Understanding AI And Its Implications

November 26, 2023 | Other

AI, or artificial intelligence, is something we’ve seen on the horizon for decades. Hollywood and literature have been preparing us for some time for its arrival, offering storylines that alternate between menacing and genius.

Now that it’s here, being used more often than we might think or even notice, it might be helpful to get a good look at what AI actually is, how it’s utilized, the concerns it raises and where it might go from here.

Artificial intelligence refers to machines, specifically computers, enabled with simulated human intelligence. As AI has evolved over the decades, it has become used as somewhat of an umbrella term, when in actuality it is the foundational hardware and software used to write and teach certain algorithms.

Some of the biggest names involved in AI development are recognizable to the average person, while others may not be. The top companies fueling the development of the technology include IBM, Google, Amazon, People.ai, AlphaSense and Microsoft. Within each, there are a number of AI-related projects or programs being proposed, developed, fine-tuned and released.

The average consumer may recognize or refer to AI as “bots,” the helpers that guide users through FAQs on a website or provide customer support in lieu of talking to a “live person.” This type of artificial intelligence is an example of machine learning, where a system is trained to recognize patterns in data and correlate an appropriate response.

But, of late, a deeper level of machine learning has emerged — often referred to as generative AI or “deep learning.” While machine learning looks for historical patterns to determine or predict outcomes, deep learning draws on artificial networks that mirror the human brain, allowing for creativity.

This type of artificial intelligence is what has given rise to autonomous vehicle technology and ChatGPT, a natural language processing app built by OpenAI.

AI can be used, and is being used, in a variety of ways across all different industries. From customer service to data intelligence to research, quality control, training and simulation, manufacturing and beyond. Statistics indicate that at least 50% of companies plan to or already utilize AI technology to some degree and more than 77% of companies are exploring its use for future application.

Of course, innovative technology comes with its share of drawbacks even as users increasingly rely on it. When it comes to AI, there are a number of ethical concerns. Ones that bubble to the top include security, particularly if AI is used in a malicious way, and bias.

Facial recognition technology has had a fair amount of negative feedback as the technology is put to use, while the potential for misuse of artificial intelligence technology has long been a looming concern.

In addition, AI technology is not necessarily understandable by humans, which is one more challenge as it evolves. However, artificial intelligence is not going anywhere. Experts predict that healthcare, transportation and entertainment will be heavily influenced by AI advancements in the coming decade.

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