5 big ways AI is rapidly invading our lives

Let's look at five real ways we're already surrounded by artificial intelligence.
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5 big ways AI is rapidly invading our lives


Open source projects are helping drive artificial intelligence advancements, and we can expect to hear much more about how AI impacts our lives as the technologies mature. Have you considered how AI is changing the world around you already? Let's take a look at our increasingly artificially enhanced universe and consider the bold predictions about our AI-influenced future.

1. AI influences your purchasing decisions

A recent story on VentureBeat, "How AI will help us decipher millennials," caught my eye. I confess that I haven't given much thought to artificial intelligence—nor have I had a hard time deciphering millennials—so I was curious to learn more. As it turns out, the headline was a bit misleading; "How to sell to millennials" would have been a more accurate title.

According to the article, the millennial generation is a "the demographic segment so coveted that marketing managers from all over the globe are fighting over them." By analyzing online behavior—be it shopping, social media, or other activities—machine learning can help predict behavioral patterns, which can then turn into targeted advertising. The article goes on to explain how the Internet of Things and social media platforms can be mined for data points. "Using machine learning to mine social media data allows companies to determine how millennials talk about its products, what their sentiments are towards a product category, how they respond to competitors’ advertising campaigns, and a multitude of other data that can be used to design targeted advertising campaigns," the article explains. That AI and millennials are the future of marketing is no huge surprise, but Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, you're not off the hook yet.

AI is being used to target entire groups—including cities—of people based on behavior changes.
AI is being used to target entire groups—including cities—of people based on behavior changes. For example, an article on Raconteur, "How AI will change buyer behaviour," explains that the biggest strength of AI in the online retail industry is its ability to adapt quickly to fluid situations that change customer behavior. Abhinav Aggarwal, chief executive of artificial intelligence startup Fluid AI, says that his company's software was being used by a client to predict customer behavior, and the system noticed a change during a snow storm. "Users who would typically ignore the e-mails or in-app notifications sent in the middle of the day were now opening them as they were stuck at home without much to do. Within an hour the AI system adapted to the new situation and started sending more promotional material during working hours," he explains.

AI is changing how, why, and when we spend money, but how is it changing the way we earn our paychecks?

2. AI is changing how we work

A recent Fast Company article, "This is how AI will change your work in 2017," says that job seekers will benefit from artificial intelligence. The author explains that AI will be used to send job seekers alerts for relevant job openings, in addition to updates on salary trends, when you're due for a promotion, and the likelihood that you'll get one.

Artificial intelligence also will be used by companies to help on-board new talent. "Many new hires get a ton of information during their first couple of days on the job, much of which won't get retained," the article explains. Instead, a bot could "drip information" to a new employee over time as it becomes more relevant.

On Inc., "Businesses Beyond Bias: How AI Will Reshape Hiring Practices" looks at how SAP SuccessFactors, a talent management solutions provider, leverages AI as a job description "bias checker" and to check for bias in employee compensation.

Deloitte's 2017 Human Capital Trends Report indicates that AI is motivating organizations to restructure. Fast Company's article "How AI is changing the way companies are organized" examines the report, which was based on surveys with more than 10,000 HR and business leaders around the world. "Instead of hiring the most qualified person for a specific task, many companies are now putting greater emphasis on cultural fit and adaptability, knowing that individual roles will have to evolve along with the implementation of AI," the article explains. To adapt to changing technologies, organizations are also moving away from top-down structures and to multidisciplinary teams, the article says.

3. AI is transforming education

AI will benefit all the stakeholders of the education ecosystem.
Education budgets are shrinking, whereas classroom sizes are growing, so leveraging technological advancements can help improve the productivity and efficiency of the education system, and play a role in improving the quality and affordability of education, according to an article on VentureBeat. "How AI will transform education in 2017" says that this year we'll see AI grading students' written answers, bots answering students' questions, virtual personal assistants tutoring students, and more. "AI will benefit all the stakeholders of the education ecosystem," the article explains. "Students would be able to learn better with instant feedback and guidance, teachers would get rich learning analytics and insights to personalize instruction, parents would see improved career prospects for their children at a reduced cost, schools would be able to scale high-quality education, and governments would be able to provide affordable education to all."

4. AI is reshaping healthcare

A February 2017 article on CB Insights rounded up 106 artificial intelligence startups in healthcare, and many of those raised their first equity funding round within the past couple of years. "19 out of the 24 companies under imaging and diagnostics raised their first equity funding round since January 2015," the article says. Other companies on the list include those working on AI for remote patient monitoring, drug discovery, and oncology.

An article published on March 16 on TechCrunch that looks at how AI advances are reshaping healthcare explains, "Once a better understanding of human DNA is established, there is an opportunity to go one step further and provide personalized insights to individuals based on their idiosyncratic biological dispositions. This trend is indicative of a new era of 'personalized genetics,' whereby individuals are able to take full control of their health through access to unprecedented information about their own bodies."

The article goes on to explain that AI and machine learning are lowering the cost and time to discover new drugs. Thanks in part to extensive testing, new drugs can take more than 12 years to enter the market. "ML algorithms can allow computers to 'learn' how to make predictions based on the data they have previously processed or choose (and in some cases, even conduct) what experiments need to be done. Similar types of algorithms also can be used to predict the side effects of specific chemical compounds on humans, speeding up approvals," the article says. In 2015, the article notes, a San Francisco-based startup, Atomwise, completed analysis on two new drugs to reduce Ebola infectivity within one day, instead of taking years.

AI is helping with discovering, diagnosing, and managing new diseases.
Another startup, London-based BenevolentAI, is harnessing AI to look for patterns in scientific literature. "Recently, the company identified two potential chemical compounds that may work on Alzheimer’s, attracting the attention of pharmaceutical companies," the article says.

In addition to drug discovery, AI is helping with discovering, diagnosing, and managing new diseases. The TechCrunch article explains that, historically, illnesses are diagnosed based on symptoms displayed, but AI is being used to detect disease signatures in the blood, and to develop treatment plans using deep learning insights from analyzing billions of clinical cases. "IBM's Watson is working with Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York to digest reams of data on cancer patients and treatments used over decades to present and suggest treatment options to doctors in dealing with unique cancer cases," the article says.

5. AI is changing our love lives

More than 50-million active users across 195 countries swipe through potential mates with Tinder, a dating app launched in 2012. In a Forbes Interview podcast, Tinder founder and chairman Sean Rad spoke with Steven Bertoni about how artificial intelligence is changing the dating game. In an article about the interview, Bertoni quotes Rad, who says, "There might be a moment when Tinder is just so good at predicting the few people that you're interested in, and Tinder might do a lot of the leg work in organizing a date, right?" So instead of presenting users with potential partners, the app would make a suggestion for a nearby partner and take it a step further, coordinate schedules, and set up a date.

Future generations literally might fall in love with artificial intelligence.

Are you in love with AI yet? Future generations literally might fall in love with artificial intelligence. An article by Raya Bidshahri on Singularity Hub, "How AI will redefine love," says that in a few decades we might be arguing that love is not limited by biology.

"Our technology, powered by Moore's law, is growing at a staggering rate—intelligent devices are becoming more and more integrated to our lives," Bidshahri explains, adding, "Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that we will have AI at a human level by 2029, and it will be a billion times more capable than humans by the 2040s. Many predict that one day we will merge with powerful machines, and we ourselves may become artificially intelligent." She argues that it's inevitable in such a world that humans would accept being in love with entirely non-biological beings.

That might sound a bit freaky, but falling in love with AI is a more optimistic outcome than a future in which robots take over the world. "Programming AI to have the capacity to feel love can allow us to create more compassionate AI and may be the very key to avoiding the AI apocalypse many fear," Bidshahri says.

This list of big ways AI is invading all areas of our lives barely scrapes the surface of the artificial intelligence bubbling up around us. Which AI innovations are most exciting—or troubling—to you? Let us know about them in the comments.

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Rikki Endsley is the Developer Program managing editor at Red Hat, and a former community architect and editor for Opensource.com.


I had no idea how pervasive AI is. This is a great article and its an invitation to explore the topic more.

One of the sayings I've invented is, "Why do we need artificial intelligence when we have so little of the real thing?" It's only meant to be semi-serious at best, but does raise the more serious question as to whether we're smart enough to use AI in a generally beneficial way.
For example, in medicine, there's a bit of a trap with AI. Imagine we have some fully implemented AI that "only" offers suggestions about diagnoses or management. How is one to justify not following this advice? Keep in mind that recent administrative evolution in medicine has already led to non-physicians and maybe non-medically trained people (basically office workers) scanning through records and identifying "discrepancies" in a physician's actions from what the AI says.
This can certainly be couched in terms of "education" of the "proper" way to do things, but it comes across as dictatorial, and on a personal level involves repeatedly being told that you're making mistakes. As I have mentioned in asides to medical practice administrators, people with reasonably good intelligence, who spent a decade or so in education and training in some medical specialty don't appreciate being told they're making mistakes on a daily basis.
At some point you have to bring down AI to its effects on society at the individual personal level.

I had a hard time narrowing down this article and could easily have written thousands of more words on recent AI news stories about how the technology is being used in all areas of our lives now. I'm definitely giving AI lots more thought and will be keeping an eye on the advancements.

Interesting article. I'm having a hard time imagining a world in which we are "in love" with AI. I'm also imagining a world where different AI's compete in their amazing "billion times more capable" realm of existence to manipulate every human individual on the planet to achieve the ends for which it was programmed. Hmm, I'm supposed to "love" that? If I'm alive in 2040, I think I'll try to be one of those people who has checked out of the brave new world and lives off the grid. But unfortunately some AI will probably have manipulated others to keep me from doing just that. If I won't comply, I'm not a "useful member" of the new society these brilliant minds will have envisioned for us all. And somehow this is a world and an intelligence I will just come to love along the way? I've a hard time believing that.

While it's true AI has some pretty decent uses, like finding new drugs, or even helping people settle in to new jobs. It also has some really frightening aspects, such as allowing marketers to spy on us and target us with advertising, and perhaps other less desirable abilities that allow corporations, and governments way more control over our lives than we might desire.

Yeah new technology is exciting, I've been around technology on the development side for quite a few years now, and it's really tempting to get all gee whizz about stuff, but the way in which much of digital technology can be hugely privacy invasive, is something we need to very careful about.

To steal a line from the very first "Jurassic Park" movie:

"..You're so busy thinking about if you CAN reanimate dinosaurs that you never stopped to think about if you SHOULD".

A lot of people are so enamored with AI that they're missing quite a few pitfalls and potholes. While I'm all for making medical procedures and practices easier for both the physician and the patient. I'm NOT in favor of, nor would I EVER support AI becoming so pervasive that they "infiltrate" every aspect of our lives. Sure smartphones have been a huge asset to mankind, it allows you the ability to stay "connected" no matter where you are in the world. But we've seen the downside of that as well, where government agencies can track your every move through satellites. I am one of the people who fall into the "No Thank You" category, sure, I could buy a refrigerator that will send alerts to my phone to inform me that I'm out of milk and cheese....yeah I could buy a TV that will study my watching habits so that it can offer me content that appeases me...yes I could install a "virtual" front door lock that I can unlock from down the block, and a thermostat that I can set while still aboard the plane at the airport so that by the time I get home? its toasty warm inside. But you know what? NONE of that is a benefit to me! I'm "old school" I LIKE entering a chilly house and waiting for the heat to come up, I have no problems walking into my kitchen and going through the cupboards and the fridge to make my grocery lists, I definitely don't have an issue channel surfing until I find something that piques my interest. I'm not looking forward to the day they stop selling the "stupid" appliances, or a "regular" TV that is a nice flat screen with HDMI quality picture and nothing more. There's even the whole issue of Alexa, Cortana, SiRi and the like......on the outside its just a polite little nicely decorated speakerbox with a microphone inside, that you can talk to......ask about weather....find the best route to your engagement by asking for traffic conditions, or you could make reservations just by speaking to your favorite movie theater, or a Broadway show. They can give you up to the minute sports scores, or local news. But has anyone stopped to think about this? That box listens to your every command or question, WHAT ABOUT WHEN YOU'RE NOT SPEAKING TO IT? Who (or whom) is listening on the other end? Do you presume that it just shuts itself off when you don't call out its name? Is that a safe way to think? In this day and age of covert surveillance and "quiet" monitoring and tracking do you TRUST that device to keep your "secrets"? What about when you have a date over?..or when you want to be intimate with your spouse in the living room by the fireplace? Whats worse are the TV's that have microphones and "reverse displays" (a.k.a. CAMERAS!) behind their initial displays, you're watching TV, but at the same time IT'S WATCHING YOU?...what happens when you have to walk in front of it in your underwear?...(to reach for your phone to answer that all important call from your boss) or when you have some "personal time" with your spouse? Do you see where this can become a security risk? When you're speaking to your son or daughter telling them the PIN number to your bank account while you cook in the kitchen...can you swear that no one is listening to that through your little speakerbox? It could even go further, to a point where the government restricts certain language, (because it will be thought of as treason!) or prohibits certain behaviors (like spanking your child)....now you'll be living in a home that "watches" your every move.....just like George Orwell kind of predicted in his book 1984. I don't understand why there's this incessant "push" to connect EVERYTHING in our lives. The things we need internet and connectivity for have been established: entertainment, finance, information, education, and work. Why do we need smart toasters and dish washers? Because someone's too lazy to get up and check on the laundry cycle?

And then there's the even "darker" side to it. That car down the block that's running port scans or frequency checks to try and ascertain your combination to your "virtual front door lock"....just waiting for you to go to bed, forget about an alarm system, once they get the "key code" that will disable it!. What about when you're telling Siri to look something up and they're grabbing snippets of your voice so that when you're away at work.....on vacation...they can play those voice commands back to gain access to who knows what? The worst so far?....the one issue that I will NEVER subscribe to? Is "smart" vehicles...or driverless cars. Let me explain it like this: There will never be a time when a computer will be able to drive a vehicle better than a human being, period. If you doubt me....ask any NASCAR race car driver, there's a "feel" that only a HUMAN can understand while behind the wheel, that "instinct" that tells you to give it just a little more gas, that prompts you to ease off the brakes "just enough" to hold that turn...that pushes you to slow down on the wet/icy/snowy road. No amount of calculations will impart that, and no amount of processing power or smart technology can produce that. We've already witnessed what happens when a computer does the driving for you ("The Tesla Incident" where a man LOST HIS LIFE!) How many more deaths will we have to witness before someone reigns this type of thinking in? I mean granted, autopilot is one thing, its an assisting tool to help pilots fly long distances, but you know what?...if it were such a perfect design there'd be no need for a HUMAN co-pilot! I think humanity needs to step back and reassess his infatuation with automating every little aspect of our lives. Because to rush headlong into this would be disastrous. And while it may seem like Sci-Fi.....just place your mind in a future world where because of the threat to life policemen are almost non-existent and DRONES and MACHINES roam the streets, imagine what could happen if a machine "reads" a situation wrong, that guy who's hovering over the old lady on the floor is NOT a perp.....but is trying to help her to her feet since she fell on the high curb, but the machine only knows: Thuggish looking man hovering over helpless lady and "executes" whatever program that's built in to it. Or the machines that have been fully automated and are being run by software, not realizing that the pressure build up is not a simple "anomaly" but something far worse and so they execute the simplest of programs ignoring the bigger threat until its too late. Sounds like something straight out of TV-Land no?.....I refer you back to the "Tesla Incident".

If we don't get this foolishness in check, and soon? it will be too late. We already live in a world where a lot of our most basic needs are run by machines....clean water supplies, electrical power, transportation, and even some parts of the military, if we're not careful we'll hand over the keys to the kingdom to machines and software without ever knowing how or when it happened. I for one will remain in the state I am.....with NO "smart" devices aside from my Android phone and my Linux laptops. Everything else is folly. And yeah....I guess I sound like one of those people who live in a cave and wears a foil hat...talking about alien abduction and what not...but I will always prefer to err on the side of caution than to just give my freedoms and life away for the sake of advancing technology.

Ok, 'Nuff said

I'm equal parts excited and cautious about our AI future.

I'm also a minimalist at home and, with the exception of my phone, I'm pretty low tech. I even cut the t.v. cord completely last week and gave away both of my televisions. My phone and laptop offer all the internet connectivity I could possibly need right now. I love learning about all the new tech, but during my downtime, I enjoy being away from it all, too.

In reply to by Eddie G. (not verified)

I have had a lot of interaction with physicians on behalf of family members. I find most of them to be devoid of empathy or a willingness to change their mind in response to new information that runs counter to their original diagnosis. This hubris has had fatal consequences for my family. If the physicians are offended by having their decisions questioned, I think that it would be appropriate to remind them that patient outcomes supersede their egos. If a physician truly cares about a positive patient outcome, he or she should welcome the assistance of an AI system.

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