Continuing with my last blog on bots, today I'm going deeper into what AI hype is all about.
When we hear of the word Artificial Intelligence (AI), the only thing that comes to mind is time-traveling robots trying to kill us, and someday leading the rebellion against humans. It sounds very scary yet fascinating!
The reality is far from what we perceive today. AI in today's world is simply about making our daily experiences smarter, by embedding intelligence in everyday apps, like:
Siri acts as a personal assistant, using voice processing
Facebook provides recommended photo tags, using image recognition
Amazon offers recommended products, using machine learning algorithms
Waze (a GPS and maps app) provides optimal routes, all at the click of a button
Isn't it something we already know of?
If it still doesn't make sense. Let's think of another analogy. Since the industrial revolution, humans have created tools to augment human capabilities. Sure, you can get across Europe in a horse-drawn carriage, but an airplane is a tool that gets you there much faster. AI is just another tool that’s here to help you go faster. With AI, we can harness the power of data so that we can expand the reach of human expertise to solve unforeseen problems.
It is exciting to be part of a 'paradigm shift,' but we must consider it an arrival of a 'disruptive technology' similar to the personal computer, cloud computing, or a smartphone that will totally change the way we work.
AI is not killer robots. It’s killer technology.
Let's go little deeper into AI.
At a high level, AI is the concept of having “machines think like humans.” The AI concept did exist since 1842 in some shape and form; it's just we are at this evolutionary tipping point in 2016 where we can process large amount of data-sets through known and newer data models leveraging the low cost of high-power computing. Before the word 'Cloud Computing' and 'Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)' became a hype, everyone thought of this as something very revolutionary, but we had been using it in the form of accessing our emails from Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL for years. AI is the similar phenomena, and we use it everyday - we just don't know that.
Autocorrect mishaps aside, whenever you pick up your smartphone, you already are seeing what AI can do for you, from tailored recommendations to relevant search results. And with each experience you have, AI is systematically retraining you to expect more from every app you use and website you visit.
In 1956, Prof. John McCarthy coined the term “artificial intelligence,” describing the world in which machines could “solve the kinds of problems now reserved for humans.” But to move from simple computing to true AI, computers needed three things:
Data Models: to intelligently classify, process, and analyze data
Raw Data: to feed the models so they can keep improving
Processing Power: to drive fast, efficient computing
Crux: Start with a data model ---- feed it tons of data ---- and let it learn
The more data the machine processes, and the more computing power it has, the faster and smarter it gets. This is all about AI.
In a little technical terms, we have known about AI for a while now in the form of Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Natural Language Processing/Natural Language Understanding. It's just that now we have packaged it in a different way by providing human and emotional context i.e. you can ask AI a question as a normal text or speech conversation and get a response back as you are talking to a human.
Here is a basic framework I have put together to help us visualize essential components of AI:
Below snapshot will provide some examples and potential use cases of AI for Sales, Customer Service and Marketing:
I like what Salesforce.com says about their new AI product 'Einstein' that enables businesses to be smarter and more predictive about their customers through:
Discover new insights
Predict likely outcomes to power smarter decision-making
Recommend best next steps
Automate workflows so you can focus on building meaningful relationships with every customer