When we talk about AI, it’s easy to envision some dystopian science fiction future in which robots have taken over the world and enslaved us. However, AI is a method of enabling people to accomplish more by collaborating with intelligent software. We need to think of it as giving technology a more human face: technology that can learn from the vast amounts of data available in the modern world; technology that can understand our language and respond in kind; technology that can see and interpret the world the way we do.
Imagine being able to search our surroundings in the same way we search the internet. We can now find things and people in the real world in real time using existing cameras and advances in AI, and take action to improve safety and well-being. When a hazardous spill occurs in a chemical plant, cameras detect the incident and immediately share information about the spill with those who need it the most, allowing them to protect other employees from coming into contact with the hazard and clean it up.
This technology is also useful in an environment such as a construction site, where people’s specialised tools are dispersed, sometimes across multiple floors. Using existing cameras, this technology can identify a specific tool as well as the nearest authorised person who can deliver it, saving everyone time and keeping the workflow moving. AI has brought the digital and physical worlds together to make everyone more safe, secure, and productive.
When we use a smartphone, we interact with AI in a variety of ways, from obvious features like built-in smart assistants (Alexa, Siri) to less obvious ones like portrait mode (Google Pixel 2) in the camera. With social media becoming an inseparable part of daily life, everything from the feeds we see in our timeline to the notifications we receive from these apps is being curated by AI, influencing the majority of the decisions we make. Because AI is playing a big role in making decisions for us, the recommended videos section on YouTube or Netflix has become so good at knowing our tastes.