AI development is one of the most exciting aspects of technological progress. Artificial Intelligence innovations have become the focus of many digital technology exhibitions, such as Consumer Electronics Show. Due to their importance and variety, AI solutions are also the topics of dedicated events like AI DevWorld, World Summit AI, and the Rise of AI conference, among others.
Let us take a look at the current trends and highlights in the field of AI-related technologies. We will examine various areas that benefit from AI solutions and predict their future course of development. These trends will also help us to identify the most promising areas to engage and invest in the field of Artificial Intelligence.
Unmanned Vehicles: a Hope to Make Roads Safer
One of the biggest surprises at CES 2020 was the announcement of a new concept car from Sony. This AI-enhanced electric vehicle uses 33 sensors such as cameras, ultrasound sensors, radars, and lidars to monitor and analyze the driving environment. The Sony Vision-S has the assisted driving function, and the full-functioning autopilot is planned in the future firmware updates. Moreover, the car monitors the driver’s condition and can detect the signs of drowsiness or attention loss.
The trend of self-driving motor vehicles is on the rise and shows no intention of losing its popularity any time soon. While the concepts of assisted driving and autopilot are already being implemented in several modern models of cars, most notably – produced by Tesla, engineers are doing their best to take autonomous vehicles to the next level.
In June 2019, Starsky Robotics developed fully unmanned trucks that were remotely operated and deemed safe enough to operate on public highways in the USA. Though those trucks partially rely on human operators that aid and monitor their operation from the headquarters, they use AI solutions to keep the trucks autonomous on the highways except for the starting and final portions of the route, as well as certain risky junctions.
Therefore, in the nearest years, we will undoubtedly see more trucks and passenger cars controlled by Artificial Intelligence that won’t require human supervision. Such vehicles can obtain the most recent data regarding driving conditions and traffic jams in real time. They react faster than humans and are immune to most causes that lead to road accidents: distractions, drug effects, bad visibility, etc.
AI still has much to learn in order to navigate safely in the chaos of urban traffic. Yet, Artificial Intelligence is a diligent student, and Machine Learning is also a hot topic nowadays, so it won’t take much time.
AI + IoT = Smart Cities
This January, Toyota Motors shared the plans to build a “city of tomorrow” near Mount Fuji. The construction is scheduled to start in 2021 at the site of an old car manufacturing plant. The project is called “Woven City” and is intended as a testing site for smart and eco-friendly technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells, various AI devices, including self-driving vehicles, and more.
The idea of combining the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence came naturally to engineers and scientists because these two tech areas are a perfect match. AI brings the ability to control thousands of devices simultaneously based on enormous amounts of data collected from millions of various sensors.
So, provided it has sufficient computational capacity and data storage space, AI may effectively monitor and control a city built according to IoT principles and designs. While this idea is currently used for relatively small-scale applications, it will definitely achieve at least a district-level or city-level extent after proper testing.
The idea of a “smart city” is a rather old concept and has been a frequent topic of science fiction works. Nevertheless, it is still exciting and shows great potential as an optimistic future for mankind.
More Work for AI Assistants
Over recent years, virtual assistants in smart devices have changed their roles from amusing toys to reliable confidants. Judging by the extensive use of personal data gathered from Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and the like by third-party companies, we can be 100% sure that Artificial Intelligence has firmly settled in our homes and will listen carefully to everything we say.
Current trends of using voice assistants also point out that the dialogue between a human and a machine will become even more casual and substitute an even bigger portion of real-time communication between people. The modern level of human-AI communication as two buddies can be illustrated by Wysa – an AI life coach designed to encourage, motivate, and provide other psychological assistance to people. For example, it helps them in fighting depression, coping with life difficulties or achieving new goals.
Another type of AI assistants that will remain in our sight in the foreseeable future is a text or voice chatbot for visitors and customers. More and more websites greet you with pesky pop-up chats inquiring how they can help you. A similar trend is also a common sight in the field of customer support. Nowadays, it almost seems like certain companies use chatbots as a firewall to prevent unwanted communication, similar to celebrities using bodyguards to fend off intrusive fans.
Regardless of your attitude towards AI assistants, their presence in everyday life will constantly grow due to several reasons. The most important of those reasons is the crucial role of Artificial Intelligence for business: providing companies with the exact information on their current and potential customers. This data reveals what people want at some particular moments, their habits, and behavior patterns. It also indicates what they have recently bought and what they might want to buy in the future.
Collected and analyzed information is then used for targeted advertising and other marketing activities. Additionally, the organizations that gather and analyze this data sell it to various interested companies, earning huge profits, and investing in the further development of smart devices.
AI Face Recognition: Hopefully More Security, Definitely Less Privacy
Many modern smartphone models use the “Face unlock” feature – another trendy use of Artificial Intelligence. However, the idea of recognizing people in an automated manner has multiple possible implementations. For example, China actively covers its highly populated territories with surveillance cameras that have the facial recognition function. In combination with the extensive national biometrics database, the face identification technology creates the government security system that tracks citizens in most cities.
Moreover, no one really knows how many non-governmental face databases are there. The illustrative example of the face recognition tool developed by Clearview.AI shows that such data can be scraped from various websites.
The primary source of face images is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social networks, as well as Youtube. That means that all users of those services willingly contribute to face identification databases by posting their photos online. Usually, such photos can be accessed freely by anyone, and they are not in protected or private galleries. Thus, they are considered publicly available with all the relevant legal permissions. Social networks try to protest and even ban scraping images from user profiles and galleries but to no visible result.
Among the top 10 cities with the highest number of cameras per 1000 people, 8 of them are located in China. The remaining two cities in this infamous list are London and Atlanta, placing at the 5th and 10th places, respectively. Naturally, people dislike the extensive use of AI for surveillance purposes and are concerned about the safety of their biometric information in national databases. However, governments find it beneficial for the purposes of national security, which means that public monitoring using Artificial Intelligence will become our everyday reality. Get ready: Big Brother will be watching us all.
There are other uses for AI face recognition technologies that bring more convenience and security. Basically, any location or means of transportation that requires a ticket in order to enter may be equipped with the combination of face identification hardware and software.
The algorithm is as follows: the system recognizes a person’s face, checks whether they have bought a ticket via an online database, and allows/forbids them to enter, depending on the check result. No physical ticket is required, so people may finally stop worrying about losing, misplacing, or leaving it somewhere.
Hyper-automation is the Future of Industries
The term “hyper-automation” refers to the combination of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Big Data, and other advanced technologies designed to automate processes and enhance human capabilities. Simply put, it is the next level for all “smart” devices and relevant methods primarily focused on business benefits.
This concept is relatively new and has several alternative names, such as “digital/intelligent process automation.” Its ultimate purpose is the creation of a complex ecosystem that provides a highly productive working environment. The “hyper-automated” ecosystem promotes business by offering the following benefits:
- it reduces the staff workload and relieves employees from low-value and tedious tasks by transferring them to AI;
- it brings scalability and agility to most work processes;
- it relies more on machine learning and less on human intervention, including the decision-making;
- it allows performing and managing more complex routines as compared to the conventional robotic process automation;
- it greatly improves the performance and satisfaction of workers by providing them with the necessary data and allowing them to engage in more interesting and creative activities.
As the name suggests, hyper-automation is much more than a single tool, robot, or software. That’s why its implementation in an enterprise requires a lot of effort, know-how, and experience. It also requires further development and unification of standards to increase its scale of use.
Further Use of AI in Visual Media
In terms of cutting-edge technologies, the entertainment industry is more frequently associated with Virtual Reality rather than with Artificial Intelligence. However, AI is becoming increasingly popular as a powerful tool for video and photo enhancement. From basic color correction functions to elaborate de-aging methods, AI constantly finds new applications related to the creation of high-quality visual content.
In the movie industry, AI is used for various purposes, including decision-making. The combination of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is used by several filmmaking companies to determine what movie they should shoot next, and predict how well a movie would do at the box office based on its genre, budget, stars, and many other factors. The most notable examples of such AI/ML solutions are the Cineltic’s platform for project management used by Warner Bros., and Merlin Video created by a team of data scientists from Google’s Advanced Solutions Lab and 20th Century Fox.
Since modern blockbusters heavily rely on computer graphics, AI is also used to add and enhance complex CGI effects. They include realistic movement of large amounts of particles or other objects, such as waves and hair, creation of large crowds of extras, and even making virtual appearances of late actors and actresses – a controversial and rather unethical use of Deepfake-type algorithms.
Failure is Always an Option
Yes, we all like to hope for the best and look on the optimistic side of the tech evolution. Sadly, technologies tend to fail from time to time, and AI is no exception. Similar to the idea of making devices and systems “foolproof” to reduce human errors, the modern-day reality gave birth to the trend of ensuring the “foolproof” design focused on minimizing the risk of AI mistakes.
Recently, we have witnessed multiple accidents related to Artificial Intelligence, such as those involving Tesla autopilot crashes or false-positive results of extraterrestrial life detection. It won’t be a long shot to predict that the failures will keep happening.
In this regard, the primary task for scientists and engineers is to make sure that all incidents involving AI won’t lead to disasters, and their outcomes will be kept under control. There are several simple rules that can help you in this matter.
- Do not assign vital tasks to AI (yet). Artificial Intelligence excels in performing repetitive trivial tasks, complex simulations, probability calculations, and a range of similar activities. However, machine logic is insufficient to make “life-and-death” decisions, as many of them lie beyond statistics, forecasts, and success rates.
- Supervision is still required. While AI solutions are meant to be autonomous, they are still imperfect and, for that reason, require human involvement in terms of monitoring and adjustment, if necessary. Even if specifically designed hardware and software are present to monitor and control the performance of Artificial Intelligence, regular checkups from qualified specialists are necessary for the sake of safety.
- Failsafe design is a must. The three laws of robotics are fictional, but they convey the right concept of security. Artificial Intelligence, like humans, must uphold certain laws and have restrictions designed to direct its activity in such a path that it does no harm.
As you can see, Artificial Intelligence requires careful use and even more careful development. If you plan to get AI solutions, you’d better order them from experienced and responsible developers who have numerous cases to prove their expertise. Pay special attention to project planning and quality assurance to get high-quality AI software.
Artificial Intelligence has numerous areas of implementation that were not listed above, such as various uses of AI in smartphones or in healthcare, stock trading, and cryptocurrency trading. AI excels in complex calculations, analysis, and precise forecasting based on large amounts of data. It approaches or even exceeds human capabilities in many other areas, including creative activities. We are witnessing another milestone of the technical progress that turned out to be a full-scale revolution.
It is a fact: humanity has become overly dependent on digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence in particular. Taking into account the blazing speed of their development, we can barely imagine how potent they will be in a few years. Now, we have the tremendous and constantly growing power of AI at our disposal. The mankind's’ primary task is to make the world a better place to live, so let’s keep this power under control.If you are impressed by the potential of Artificial Intelligence and have an idea of implementing it in practice, contact us. Our specialists will develop an effective and safe AI solution specifically for your purposes.