A lightbulb rests on a blackboard with drawings of circles around it denoting ideas

Artificial intelligence is a hot topic today, but many people find they are puzzled by this technology and the benefits it may offer to humans now and in the future. We’ve compiled a beginner’s guide to artificial intelligence below. Here you’ll find out all about AI and how it may impact your life in the coming years.

What is artificial intelligence?

Before we go any further, it’s important to establish what artificial intelligence (AI) is. AI has changed as technology has developed, but the idea behind AI is to build a machine that’s capable of thinking in the same way as humans do. As humans, we are able to interpret the information that we receive from the world around us.

AI works to build machines that are capable of doing the same thing in an efficient manner. These machines can have reactive thoughts and then learn from the environment around them.

When discussing AI, research in this field is split into applied AI and generalised AI. Applied AI works to simulate humans in order to carry out a specific task, whereas generalised AI aims to create a machine that can do almost anything, just like human beings can.

Applied AI is being used in a wide range of industries already, such as medicine and finance, where it is working to change the processes and efficiency of the services currently on offer. For example, it can be used to detect fraud and predict customer interactions within the financial industry.

In manufacturing, it can even be used to prevent issues before they occur, which can stop injuries and accidents from occurring in the workplace.

Applications for AI

More of the technology we use every day is relying on elements of AI. For example, Apple has Siri on their phones and laptops, which offers users assistance thanks to AI. Autonomous cars are now readily available to consumers, which are programmed to drive without any assistance from the driver.

It’s believed this technology will slowly outnumber manual options we previously relied on, and AI will be used more and more in the future. Most of these applications are examples of applied AI, as generalised AI still needs further development. However, with technology progressing on a daily basis, systems such as IBM’s Watson platform are being developed to do a wide range of tasks that humans were previously undertaking.

Benefits of artificial intelligence

While many individuals are a little wary of AI taking over our world, there are several benefits that can be enjoyed as a result of this technology. Firstly, the reduction in human error is something that industries such as manufacturing and finance are particularly interested in. This can save a huge amount of money and resources in the long run and minimise the chance of injuries and accidents occurring in the future.

In weather forecasting, for example, AI is used regularly, and this has significantly reduced the error margin. In situations that could be considered dangerous for humans, such as defusing bombs or exploring space, AI has the ability to take our place and reduce the risks for scientists involved in these experiments.

One of the top reasons companies today are experimenting with AI is that it allows computers to work 24 hours a day. Humans only have the ability to work a certain number of hours each day, which sometimes limits the output a company can achieve. AI will never need to take breaks or get bored of its work, which offers many benefits to any industry it’s used in. This is particularly important to companies who need 24/7 customer service for their customers, as an AI solution can be there to resolve issues at any time of the day or night.

AI is commonly introduced in the current day to help with repetitive jobs. Humans quickly get very bored of doing the same task over and over again, but AI will just continue with the task at hand until it’s completed. This frees up the employee’s time to concentrate on more creative tasks that AI is unlikely to be able to do. Finally, AI can be used alongside other machines and technological developments to make much quicker decisions. Instead of humans having to consider their options, AI will quickly deliver the results that are needed.

Disadvantages of AI

Of course, as with any technological development, there are some concerns surrounding AI. One of the biggest reasons that many companies aren’t using this solution yet is the high cost of developing and then implementing this technology. It’s expected in the upcoming years that this won’t be such a concern as AI is more frequently used and reproduced.

As with any technology, there is the risk that when AI is used within businesses, it will make humans more lazy and reluctant to do their job. However, many employees are concerned about AI replacing humans in the future. Companies are always looking for ways to cut costs for their business, which AI can potentially do by replacing human employees who perform repetitive tasks.

As far as the decision-making process, AI lacks the creative thinking that many employees offer companies today. AI is programmed to react in a certain way and make decisions, which can lack the empathy and understanding that’s sometimes needed. They aren’t able to show emotion in the same way as humans do, which means it’s still not a viable option in customer service-based industries that are looking to retain high customer satisfaction levels.

Infinity and beyond

AI is continuing to be used by more companies, and as this technology continues to develop, we can expect to see it used in our lives more often. AI offers many advantages to companies of all shapes and sizes, but there are certainly some concerns surrounding this technology to be aware of too. We’re excited to follow the developments within AI in the upcoming years to see how it will continue to transform everyday tasks for businesses and individuals alike.

To find out more about custom software, contact the BSPOKE Software team or check out our case studies.