The world has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. We have gone from getting our news twice a day from a radio show or a TV to it constantly being streamed to us via the internet.
So much new technology has been invented in that time that even tractors on farms rely on satellite communications to work in the modern day.
One of the big things to come out of this period of technological advancement is artificial intelligence in modern software.
While some are excited about this new technology, others are really anxious about this development.
Part of the reason is a lack of understanding about how AI works – which is understandable, it is very complex – and it is also partly because of the use of AI as a villain in a lot of media.
However, we should not view AI as something that will on its own hurt us. Like phones and computers, it is a tool, and it is up to the user how to use it, whether that be for good or bad purposes.
Today, AI is changing the world in all sorts of ways, and most of them are beneficial to our society.
But how exactly is AI changing the world? In this article, we will look at AI’s impact on our society and some examples of said impact.
AI: What Is It?
It is very difficult for people to grasp how AI is changing the world, when they don’t really understand what AI is.
It is not the stereotype that most people attach to AI of being a completely in-human intelligence that has different wants and goals from us, that is just in the movies.
No, what AI really is is basically an examination tool. It is a collection of algorithms and technological tools that examine huge quantities of data.
From this huge amount of data, the AI will give the user of its system predictions of what will happen, recommendations of what to do based on the user’s preferences, and decisions based on the data given.
Although it’s examinations and decisions can affect real world and digital environments, it is ultimately up to the user on how the data and decisions are used.
Previously, these huge sets of data were managed, filed, and used by people, but AI can deal with the data thousands of times faster than a group of people, in some cases doing years’ worth of work in a matter of seconds.
There are two types of AI: Machine Learning AI and Deep Learning AI.
Machine learning AI kind of fit the classic mold of what AI should be, they use their own data to learn and, in theory, they shouldn’t need human intervention or involvement to keep working.
This type of AI utilizes data through the use of different algorithms that figure out methods of improvement, creating descriptions of their own data, and understanding how things will progress in the future.
Deep learning AI is based more on how the human brain works, specifically the neural pathways in your brain.
The idea is to construct a sort of artificial neural pathway that can help machines learn from data that is incomplete or unconstructed.
This type of AI is useful when dealing with interactions with humans, as we have a tendency to say incomplete sentences or pronounce things a different way from standard.
So, in the same way that people infer what is being said by filling in the gaps of the conversation, so to can the deep learning AI.
Now that we know AI and its different types, we can see some real world examples that are currently being used.
Examples Of AI
You likely already know many examples of AI, in fact I’m willing to bet that an example is sitting in your pocket at this moment.
Whenever you say ‘Alexa’ or ‘Okay, Google’ or ‘Siri’, you are engaging with a kind of AI, in fact most virtual assistants used by companies are a kind of AI.
These AIs are programmed to understand human commands, learn patterns of speech – so people can be understood better – and they act based on the commands or information they are given.
For most people, this is incredibly convenient and just makes their daily life a little easier, but it can also be a massive help during some situations.
If you are blind, having a virtual assistant makes organizing your day to day so much easier and if you have fallen over and can’t move, being able to talk to a virtual assistant who has the ability to call for emergency services is a godsend.
AI can even be used with pictures and pick information out of pictures that you may have missed.
For example, signs in other languages can be translated by your phone, thanks to AI.
Impact Of AI In The Future
The idea of AI as this futuristic force that can change the way we do things is a truth and a falsehood.
You see, it can and does change the way we do things in the modern world, but AI is also not going to give people superpowers or take us to other galaxies at this point in time.
Yet, there are still a lot of people and businesses who consider AI the way forward and have high hopes for what the technology can do.
One of the key areas is medicine. Throughout most of our history, we have had to experiment with medicine and surgery to get it right.
This has been met with great success sometimes and tragedy other times.
This isn’t a dig at medicine, it’s just by the nature of it solely being related to the human body meant that there were not a lot of ways to progress with it.
AI could change how we explore medicine.
To work out how to make an effective drug for medical use, scientists have to know all about the individual molecules properties and use hypotheses to work out what effect combining molecules would cause in the medicine.
Sometimes this works, and sometimes this is met with miserable failure.
AI can take the data we have on individual molecules and run them through a series of algorithms.
It can then make predictions based on how the molecules will react, from which scientists can work out how effective or defective a drug may be in this combination.
This could save thousands of manpower hours and millions of dollars, all for the price of one AI system.
AI is not a futuristic force from a William Gibson novel or a Ridley Scott movie, it is a current and real technological tool in the modern world.
Although it is changing the world, it is doing it for neither good nor ill, it is just a tool that people can use. However, we should be thankful for AI, as it benefits us majorly.
It is on our computers, phones, in our cars and trains, it is helping manage our gigantic global population, so society can be organized.
There may be some hiccups and some nefarious people misusing the technology, but on the path we are going, AI should be able to help us in the long run.