5 Industries Ramping Up AI Advancements in 2018
Artificial intelligence (AI) as we know it today isn’t up to what we’ve dreamed in science fiction movies and books of the 20th century—but it has come a long way in the last few years. Today, we’re able to accomplish many tasks that once were a far-off dream: facial recognition, driverless cars, and automated manufacturing, thanks to AI and machine learning. Now that we have the processing power to run neural networks, the pace of AI development is picking up, and many industries are benefitting from the new devices and capabilities available to help them run more efficiently. Here’s what’s ramping up in AI across 5 industries in 2018.
Big tech companies like Google, Apple, Amazon and IBM will always be on the cutting edge of AI development thanks to their deep pockets and immense influence over the market. In fact, just today at its iPhone event Apple reveled that the iPhone X will have AR capabilities integrated into the software. Likewise, Amazon’s Echo and Alexa devices have developed into one of the smartest devices and is projected to gain more capabilities in 2018.
Outside of devices, smart homes are only growing in popularity, and these giants are building new IoT devices to work on that network as quickly as possible. Voice-activated assistants are getting smarter all the time, and these tech giants want to make them as helpful as possible.
Healthcare has been stunted in some advancement thanks to privacy concerns, but it’s finally moving toward integrating technology into everyday processes to help with tasks such as storing and protecting over 150 exabytes of patient data. A Stanford University research project, for example, used AI to predict lung cancer patients’ prognoses quickly, helping to expedite workflows for healthcare professionals. These predictive workflow algorithms are currently the main focus of AI in healthcare, with GE sponsoring further research at UC San Francisco, but there is so much potential for AI to transform this field in the future.
AI is also being used to help aid in international health initiatives. One idea is that children can be fingerprinted to give healthcare providers definitive answers about their health history, including any vaccinations received. Currently, the challenge is creating an enhanced fingerprint scanner that can capture babies’ fingerprints, which are not yet well-formed. If researchers can accomplish this, it could help many children in developing countries get the care they need.
Manufacturing is ripe for AI automation, with so many jobs in the industry proving to be dirty, dangerous, and physically taxing. Metal 3D printing has been part of the manufacturing industry for a while, but inherent challenges have kept it from becoming the next big thing in the industry. At the 2017 CES show, AI promised to change all that, with Agile Metal Technology, which can automate time-consuming tasks and streamline the printing process. The hope is that this new technology could make metal 3D printing a viable option for manufacturing.
Self-driving cars are the star players of AI in the transportation industry, but they’re moving beyond their original scope. Honda’s new concept car, the NeuV embeds emotionally intelligent AI into the vehicle’s programming, in order to provide a personalized experience. The company is even working toward a feature that would allow automated ridesharing when the car isn’t in use, bringing in cash for the car’s owner without lifting a finger. The NeuV is an electric car that’s even smart when it comes to energy consumption—it monitors electricity rates and charges when those rates are low—sometimes even selling power back to the grid!
Just how popular is virtual reality in retail? Popular enough that companies pay between $30,000 to over $1 million just to conduct market research via virtual store simulations. Not all brands are seeing the perks of using AI just yet, but 2018 is bringing some big companies on board. Starbucks is among the first, with plans to release an AI app to help bring users a unique beverage experience. Using the app, users will be able to “talk” to a virtual barista through the app to place an order. The order will then be sent to a nearby store of the user’s choice, so there’s no waiting in line. Convenient options like this will help boost retail brand’s customer satisfaction ratings and streamline their processes. Lowe’s is also integrating robots into their in-store operations, to help customers find items they’re looking for.
Just the Beginning
Though we’re beginning to see AI systems pop up in all kinds of industries, this is only the beginning of how this technology will change our world. As AI and machine learning become more sophisticated, we’ll begin to see them make our lives easier in a myriad over time. As we tend to do, one day we may take AI for granted, and wonder how we lived our lives without it.