Industries are adopting artificial intelligence and machine learning on a grand scale. Tech companies both big and small are working on artificial intelligence projects that will shape the future of industries such as healthcare, banking, business, education and more. We’re not quite at the point where everything is automated and machine-run, but we’re getting there. These technologies are all around us, quietly running in the background and keeping operations chugging along. AI is silently reshaping our society by affecting how we get things done, how we vote, how we purchase goods, and the choices we make.
It’s likely you interacted with an AI-powered system at some point but didn’t even know it. In a recent study, 37 percent of respondents said they had used an AI tool. Of those who said no, 63 percent had used it — they just weren’t aware of it. As the technology becomes more sophisticated, that will become more prevalent. While some AI projects such as Google Brain and Microsoft’s Cortana are well-known, there are a huge number of startups working on AI in the arts. If you thought AI was taking away business jobs, say hello now to AI artists and musicians. In fact, AI is even helping decode strange signals in the universe! Here are some revolutionary artificial intelligence projects that transforming the world around us.
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Self-driving and autonomous vehicles will be navigating our roadways before we know it. Just about every company out there, from Google to auto manufacturers like Ford and GM, are working on self-driving tech.
The standout, at least right now, is Tesla — thanks to their AutoPilot feature. You could even argue Tesla vehicles are some of the best ones ever made. One of the drivers of this sentiment is the AI and predictive capability of its self-driving system. While other providers are painstakingly working to get this technology on the road, Tesla has already achieved the unthinkable — it’s out there, in consumers’ hands, right now.
Every day, Tesla vehicles and the AI system grow smarter, thanks to a vast quantity of user and performance data and over-the-air updates.
You didn’t think we’d make a list like this without mentioning Amazon’s Alexa at least once, did you? Sure, she’s a voice assistant like any other when you break it down to basics, but what Amazon is doing with the platform really makes it stand out.
Amazon calls the structure of Alexa’s AI platform “conversational AI,” which allows the assistant to react and respond to queries more naturally. Of course, it seems like just about every tech firm out there is trying to deliver an assistant that’s more human than ever before, so that alone is nothing unheard of.
Alexa is worth talking about because of how open the platform is, at least to skilled developers and other brands. Thanks to a robust API and incredible support for “Alexa skills” — a sort of add-in channel that allows you to add new apps to Alexa devices — the platform grows daily, even beyond what Amazon’s official team of engineers are doing.
Even just a few years ago, it would have been unheard of to think an entertainment company like Netflix would have their hand in the AI game. However, the company’s efforts have helped foster one of the most complex and advanced machine learning tools in the modern market.
Netflix uses alarmingly accurate predictive measures to analyze and deliver more relevant viewer content. It does this by analyzing past behavior and viewed content, as well as customer reactions to films and shows. Every time you select that little “thumbs up” after watching something on Netflix, the AI registers the interaction.
As more customers use the platform and user profiles and data sets grow, the system becomes smarter and more accurate. That is the whole idea behind machine learning and cognitive AI systems: They are designed to become smarter and more skilled with time as they ingest larger stores of data. The takeaway here is that Netflix leverages the technology in some pretty inspiring ways.
7. Microsoft’s Cortana
As you may well know, Microsoft’s Cortana was born out of a need to compete with the likes of Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa. It powers a voice assistant that comes with nearly all modern Microsoft products. But the name is also a moniker for the company’s large-scale AI engine.
Since its inception, Microsoft’s developers have been working hard to optimize and improve the platform in varying ways. One of the most promising stems from Microsoft’s acquisition of Semantic Machines, a relatively recent AI startup. The idea is to help establish a more accurate and intelligent assistant — like Cortana — who can respond naturally to humans. Semantic Machines will further this concept because their platforms rely on machine learning to help inform bots and drive customer interactions.
6. Google Brain
Formed back in 2010, Google Brain is a deep learning and AI research team at the major tech firm. Like most of Google’s teams, they have a lot of freedom, which means they can adhere to whatever agenda they like. This flexibility results in some incredibly unique artificial intelligence projects.
Of course, it also powers the primary engine Google uses for most of its products, including Google Assistant — Google’s answer to the likes of Alexa and Siri.
One of the most recent products or developments from Google Brain is Smart Reply, a quick messaging tool integrated into Gmail that helps automate common responses. It also works with text messaging apps through the Android mobile operating system.
AlphaGo, believe it or not, is an offshoot of Google’s DeepMind — another AI and machine learning project from the tech firm. More specifically, it’s a computer program designed to play the board game Go. There are several variations, including AlphaGo Zero, AlphaGo Master, AlphaGo Lee and more.
In 2015, AlphaGo became one of the first computer programs in history to beat a human professional without any handicaps. The game also took place on a full-sized 19” x 19” board — which is, if you didn’t know, unprecedented. The AI and its algorithms had to account for more board space than previous versions, which involved more moves and player outcomes.
It is remarkable because it shows how AI systems can compete with human efforts on a more even keel. It’s proof AI will someday serve as a replacement — or augmentation — for human cognitive abilities.
Like many of the companies on this list, Yelp is leveraging machine learning and AI to improve the experience of its user base. Where Yelp differs, however, is how they’re specifically using AI to classify and categorize uploaded images better.
For a computer, it’s difficult to analyze an image and discern whether it’s inside an establishment or outside. But knowing this, and showing the right images, is integral to online review platforms like Yelp. So, they’ve employed machine learning to automate this process and provide much more practical reviews.
Similar to Netflix, Pandora leverages AI to deliver a more relevant experience to its audience — they even refer to the platform as their musical DNA.
Through a wide variety of traits and characteristics, each track or piece of music on the platform gets analyzed, first by a group of professional musicians and audiophiles. It then gets custom tags, which help the AI deliver more targeted recommendations.
Previously named Compare Metrics, Edgecase is an e-commerce tool designed to help improve conversion rates through the power of machine learning. The goal is to provide a more relevant experience for online customers by using behavioral data and insights. Think of it as analogous to window shopping, only via online retailers. The platform helps people find results, even when they don’t necessarily know exactly what they want.
Honestly, who wouldn’t want to see casual browsing become more rewarding and accurate?
1. IBM’s Watson
IBM’s Watson is a cognitive AI and machine learning platform that is in use for a nearly endless stream of projects. If we were to list everything it’s capable of, we’d be here all day. It’s having a profound impact on banking and finance, online therapy and mental health, retail, marketing, and even customer service.
One of the most innovative uses is happening in the sports industry. The Toronto Raptors are using the platform to analyze and draft potential players based on existing skill gaps. It looks at the skills, talents, personality traits and character of current players, and uses this information to assess potential recruits.
The system then helps the team select ideal players during prospecting sessions. Recruiters enter the necessary details into the system during their observations. Later, it makes predictive suggestions for what players the team should pursue.
Artificial Intelligence Projects in the Arts
Apart from the examples listed above, innovators worldwide are working on artificial intelligence projects in music and art.
- Melomics uses AI to compose music without any kind of human intervention. The software has produced over 1 billion songs already and has even put out entire albums! Listen to one of the tracks here.
- Robbie Barrat’s Stanford robot worked for two weeks to create an oil painting for Businessweek’s AI special issue.
- Researchers from the University of Tübingen have put together an online AI painter, DeepArt, that creates “Neural Art” based on photographs. You can upload a photo, choose a style and have a neural network create an image for you.
- The French art collective Obvious has created an algorithm that can generate portraits of the 18th century. One of their portraits was sold to a Paris-based collector for €10,000.
- An engineer based in Krakow created a robot called “Stanley” that can accompany his violin-playing on the piano.
- Teotronica is an Italian based company that created a piano-playing robot. Here’s a video of it playing Mozart:
AI Gets Smarter Every Day
This list represents a mere handful of the use cases for artificial intelligence and machine learning in the world today. The opportunity will only continue to grow into the future, as more companies and organizations look to implement the technology. Very soon, AI will be an inescapable part of our lives.
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