©naftemporiki.gr Artificial Intelligence: What it is and how it dramatically changes our world
Artificial Intelligence has been impressively evolving in recent years and -although it is often a matter of exaggeration or even destruction scenarios- it is enough to focus on real technological progress to realize its exciting potential.
By avoiding technical terminology, an artificial intelligence system could be defined as a computational system that can perform cognitive functions while adapting and learning to become more effective. Modern artificial intelligence systems can “understand” their environment in real time and make optimal decisions. ‘Understanding the environment’ consists in the efficient processing of multiple signals and data streams. Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing technologies allow computer systems to ‘understand’ images, videos and speech and react in the best possible way. Characteristic examples of applications based on A.I. are the following:
Computer Vision – Algorithms get vision
The ability of computers to ‘see’ is undoubtedly a major achievement. Image analysis algorithms can now identify entities depicted in a random image or video, with high precision and speed. For example, they can identify people, cars, homes, roads, trees, etc. in a picture. In addition, they can estimate other parameters of the image and entities that include – in the example above, the make and type of cars, the number of people, gender, age or even emotional status. The algorithm can also recognize the circumstance depicted or implied – for example: a children’s party, a sporting event, a business meeting, or a gathering of people in a square.
Applications are unlimited and impressive: from stand-alone vehicles that can “see” and perceive their real-world environment, to special applications such as the Microsoft Seeing AI prototype that helps people with serious vision problems to better understand the surroundings . In this example, the visually impaired user can ask the system for a detailed description of the environment or brief updates of the changes that occur – with the communication being done simply in natural language.
Computer Vision technology offers new capabilities across a wide range of applications such as navigation, robotics, medical diagnostics, more effective online content management, security systems, etc.
The dialogue with the ‘machine’
A brief “talk” with Amazon Echo, Cortana, Google Home or Siri is enough to understand the progress of NLP technology -NATURAL Language Processing- and new possibilities for interaction in natural language. Microsoft and IBM have recently announced that the performance of their NLP technologies is now equivalent to the average performance of professional transcribers in this process (transcription of discussions on a range of issues, from sports to politics). Although algorithms are still having difficulty with different pronunciation and noise in the environment, overall performance improves rapidly.
Communication with digital assistants evolves from ‘questions and answers’ to ‘natural dialogues’. Digital assistants are becoming ‘smarter’ with rich data on the user and his wider environment. Soon they will act on their own, and they can take an ‘initiative’ – taking advantage of the environmental signals and the deep knowledge of the user and his / her preferences – in order to propose specific actions and content autonomously.
The Importance of Artificial Intelligence
The advancement of artificial intelligence, coupled with the rapidly increasing data storage and processing capability, leads to a major technological revolution. In a close scenario and within the Internet of Things, billions of interconnected devices will systematically send data and events that will be automatically saved and processed by advanced Big Data, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence technologies. The richness of the data coupled with the possibilities of exploiting it will create unprecedented opportunities for improving our health, everyday life and lifestyle, transport and the environment. Applications are really unlimited.
On the other hand, there are serious questions with political, social and ethical implications. For example, Artificial Intelligence allows large-scale, smart automation that will bring dramatic changes in employment and the labor market. From another perspective, there are equally big questions about access to data and the knowledge generated by their analysis and modeling. As well as on the management and training of artificial intelligence’s central systems.
Technology is already transforming our world and artificial intelligence speeds up the processes involved. What needs to be ensured is the good use of technology.
By George Krasadakis Technology Innovation Leader
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