By Sasha Reeves
Artificial Intelligence refers to the phenomenon where a machine acts as a blueprint of the human mind, by being able to understand, analyze, and learn from data through specially designed algorithms. Artificially intelligent machines can remember human behavior patterns and adapt according to their preferences.
The major concepts closely related to AI that you will come across over the course of our discussion are machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing (NLP). Let’s make sense of these before we move on.
Machine Learning (ML) involves teaching machines about important concepts via examples by means of big data that needs to be structured (in machine language) for the machines to understand. This is all done by feeding them the right algorithms.
Deep Learning is a step ahead of ML, meaning it learns through representation but the data does not need to be structured for it to make sense of it. This is due to the artificial neural networks that are inspired by the human neural structure.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a linguistic tool in computer science. It enables machines to read and interpret human language. NLP allows an automatic translation of human language data and enables two entities (computers and humans) who speak different languages to interact.
Now that you are equipped with the terminologies, let’s delve into examples of artificial intelligence and how they work.
8 Examples of Artificial Intelligence
Here is a list of eight examples of artificial intelligence that you’re likely to come across on a daily basis, but whose AI aspect you might be unaware of.
1. Google Maps and Ride-Hailing Applications
One doesn’t have to put much thought into traveling to a new destination anymore. Instead of having to rely on confusing address directions, you can now simply open up the handy map application on your phone and type in your destination.
So how does the application know the exact directions, the optimal route, and even road barriers and traffic congestions? Not too long ago, only GPS (satellite-based navigation) was used as guidance for commuting. But now, artificial intelligence is being incorporated to give users a much more enhanced experience in regards to their specific surroundings.
Via machine learning, the app algorithm remembers the edges of the buildings that have been fed into the system after the staff has manually identified them. This allows the addition of clear visuals of buildings on the map. Another feature is the quality of recognizing and understanding handwritten house numbers which help commuters reach the exact house they were looking for. Places that lack formal street signs can also be identified with their outlines or handwritten labels.
The application has been taught to understand and identify traffic. Thus, it recommends the best route that avoids roadblocks and congestion. The AI-based algorithm also tells users the exact distance and time they will reach their destination as it has been taught to calculate this based on traffic conditions. Users can also view the pictures of their locations before getting there.
So by employing a similar AI technology, various ride-hailing applications have also come into existence. So whenever you book a cab from an app by putting your location on a map, this is how it works.
2. Face Detection and Recognition
Using virtual filters on our face when taking pictures and using face ID for unlocking our phones are two applications of AI that are now part of our daily lives. The former incorporates face detection meaning any human face is identified. The latter uses face recognition through which a specific face is recognised.
How does this work?
Intelligent machines often match – and sometimes go even above and beyond! – human capabilities. Human babies start recognizing facial features like eyes, nose, lips and face shapes. But that is not all there is to a face. There are a plethora of factors that make human faces unique. Smart machines are taught to identify facial coordinates (x, y, w, and h; that make a square around the face as an area of interest), landmarks (eyes, nose etc), and alignment (geometric structures). This takes the human ability to recognize faces several notches up.
Face recognition is also used for surveillance and security by government facilities or at airports. For example, Gatwick Airport, London, uses face recognition cameras as ID checks before allowing passengers to board the plane.
3. Text Editors or Autocorrect
When you’re typing out documents, there are inbuilt or downloadable auto-correcting tools for editors that check for spelling mistakes, grammar, readability, and plagiarism depending on their complexity level.
It must have taken you a while to learn your language before you became fluent in it. Similarly, artificially intelligent algorithms also use machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing to identify incorrect usage of language and suggest corrections.
Linguists and computer scientists work together to teach machines grammar, just like you were taught at school. Machines are fed with copious amounts of high-quality language data, organized in such a manner that machines can understand it. So when you use even a single comma incorrectly, the editor will mark it red and prompt suggestions.
The next time you have a language editor check your document, know that you are using one of the many examples of artificial intelligence.
4. Search and Recommendation Algorithms
When you want to watch your favorite movies or listen to songs or perhaps shop online, have you noticed that the items suggested to you are perfectly aligned with your interests? This is the beauty of AI.
These smart recommendation systems learn your behavior and interests from your online activities and offer you similar content. The personalized experience is made possible by continuous training. The data is collected at the frontend (from the user), stored as big data and analyzed through machine learning and deep learning. It is then able to predict your preferences by recommendations that keep you entertained without having to search any further.
Similarly, the optimized search engine experience is another example of artificial intelligence. Usually, our top search results have the answer we’re looking for. How does that happen?
Quality controlling algorithms are fed with data to recognize high-quality content over SEO-spammed, poor content. This helps make an ascending order of search results based on quality for the best user experience.
As search engines are made up of codes, natural language processing technology helps these applications to understand humans. In fact, they are also able to predict what a human wants to ask by compiling top-ranked searches and predicting their queries when they start to type.
New features such as voice search and image search are also constantly being programmed into machines. If you want to find a song that is playing at a mall, you can simply hold your phone up to it, and a music-identifying app will tell you what it is within seconds. After sifting through the rich database of songs, the machine will also tell you all the details related to that song.
As a customer, getting queries answered can be time-consuming. An artificially intelligent solution to this is the use of algorithms to train machines to cater to customers via chatbots. This enables machines to answer FAQs, and take and track orders.
Chatbots are taught to impersonate the conversational styles of customer representatives through natural language processing (NLP). Advanced chatbots no longer require specific formats of inputs (e.g. yes/no questions). They can answer complex questions requiring detailed responses. They will give the impression of a customer representative when, in fact, they are just another example of artificial intelligence.
If you give a bad rating for the response you get, the bot will identify the mistake it made and correct it the next time, ensuring maximum customer satisfaction.
6. Digital Assistants
When we have our hands full, we often resort to ordering digital assistants to perform tasks on our behalf. When you are driving with a cup of coffee in one hand, you might ask the assistant to call your mom. The assistant, for example, Siri will access your contacts, identify the word “Mom”, and call the number.
Interestingly, Siri is old news, as it is an example of a lower-tier model that can only respond when spoken to and not give complex answers. The latest digital assistants are well-versed in human language and incorporate advanced NLP and ML. They understand complex command inputs and give satisfactory outputs. They have adaptive capabilities that can analyze your preferences, schedules, and habits. This allows them to systemize, organize and plan things for you in the form of reminders, prompts and schedules.
The advent of social media provided a new narrative to the world with excessive freedom of speech. However, this brought some societal evils such as cybercrime, cyberbullying, and hate speech. Various social media applications are using the support of AI to control these problems and provide users with other entertaining features.
AI algorithms can spot and swiftly take down posts containing hate speech a lot faster than humans could. This is made possible through their ability to identify hate keywords, phrases, and symbols in different languages. These have been fed into the system, which has the additional capability to add neologisms to its dictionary. The neural network architecture of deep learning is an important component of this process.
Emojis have become the best way to represent various emotions. This digital language is also understood by AI technology as it can understand the connotation of a certain piece of text and prompt the correct emoji as part of predictive text.
Social media, being a great example of artificial intelligence, also has the ability to understand the sort of content a user resonates with and suggests similar content to them. The facial recognition feature is also utilized in social media accounts, helping people tag their friends through automatic suggestions. Smart filters can identify and automatically weed out spam or unwanted messages. Smart replies are another feature users can enjoy.
Some future plans of the social media industry include using artificial intelligence to identify mental health problems such as suicidal tendencies through analyzing the content posted and consumed. This can be forwarded to mental health doctors.
Having to run to the bank for every transaction can be a hectic errand. Good news! Banks are now leveraging artificial intelligence to facilitate customers by simplifying payment processes.
Artificial intelligence has made it possible to deposit cheques from the comfort of your home. AI is proficient in deciphering handwriting, making online cheque processing practicable.
The way fraud can be detected by observing users’ credit card spending patterns is also an example of artificial intelligence. For example, the algorithms know what kind of products User X buys, when and from where they are bought, and in what price bracket they fall. When there is some unusual activity that does not fit in with the user profile, the system instantly alerts user X.
Artificially intelligent algorithms serve as time-savers as they go beyond human capabilities, allowing scientists to invest their efforts in other more important discoveries.
The examples of artificial intelligence that we have discussed not only serve as a source of entertainment but also provide countless utilities that we have become so dependent on. The field of artificial intelligence is still nascent and there are many more inventions yet to come that will much more accurately replicate human capabilities.