Would you believe that your word processor’s autocorrect function is your day-to-day encounter with artificial intelligence? As simplistic as it may sound, autocorrect is indeed an artificial intelligence function: it traces patterns, understands trends, learns from past errors, and predicts what you meant. But that’s just the hazy beginning.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), commonly defined as the science of making machines do things that would require human intelligence, is often confused with robotics, especially humanoid robotics, as they are the closest to ‘human’ intelligence.
Robotics is of course an important branch of AI. Retailers, such as Staples and Office Depot, have robots on their payroll for supply chain management, making a rather significant contribution to their business. The manufacturing industry is adapting robotic support too. Experts argue that manufacturing, which bases several of its supply chain management decisions on cheap labor, will do so no more as robots replace laborers in the assembly line.
However, AI plays a significant role in decision making beyond robot-aided functions; most effectively in financial management. For instance, hedge fund managers are getting increasingly interested in expert systems to reduce errors in investment decisions, while several stock traders are using neural networks to forecast stock performance through the analysis of historical data.AI systems even crawl through news, press releases and social media content that may impact stock prices to forecast potential changes and help investors bid accordingly.
In parallel, healthcare researchers around the world are showing interest in the use of AI to save lives. The simulation model created by researchers at the Indiana University earlier this year, for instance, analyzed patient data to recommend treatment plans that were proven to be 50% more effective at half the cost. Clearly, AI has the potential to improve decision-making capabilities across industries, and bring in cost savings too!
While artificial intelligence has been an important area of scientific research and captured the popular imagination since the 1950s, the advancement in computing technology has brought it closer to businesses. Organizations from across the globe are adopting AI in various aspects of their business to reduce errors and increase efficiency. So, the next time you are annoyed with your autocorrect function, think of it as a little robot that is still learning – intelligence is what you make of it.
Where do you think AI is headed? Share your thoughts