By Danielle Jarosz
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, might seem like a scary term at first. When thinking of AI, blockbuster movies like The Terminator or The Matrix might come to mind— worlds where artificially intelligent beings decide humankind should be destroyed or enslaved. Many forms of media play on the fear of AI, but the truth is artificial intelligence has greatly improved how we live our day-to-day lives. Many of our PR clients are engrossed in the AI conversation and development of AI-enabled smart tools and technologies. But have you ever asked yourself how this technology is impacting us beyond business? From the comfort of our homes to the vast online world, artificial intelligence is an exciting prospect now and in the future— minus an apocalypse of course.
“Alexa, what’s the weather like today?” “Siri, call Mom.” “Google, play workout music.” These phrases have become so ingrained into our vocabulary that we’re not quite sure how people ever took the time to do those tasks themselves. The little machine sitting on your dresser is a prime example of artificial intelligence in our daily lives. Every time you speak to a digital assistant, it understands you a little bit better and becomes better equipped to help you in the future. Digital assistant technology continues to grow every day, with some people using it to control lights in their homes or their thermostat now.
Another example of AI in your home is the Roomba zooming around your floors. Your cleaning partner constantly maps a floorplan to avoid bumping into furniture or walls. It learns about these obstacles in your home and can also create “no-clean zones” to avoid for future sweeps. Most recently, iRobot, the company that created Roombas, released an update that helps the artificial intelligence in your cleaner to avoid dog excrement! One search of ‘Roomba dog poop’ online will show you why this is another huge leap for AI (and for any pet-friendly homes). So, the next time you’re too lazy to grab your phone from across the room or sweep your floors, thank artificial intelligence!
On the road
When mapping routes to work, friends’ homes or restaurants, AI is what saves you from the traffic build-up on the highway or the construction zone causing detours. It will tell you the quickest routes by calculating real-time data from other cars using the mapping application, whether it be Google Maps, Waze or MapQuest. It tracks the speed and quantity of cars in any particular area using location services so that you aren’t late to work (unless you stopped for a coffee of course).
As for self-driving cars, the piece of AI technology everyone is talking about on the road, the software, sensors and real-time cameras learn thousands of routes for safest travel. Some of these artificially intelligent cars can communicate with other drivers and pedestrians, for example to let someone know they can cross the street. Since self-driving cars aren’t fully integrated with our manual driving lifestyle, you can still find AI in newer car models where sensors learn the road lines and can alert you if the car is drifting.
Sometimes even the smallest details in our lives come as a result of AI without us even realizing it. Search engines, autofill and product recommendations all have learned our interests, vernacular and more. Every time we use social media, the ads you see were optimized for you personally by AI. Products that are recommended to you on sites like Amazon are based on past purchases that AI then connects to similar items you might want. For example, if you purchase a pillow online, you might start seeing ads for pillowcases or blankets. Even the little help chats in the corner of web pages that answer your questions are actually AI-bots most of the time.
Many trends online have revolved around autofill features on smart devices, such as responding to messages or finishing amusing sentences using only what artificial intelligence offers as your next possible word. When not playing around with AI trends, the autofill features allow for efficient typing and optimized sentences. Search engines like Google also generate options for users by collecting data on frequently asked questions. This also speeds up research processes, whether for fun or work. So, every time you search a question, it helps Google’s artificial intelligence better prepare for the next curious person.
Artificial intelligence isn’t going away anytime soon, and it certainly doesn’t have to be a scary thought any longer. We can excitedly look forward to a co-existent future where we can continue to improve our lives, one smart robot at a time.