For the last 20 years, cynics have worried that the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) would ravage businesses, leaving behind mass unemployment and an increase in wealth inequality. So far, those fears have not come true. But that’s not to say AI hasn’t changed the world of business in many ways, including presenting it with as many new opportunities as it does challenges.
Although the robots haven’t replaced humans yet, there are already important signs of the arrival of AI both at work and at home. It’s popular in healthcare and finance and now dominates back-end operations in these data-heavy industries. Consumers can also find AI in their homes through voice assistants like Siri and Alexa. Log on to Amazon and the company’s AI will recommend products to buy with a click of a button.
The next decade will be the decade of AI. What can we expect to see change? The answer is a shift in essential processes and the reduction
AI is transforming the world of information technology
IT and AI aren’t two concepts that necessarily go hand-in-hand. Given how far it still has to go, AI still falls largely within the realm of engineering and development. But it’s increasingly encroaching on the IT space in ways that are both expected and not.
In most cases, AI presents an opportunity for IT. The grunt work in the field is spotting vulnerabilities as well as problems in code, programs, and architecture. Although it’s mind-numbing and time-consuming, the hunt for these mistakes is a core part of what IT requires from its practitioners. Without time dedicated to it, systems collapse and become exceedingly vulnerable to threats.
AI promises to change this by filling in the gaps between what humans can physically do during a workday and the increasing challenges they face with the creation of more data. Not only can AI cut down on the number of hours spent on these tasks, but AI can also be used to stay on top of the changing nature of threats. Conventional IT infrastructure can’t keep up with the sheer number of changes in cybersecurity threats. AI systems can not only keep up faster than humans can, but they can be used to identify what weakness was exploited.
AI is transforming Photoshop and graphic design
AI in its current state is often conflated with security and research, but it will undoubtedly have unexpected commercial uses. One of the most interesting uses is currently finding a home in creative fields.
Creatives spend hours of their time on software suites like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom carefully retouching and editing photos. It’s a huge timesuck. When hiring a photographer, you’re paying not just for the shoot but for the days spent perfecting the photos. But apps like Instagram have dramatically changed the way the average consumer perceives editing by making it simpler, more accessible, and putting out a ‘good enough’ photo.
Research produced by MIT and Google found that cameras will soon be able to correct images without the use of Photoshop in its current form. In fact, using AI, cameras could provide an auto-correct of sorts before you even take your finger off the shutter button. Adobe already has an AI-driven app that attempts to do just that (though, it’s in preview mode and doesn’t work as quickly as MIT’s research). Will the AI self-correct be as good as what a pro puts out? Possibly. Adobe already has a repository of hundreds of millions of photos as well as the tooling data that underlines the process, and huge amounts of data are the backbone of strong AI.
AI is transforming fleet management
Fleet management doesn’t have the “cool vibe” of an AI photo editor or the headline-grabbing gravitas of cybersecurity. But fleet management improvements do impact almost everyone who has to share the road with trucks and vans. What’s more, the sector is highly responsive to new tech: it already uses GPS devices, software, and apps to not only track a driver’s progress but also their behaviors behind the wheel.
We already know that AI goes beyond autonomous cars. AI also has the potential to take fleet management programs to the next level. Machine learning and intelligence principles can take the vast amount of data generated by the existing tech and make sense of it. Experts believe AI will better predict outcomes and accidents by tracking speeding, the use of mobile phones, and hard braking. It can then provide interventions to point out risky behaviors and even track a driver’s record for review both in real-time and in a cumulative mode.
Some of the potential applications might include the following:
- Collecting data for attendance analytics
- Road and traffic condition analytics
- Environmental hazards
- Real-time weather
The impact could be safer roads for all drivers as well as cheaper and more efficient distribution processes.
It’s clear that AI is already transforming businesses — and the tech is only in its infancy. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be having the devastating effects that some predicted ten to fifteen years ago. It looks like AI could step onto the stage to do hard work on behalf of humans, which will not only make us safer but leave us free to focus on other valuable tasks.