Artificial Intelligence

Yes, we choose to talk about AI starting from the most abstract and subjective concept for man, because from here we can understand the fundamental difference between man and machine.

What is Artificial Intelligence? Very trivially, we can understand it as the ability of a computer to perform functions and reasoning’s typical of the human mind; an emulator that searches for hidden regularity in potentially vast data sets. If we asked some people to give a definition of love, surely we will find ourselves with a huge list of answers in hand, all different, very subjective, and personal and reasoned. Everyone will respond based on their life experiences, their cognitive abilities, selecting and reflecting on what they think is most arbitrarily fair to define this feeling.

What makes an artificial machine is the opposite process, trying to find the regularity and objectivity in order to delineate anything. What separates human and artificial intelligence is the effort that the latter must face when territories are not clearly defined, when reasoning, common sense and profound meaning play an important role.

The evolution of Artificial Intelligence

Well, now that we should have understood the fundamental discriminating between intelligence (human, of course) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), we can talk about the exponential evolution that the latter is having. Research and development of systems based on AI, in recent years, are gaining prominence, as confirmed by the investments made and the numerous start-ups that are born to expand and develop the sector.

Artificial intelligence, between machine and deep learning, grows at dizzying rates

According to a study, at a global level, developed by Gartner, a world leader in strategic consulting, ” The Business Value of Artificial Intelligence, Worldwide, 2017-2025 “, the turnover of business solutions built on Artificial Intelligence platforms will grow to dizzying rates over the next ten years and we are ready to record a + 70% already in the current year.

Before proceeding with the escalation of the currently most popular fields of application, we would like to introduce two concepts closely linked to the development of Artificial Intelligence: “machine learning ” and ” deep learning “. We will hear a lot about it, also in terms of the applicability of this technology, so it is necessary that, at least in two words, we try to explain what they mean. The machine learning (or self-learning) can be understood as a set of calculation methods that use the experience to improve performance or to make accurate predictions.

It approaches statistical modeling, in some ways: it collects data, analyzes and improves it. The computer is able to train the algorithm and improve it based on what it has “learned”. For the series: I could choose between A and B, I chose A and I was wrong, next time I will choose B. Deep learning (or deep learning) is inspired by the structure and function of the human mind , the emulation of how beings humans learn, that is, through a hierarchy of concepts, cascaded. It can be defined as a subcategory of machine learning, involves the use of many more sets of data and aims to solve the problems of the older father, machine learning.

The reality is that Artificial Intelligence is already integrated into our daily life

So far we have spoken in a very conceptual and impractical manner, almost as if to delineate it as an abstract and distant entity, almost like the plot of a science fiction film that speaks of an indefinite future, but to us. The reality is that Artificial Intelligence is already immersed and integrated into our everyday life, it has entered so silently that it is almost taken for granted. Instead it is evolving under our eyes, at the speed of light. But let us come to the practical core of the question: what are the current areas of application of the IA? We cannot list them all because they are so many, but we can make a top ten of the most used and developing ones.

1) Publishing

Yes, even journalists have rivals! If you thought that AI would only replace mechanical processes, perhaps for large-scale production chains, wrong. These electronic colleagues can write news and even if they are not yet able to talk about news events or delve into subjects, they can write short sports news or, perhaps, financial news. And they never sleep!

2) Security

Think about when you go to the airport, for example. To pass the controls you are examined by thousands of cameras and scanners. This information is processed, recorded and analyzed. The deep learning integrated in these security mechanisms allows us, not only to recognize any suspicious faces in the database, but to immediately notice patterns of behavior that can be an alarm signal.

3) Finance

There are AI systems that monitor bank transactions: they are trained to notice any inconsistencies and to report them immediately. I am reminded of the time when, as soon as I wake up, I received news of a transaction in Detroit. I’ve never been to Michigan…

4) Videogames

Video games are one of the most widespread applications of Artificial Intelligence. AI algorithms allow characters, environments, and stories to evolve according to the behavior of the player, creating situations that are always new and unpredictable. Currently many video game companiesare focusing on this Artificial Intelligence.

5) Smart Home

One of the most interesting applications of Artificial Intelligence concerns home automation. It is all those systems that manage the environments in terms of temperature, lighting, sound according to our habits and our preferences. There are already on the market smart thermostats that are able to understand how many people there are a room and electric shutters connected to our smartphone that close alone when we leave the house and reopen on our return. It is also known by the name of home automation.

6) Smart car

Some state-of-the-art cars keep the traffic around us in check, anticipate us on braking in the event of a sudden slowdown and are also able to follow the lanes of the road on their own. These cars are able to evaluate the surrounding environment as a whole.

7) Marketing & trade

The prediction of needs could really make a difference for the big ones of online commerce, allowing a truly remarkable increase in sales. A bit like having a target and already be certain that our dart will go straight to the center, maximizing our score. Several companies, including Amazon, are working on AI algorithms that understand what we’ll need in the immediate future, before we realize it ourselves. In short, a good kick for Herbert Marcuse’s “theory of false needs”.

8) Recommendation systems (and monitoring!)

Also in this case the system aims to analyze the man and his personal tastes. Algorithms can learn how to give us consumption and purchase tips, in line with our preferences. Who uses them? Netflix to recommend movies; Spotify to tell you the music. And, of course, Facebook: the algorithm chooses which post to show us.

9) Virtual assistants

Now there are no more people who, on the street, feel wink with a “Hey, Siri!” Or “Ok, Google!” Virtual assistants respond to our voice commands to remind us of a commitment, search the web, send a text message or answer a call. These software use Artificial Intelligence algorithms for the recognition of the language but also to learn over time our habits and preferences and to better meet our needs.

10) Customer service

“Can I help you?”, Now many sites rely on these catboats ( customer support chat ), in the last period we noticed an exponential growth of these windows that open automatically in the lower right corner, as soon as you access a site. These applications are based on evolved Artificial Intelligence systems and are able to understand what the customer is asking them, what the problem is and provide the answer that best suits their needs.

Artificial Intelligence: for man is a winning union or announced tragedy?

So, winning combination or announced tragedy? As far as I’m concerned, the marriage is absolutely winning; as a lover of technology and innovations, I firmly believe that, in some areas, the introduction of Artificial Intelligence is a winning weapon, which will bring much progress. I admit that these algorithms that know us almost better than our mothers and that foresee what we want to desire are rather disturbing, but if I look at it from a commercial point of view … the increase can only be certain.

In some areas there is still a lot to improve : one above all is the customer service managed through Chabot, which I personally find rather frustrating, because there are two things: or in many cases the algorithms have been purchased at the end of the sale or there is still a lot to perfect.

In any case, there must always be a man behind every artificial machine.

Both have limits, but their marriage can work, together they can be “one”, perhaps even “one +”. As for the announced tragedy, due to the loss of work for man, unfortunately this is actually true, but one thing is firmly convinced: human beings will still be indispensable and the gain in productivity can only be achieved if men work side by side with the machines. This will profoundly change the world of work: a high degree of cooperation between workers and technologies will be needed, but this change must not “paralyze” us, only stimulate us. If you think about it, it’s already happened, the twentieth century has not been less full of “scary” news: it’s called progress.

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