Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not something new that popped up suddenly overnight. Since the 2010s, AI has been making inroads, and it has slowly become a part of our everyday lives. Although we might not fully realize it, AI trends are shaping 2020 and beyond.
“Artificial Intelligence” broadly describes a program or machine that carries out tasks while demonstrating certain behavioral characteristics. Behaviors such as reasoning, learning, planning, and problem-solving are some attributes associated with an AI machine.
Did you know that the facial recognition software on Facebook is an AI? AI software is what makes it possible to recognize faces in photos and even unlock your mobile phone. However, the power of AI does not stop there. Virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are AI interfaces that we interact with daily.
AI trends have been all the rage over the last few years, and why wouldn’t it be? With the continuing advances in technology, the possibilities of what AI could accomplish become bigger every year. Maybe the Terminator robot is going to appear and take over the world?
What is Narrow AI?
Narrow AI is readily available all around us. We can find it on our computers, mobile phones and even online shopping and social media platforms. Software such as Apple’s Siri is a good example of Narrow AI. Siri is able to assist you with queries you might have that result in a logical answer. If you ask Siri to find a particular restaurant, the algorithm built into Siri directs her to use Google or Google Maps to find it. It can only compute specific tasks.
What is General AI?
General AI, however, has human-like adaptable intelligence characteristics. It is capable of reasoning but only after it has collected a vast amount of data from its own accumulated experience. However, the ability to reason and form ideas or beliefs is currently science fiction.
That being said, General AI is useful for scenario simulations. Take the weather forecast for example. With the ability to gather data and information, and reason with the data, General AI can simulate weather patterns. This is helpful in climate control studies and learning about global warming statistics.
Top AI Trends to look out for now
Now that we understand the potential and limitations of AI, let us explore the latest AI trends of 2020.
1. AI and Cybersecurity
In recent times, cybersecurity has become a trend on its own. With more businesses shifting towards digital transactions, cybersecurity is more important now than ever. Online banking, shopping, and financial institutions are industries that require high levels of cybersecurity because it involves money. These institutions are taking larger measures to ensure higher levels of security that can prevent money from being stolen.
If a bank has a weak security system and because of this weak security loses the customers’ money, it would be disastrous. Not only from a financial point of view but also as a credible banking source. Who would trust their money to a bank with weak security measures?
Financial industries are not the only ones in need of strong security measures. Social media platforms, business websites, and even educational platforms are vulnerable to hacks and phishing. Many of these websites already employ AI to provide the first level of protection against unwanted content passing through their sites.
However, as hackers and malware become more sophisticated, first level AI security is just not good enough. More predictive algorithms and AI are now playing a larger role in combating potential cybersecurity threats.
Thanks to General AI’s ability to learn through data and past experiences, companies are able to strengthen their security measures. Of course, AI cannot act on its own but with the predictive algorithms, AI can spot unusual activities and raise the alarm. As faster internet connections, such as 5G network connection, are introduced, cybersecurity needs to evolve as well.
2020 is expected to be the year where 5G beings rolling out on a large scale and this will mean updates to cybersecurity systems. The next generation of predictive algorithms and AI to combat cybersecurity threats is going to be out-of-this-world.
2. AI can Streamline Business Processes
When AI was first introduced into the workspace, it was primarily deployed in factories and manufacturing plants. These AI robots took their place along assembly lines, putting together everything from cars to coke cans. These narrow AI robots were able to follow specific instructions, and it helped improve production speed while reducing costs.
AI has come a long way since then. Businesses want to remain productive and efficient but reduce their operating costs. Besides, many businesses are not in the manufacturing industry, and they cannot rely on those robots to do their work. A robot that screws the top of bottles cannot answer IT-related questions.
However, with the introduction of robotic process automation, office workflows can now be handled by a robot. Simple administrative jobs like — filling up a form, generating reports, and producing instructions are now done automatically.
As AI continues to evolve and technology enables it to carry out higher-level functions, mundane administrative paperwork will become extinct. Businesses will be able to streamline more of their administrative work, leaving people to focus on more important aspects of the business. Don’t be surprised the next time you make a business call and you end up talking to a robot secretary.
3. You have been interacting with an AI
If you thought that speaking to a robot secretary was a little far-fetched, then this is going to blow your mind. It is the year 2020 and chatbots are nothing new. More businesses are incorporating chatbots into their daily work processes, both internally and customer-facing. Many corporate websites today have chatbots.
These are the pop-up windows that appear on your screen when you are on a particular website. These text message styled pop-ups will greet you, and then ask you if you needed any help. You can type something back in the chatbox, and you might get a relevant answer to your query.
No, there isn’t someone else on the other side of the screen talking to you. You’ve been conversing with an AI robot. A robot that has been programmed, with all the possible questions that a customer could ask, and all the probable answers they could give. It’s not rocket science. Like a search engine, whatever question you ask, the chatbot will search for an appropriate reply specific to the company’s business.
General AI uses reasoning and data to better improve its service quality. It records your questions, your satisfaction with the answers, and the feedback you provide. Taking all these factors, the AI learns certain predictive algorithms to faster facilitate your queries.
The power of AI and the advances in technology that operates chatbots will soon be so good, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. The rate in which AI is learning, with newer algorithms, is astonishing. Chatbots and virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa will be so real, you would think you were talking to another human being.
4. AI is making it personal
Let me tell you a short story. A little while ago, I was on my phone searching for a new office chair. My current chair was adequate, but it did not offer the type of back support I was looking for. Anyways, I found the chair that I wanted, and I spent some time reading up on the specifications. When I got to the price of the chair, I decided I could live with the back pain for a little while longer.
I closed the browser on my phone and within the next 30 seconds, I went onto Facebook. The first thing I see is a banner ad showing the chair that I was just looking at, but at a discounted price. I brushed it off as a coincidence as it is a popular brand. I closed Facebook and opened up my Instagram app. Two posts down and the same chair appears as a sponsored as, telling me to “Buy now”.
Tha’s right people, AI, or businesses to be more accurate, are taking things personally. Thanks to pixels and cookies, search engines can track your movement on the internet. Sophisticated AI algorithms can then learn what you are searching for and push appropriate ads to you. This happens on social media, search engines, and websites that allow Google Display Network (GDN) banners.
AI is changing the way we receive ads., pushing only the things we have shown interest in. This AI personalization is crucial, especially on online shopping platforms. If you are looking for wireless keyboards, I guarantee all the pop-up ads and sponsored ads you will see for the next week, will be about wireless keyboards.
5. AI and real-world simulations
The power of AI is unquestionable. Why? Because AI can do many things that cannot be replicated or would be very difficult to accomplish in the real-world. The face that General AI has the ability to learn and reason, businesses and governments make use of this ability to carry out real-world simulations.
In the commercial world, automobile manufactures use AI to simulate many real-world scenarios with regards to their vehicles. If a car-maker were to test out all the safety aspects of the car in the real-world, do you know how much that would cost? To build test cars and have them crash over and over again in different weather conditions or with different objects is near impossible. With the power of AI and its ability to process mountains of data, engineers can recreate scenarios accurately to see how their cars handle a crash. This not only saves money but precious time.
In the government sector, AI is used to predict natural disasters. Again, the AI can go through huge amounts of data to learn and process logical outcomes. Scientists simulate seismic activity to see if there would be a catastrophic earthquake with tsunami waves. Or volcanic eruptions and other environmental impacts that might change the course of the earth.
The power of AI’s ability to chew through data, reason with the information, and simulate multiple outcomes has been a game-changer for businesses and governments alike. Together with predictive algorithms, AI’s simulation technology is something to look out for, not just in 2020, but beyond.
Artificial Intelligence has been and will continue to be a hotly contested subject. There are many who swear by its benefits and keep pushing the boundaries to what AI is capable of. However, there is an equal number of people who are against AI, for the simple reason, fear. They fear, like in many robot movies, that AI will one day rise up against the humans and take over the world.
We cannot be afraid of technological progress. If inventors of the past were so afraid of pushing limits, we might not have air travel and spaceships and deepsea submarines today. AI has become a part of everyone’s daily lives and it is not going anywhere. Expect to see more developments in the world of AI in 2020 and beyond.