5 Ways You Benefit from Artificial Intelligence Without Realizing It
The digital world is getting smarter. While artificial intelligence typically conjures visions of robots overthrowing the human race (among other sci-fi tropes), the reality is that AI is all around us. In fact, there’s a strong chance that you’ve used or benefited from AI at some point today.
While today’s AI might not be ready to trigger the technological singularity just yet, you may be surprised by just how prominent it is in modern society.
1. Streaming Platforms
Have you ever wondered how Netflix seems to know what you feel like watching? It’s no coincidence that the shows and movies suggested to you tend to align with your personal taste. Netflix algorithms pay attention to the types of programs you watch, and it suggests other ones accordingly.
Beyond just suggesting relevant programs for you to watch, Netflix also considers your consumption habits. For example, you may get different suggestions depending on whether it’s morning or night.
While it hasn’t been implemented just yet, artificial intelligence software was introduced by a U.K. startup called Synamedia at the 2019 Consumers Electronic Show. This software isn’t designed to improve your experience, however. It actually helps Netflix to track users who are using Netflix accounts that don’t belong to them.
Naturally, this software doesn’t benefit everyone. However, if it gets implemented, it will certainly help Netflix generate some serious extra revenue, and it gives Netflix account holders an excuse to give their freeloading Netflix neighbors the boot.
2. Supply Chain
AI affects the supply chain of nearly every product you buy in many different ways. For example, AI can analyze photos of shipments and determine if cargo has been damaged. Intelligent robotic sorting facilitates rapid sorting and organizing that simply isn’t possible for human laborers.
Some companies, PINC for example, even provide autonomous aerial inventory drones that can identify and locate products that are hard to find or reach. Many warehouses or absolutely massive, and it’s just not possible for humans to wade through the tremendous amount of inventory. AI empowers companies to stay organized on a much larger scale.
3. Online Shopping
AI has drastically changed the ecommerce industry. Have you ever had a question about a product and clicked the live chat button? You may have been talking to an AI chatbot without even realizing it.
Of course, AI can’t replicate a human conversation perfectly (yet), but AI in ecommerce does make sense in many ways. For example, say you just want to check to see when your order should be arriving. AI can give you that answer, freeing up human customer service agents to deal with more pressing issues that require a human touch.
Artificial intelligence helps those who are on the selling end too. AI technology can analyze data to determine information such as which products are selling best, how many to reorder, and when to reorder. In fact, online retailers can even use AI to automate the majority of their store. A set-it-and-forget-it approach to online sales has never been so feasible.
AI can also help with digital marketing. For example, AI can determine how many advertising emails you should send daily, as well as the best times to send them. You can use AI tools to better understand how to get more from your social media platforms. AI can also accrue data based on your visitors so you can form an accurate customer profile for marketing.
4. Virtual Assistants
Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and (Hey) Google are all examples of AI that’s used every day worldwide. In many ways, these virtual assistants are the closest thing to the too-smart robots you see in sci-fi flicks. Whether you want to order something from Amazon, play your favorite song, or call your parents, these programs can handle a huge range of duties, and they’re still getting smarter.
Beyond making your personal life a little easier, virtual assistants are finding quite a few use cases in professional environments. Instead of scheduling that meeting by hand, you can simply tell your virtual assistant to adjust the calendar. Instead of typing out that email, you can dictate it.
5. Search Engines
Have you ever noticed how you can type just a few letters and Google offers suggestions that are often eerily accurate? That’s not a coincidence. Google uses deep learning to replicate neural networks, essentially ‘thinking’ in a similar way as the human brain. Google pays attention to your searches so it can offer relevant information based on your search histories.
Beyond giving you a nudge in the right direction, Google uses AI algorithms to determine which sites should rank high on search engine results pages and which should take a back seat. Websites are regularly crawled with AI programs that analyze a myriad of details from the quality and relevancy of the content to its typical visitor.
The Future Is Now
As you can see, AI is very much integrated in society right now at this very moment. It’s easy to get so wrapped up looking forward to the future that we forget that we’re currently in ‘the future’ we once imagined. AI might not be as flashy or catastrophic as Hollywood may lead you to believe, but it’s very real, and the possibilities are limitless.
Christopher Thompson is a software developer with a serious passion for technology. When he’s not coding or writing, Chris enjoys playing video games, producing electronic music, and going for long jogs with his loyal canine companion, Sagan.