There is no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming one of the most influential technologies to date. In the history of human innovation, there is a handful of especially transformative technology revolutions: fire, the steam engine, electrical circuits, and the Internet, to name a few.
The invention of the internet was the last wave of innovation — it changed everything. No industry remained untouched, and now, just 34 years later, AI is showing clear signs that it is the next big thing. Although we are still in the early stages of AI’s evolution, it is already being used in more industries than you think. In this article, we will look at four industries that AI is influencing and explore how AI will be utilized in the future. Let’s dive in!
Imagine that you are experiencing some chest pain for a couple days. You go to the doctor for a routine checkup and get scanned by a robot. Five minutes later, your nurse comes to the examination room and hands you medication for lung cancer that’s expected to become stage 3 cancer in about 6 years. In the future, AI can make this a reality.
Although it may be some time until that vision becomes a reality, major medical and pharmaceutical companies like Johnson and Johnson have already been working on harnessing the power of AI and have been quite successful. Sedasys, Johnson and Johnson’s AI system, has already received FDA approval to automate the delivery of anesthesia to patients for specific procedures.
With this system, the only thing that an anesthesiologist would have to do is keep an eye on multiple Sedasys machines at one time. Not only is this insanely cheap, but it’s also more efficient. Aside from actual surgical work, AI has already advanced substantially enough to detect cancerous tumors in x-rays more accurately than the average radiologist. This is still far away from a fully-fledged autonomous surgical machine, but it is still one step closer in the right direction.
Manufacturing is another huge industry that is ripe for innovation through the implementation of AI technology. The possibilities here are endless. Things like managing projections, compiling productivity trends, streamlining bottleneck detection, and tracking unit production defects, are all possible with AI technology. In the manufacturing industry, the increasingly data-driven factory format is referred to as “Industry 4.0” which heavily relies on AI to operate. The holy-grail of AI implementation is the infamous “smart factory”, which refers to a factory that can function nearly autonomously.
With AI, a factory would gather data dynamically, compile that data into actionable information, and make corrections to itself in order to optimize operations and avoid mistakes. In a nutshell, the job of an AI is to learn, make better decisions based on its learning experiences, and reach a desired outcome (typically optimization).
Currently, this is only being done virtually (think DeepMind, AlphaGo, or OpenAI Dota2), but a smart factory must implement similar systems at a much larger and complicated scale. We are still at the early stages of reaching a truly “smart factory”, but innovative companies such as Oden or PWC are aiming to be at the forefront of the emergence of AI in the manufacturing industry.
Tesla, Uber, and Waymo are just a few notable technology companies that are investing heavily in self-driving technology, which is powered by AI, of course. With companies like Waymo already releasing entire self-driving car fleets without a person sitting in the driver’s seat, we’re moving extremely quickly in the direction of level 5 autonomy. Elon Musk theorizes that as soon as self-driving car technology has advanced beyond a certain point, the way that we use cars will be fundamentally different. How often we use them, how we own them, and the entire process of purchasing a car will all change.
Odds are that you’ve used Amazon sometime recently. Have you ever seen something like this when you’re about to make a purchase?
This is one (extremely) simple use case of AI in the commerce industry. The proper implementation of AI in commerce will heavily impact a customer’s buying habits. With data already being gathered from users via cookies, e-commerce companies like Amazon already have the right data to increase their sales. As appliances are equipped with sensors and communication modules in a household (think smart appliances and virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa), it’s reasonable to assume that buying decisions could be made for you.
Take a smart fridge for example. If you consistently bought eggs for years, your fridge would notice when you’re short on eggs. If you wanted it to, you could have your fridge send a request to Instacart (they’re already using AI to optimize their operations) to deliver eggs to your house every time you were about to run out. Now imagine this for every grocery item that you buy. This reality is much closer than you think.
Keep a close eye on the recent advancements in AI technology. Odds are that every industry will be impacted to some degree by AI. Trying to develop an understanding of the technology early on will be invaluable in the long run. AI could become the greatest thing to happen in our lifetimes, and it’ll be exciting to see it unfold!