of AI and they would evolve to be more productive and cheap and, more importantly, provide better services.
Among all its applications, I am most excited by the results that would be produced by AI in the following areas:
With the help of AI-powered expert systems and autonomous robot surgeons, the risk associated with all type of surgeries can be drastically reduced as even minor operations can be done with a remarkable degree of precision and efficiency.
As AI systems can continually learn and evolve as a whole, as opposed to human doctors who can only learn from their own experiences, they will become far superior at diagnosing and treating diseases leveraging the large volumes of medical data present.
Research has already shown that deep neural networks can be trained to produce basic radiological findings, with high reliability, by training from archives of millions of patient scans collected by healthcare systems. Many giants have already entered the field of Healthcare robotics.
For example, In 2000 Intuitive Surgical introduced the da Vinci system, a novel technology initially marketed to support minimally invasive heart bypass surgery, and then gained substantial market traction for treatment of prostate cancer and merged with its only major competition, Computer Motion, in 2003.
The da Vinci, now in its fourth generation, provides 3D visualization (as opposed to 2D monocular laparoscopy) and wristed instruments in an ergonomic platform. Many researchers are working on similar medical devices and these advances have the potential to increase and enhance the average human life expectancy.
We already have several chatbots and personal agents like Google home, Alexa, and Siri that are built to help us with our simple queries.
In the near future, we might have humanoid robots that can perform our daily chores for us. The National Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that home health aides will grow 38% over the next ten years .
This shows the need in the market. Companies like Amazon Robotics and Uber are working on humanoids that will provide basic home aid services.
The great advances in Natural Language Processing and Image processing enabled by Deep learning will enhance robot’s interaction with people in their homes. Another area in which AI can be really helpful is Eldercare.
Though there are devices in the market currently, a sustainable humanoid to help the elders is still on its way. AI is poised to become an integral part of our lives as our homes will be filled with smart technologies introducing greater efficiency and more comfort, saving us time, money and energy while also providing us with excellent services.
The latest example being Amazon Go stores which use AI and Computer Vision to remove long queues of billing from departmental stores saving us time and effort.
Despite how smart technologies become, they can never be considered a replacement for human life.
Over a period of time, all the jobs that endanger human life but are important can be carried out by AI empowered robots; this includes fixing power lines, finding oil in the deepest ocean trenches and acting as a police force against crime.
One of the best examples of robots keeping humans out of harm’s way is robotic welding. Manual welding is hazardous and can cause a lot of damage to the person involved. RobotWorx, a robotics startup has developed robots for such tasks where only a few people are required to aid the robots in welding.
Another such example is of sewer reconnaissance; currently, remote-controlled devices can crawl down manholes, navigate sewers, and investigate clogged sewer pipes and soon they’ll have enough intelligence to operate on their own and act autonomously.
In this way, a lot of lives can be saved annually from the unfortunate incidences that happen in these areas.
One of the greatest applications of AI is in space travel and exploration. AI can help us reach unknown planets and stars without ever having to risk a human life.
In the near future, AI-powered humanoids will be smart enough to carry out space missions on their own, finding new resources for humankind to thrive upon.
As you can read here, Steve Chien and Kiri Wagstaff of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab have predicted that in the future, the behavior of space probes will be governed by AI rather than human prompts from Earth.
Efforts have already been taken by many organizations to design AI technologies specifically for the purpose of exploration and the advancements that they make continue to blur the line between fiction and reality.
For example, both the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, which were launched back in 2003, had an AI driving system called Autonav that allowed them to explore the surface of Mars. Given the rapid growth in the AI industry, we would have completely autonomous systems that would transform the field of space exploration very soon.
These are only a small fraction of the applications of AI, and though it is without a doubt that mankind will greatly benefit from these applications, it is undeniable that there will be major consequences.
According to a report, just by 2021, intelligent agents and related robots will have eliminated a net 6% of jobs. That is just by 2021. It is therefore of utmost importance that the advancement of AI is closely monitored and appreciate measures are taken to ensure that the society does not ultimately suffer.
A smooth transition between the present and the AI empowered future needs to be implemented. A good start is the Google’s “AI for everyone” programs which try to show people how the power of AI can be harnessed. Thus AI can be realized as a tool which can benefit mankind in innumerable ways if used properly.