Artificial Intelligence – Why Now?
Artificial intelligence is making a lot of promises for even the near future. We already have access to digital assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri. All of these advancements are incredible, but why did they start appearing recently, and how far will we be able to push AI?
~ Written By Michael Pumper
Artificial intelligence is making a lot of promises for even the near future. We already have access to digital assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri. It has already made great improvements in the healthcare industry. AI can even compose music, dream, and beat us at complex games like Go. All of these advancements are incredible, but why did they start appearing recently, and how far will we be able to push AI?
Coming to Modern AI
Artificial intelligence and machine learning aren’t new concepts. Modern AI has been a thought since the first digital computer was created around the 1940s. The recent excitement about AI has been escalating since the 1990s, leading up to today. In the modern era, we’ve watched Deep Blue defeat Gary Kasparov at chess and IBM’s Watson beat Ken Jennings at the trivia game Jeopardy! Even in our everyday lives, we interact with AI systems that correct our grammar in the context of a text message, or respond to questions we ask simply by asking them out loud.
Many companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, and others, are investing heavily in the continued growth of AI, and three key recent technologies are driving that investment.
- Cloud Computing services make high infrastructure needs far more cost effective, meaning small AI teams can scale their projects much larger for a much smaller price.
- Advancements in Big Data and Analytics have made huge data sets far more meaningful.
- The advent of the Internet of Things acts as a source for big data, and also enables AI systems to interact with the real world, vastly increasing the possibilities for AI systems.
The Future of Artificial Intelligence
The future of AI in the long term is difficult to predict. Much will depend on it and when we break many of the barriers standing in the way of technological leaps (creating an AI that fully understands natural language is still out of reach, for example).
We do know that things like self-driving cars, digital assistants, and autonomous robots are very close to being a reality. We will continue to see disruptive design in many industries as a result of AI research and development. It is not difficult to imagine delivery services run by autonomous drones, taxi services that have no drivers, or offices run by digital assistants.
All of the right pieces have fallen into place. The future of AI is only bounded by our own ability to innovate and disrupt.
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