AI has long since abandoned the realm of science fiction and is quietly sneaking into our lives. Although still at a very early stage, AI is laying the foundation to lead a revolution comparable to that generated by the Internet.
WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?
Are we aware of the challenges and main applications of Artificial Intelligence?
It has long since abandoned the realm of science fiction and is quietly sneaking into our lives. Although still at a very early stage, Artificial Intelligence is laying the foundation to lead a revolution comparable to that generated by the Internet.
Intelligent machines imitate human cognitive functions.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the combination of algorithms formulated for the purpose of creating machines that have the same skills as a human being. This is a technology that still seems to be distant and mysterious, but one which has been a constant presence in our day-to-day lives for some years now.
TYPES OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
The computer science experts Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig differentiate between various types of artificial intelligence:
Systems that think like humans
Automate activities such as decision-making, problem-solving and learning. One example is artificial neural networks.
Systems that act like humans
Are computers that perform tasks in a similar manner to people. This is the case of robots.
Systems that think rationally
Attempt to emulate human rational, logical thought, in other words, researching ways to make machines that are capable of understanding, reasoning and then acting. Expert systems are included in this group.
Systems that act rationally
Ideally, they attempt to imitate human behaviour in a rational manner, like intelligent agents.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
The AI is present in the facial detection function of mobile phones, in virtual voice assistants such as Siri from Apple, Alexa from Amazon or Cortana from Microsoft, and it is integrated into our everyday devices through bots (short for robots) and mobile apps such as: Lyli, a digital personal shopper; Parla, conceived to help us with language learning; Ems, designed to make the arduous task of finding new flooring a little bit more bearable; and Gyant, a virtual assistant on Facebook that issues medical "diagnoses". The aim of all of these is to make people's lives easier.
Advances in AI are already driving the use of big data on account of its ability to process massive amounts of data and provide communication, commercial and business advantages that have led it into the position as the essential technology for the coming decades. Regardless of the field — transportation, education, health or culture — no sector will be able to resist its charms.
THE MAIN PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Virtual personal assistants
We will live with interactive chatbots whocan suggest products, restaurants, hotels, services and shows according to our search history.
Smart technologies can help banks detect fraud, predict market patterns and advise customers on transactions.
It will let you know if a student is about to cancel their registration, suggest new courses and create personalised offerings to optimise learning.
AI will make it possible to create salesforecasts and choose the right product to recommend to the client. Companies like Amazon use robots to identify whether or not a book will be successful, even before its launch.
Fleets of drones capable of planting one billion trees per year to combat deforestation, unmanned submarine vehicles to detect leaks in oil pipelines, smart buildings designed to reduce energy consumption, etc.
Specific platforms that use predictive analysis to improve agricultural yields and warn of any adverse impact to the environment.
Logistics and transportation
It will be useful for avoiding collisions or traffic jams, as well as for optimising traffic flow. Tesla has developed a system in which, when one of its cars uses a route for the first time, it shares the information with the rest.
Chatbots already exist which ask us about our symptoms in order to make a diagnosis. Data collection generates patterns that help with identifying genetic factors which are susceptible to developing a disease.
THE SIX LAWS OF ROBOTICS PROPOSED BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
This incredibly fast-paced emergence of AI and robotics in our society has forced international organisations to think about the need to establish regulations that regulate their use and employment, with the purpose of preventing any potential problems that might arise in the future.
- Robots must be designed with opt-out mechanisms (kill switches) to avoid dangerous situations.
- A robot may not harm humanity. Robotics has been expressly conceived to help and protect people.
- The development of an emotional connection between humans and robots will not be allowed.
- An insurance policy will be mandatory for larger units. Owners of robots will be held liable for material damage caused by their robots.
- The rights and obligations of robots will be classified by the corresponding laws.
- Robots and machines will pay social security contributions. Their entry into the labour market will have an impact on the labour force of many companies. Robots must pay taxes to subsidise unemployment benefits.
Both technologies are already changing the world and the figures are proof of this. The US consulting services firm Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of all interactions with customers will be managed by AI, and overall, it is estimated that the market for AI may reach 127 billion dollars in 2025, a figure far greater than the 2 billion in 2015. The United States and China will take the lead in investments.
And although there are voices like that of the Swedish philosopher from the University of Oxford, Nick Bostrom, who anticipates that: "There is a 90% chance between 2075 and 2090 that there will be machines as intelligent as humans", or that of Stephen Hawking, who projects that machines will completely surpass humans in less than 100 years, the truth is that far from rendering us obsolete, AI will make us more efficient and allow us to perform actions that we could never have undertaken due to their complexity. Can you imagine exploring parts of the universe that are totally hostile to humans? One day this will be possible thanks to AI.