Last week, Artificial Intelligence (AI) took center stage during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to the Senate on the company’s ability to monitor harmful content, regulate fake news, and protect personal data. Repeatedly, Zuckerberg pointed to AI as the solution to the company’s problems. Though lawmakers may be skeptical, technology leaders are confident AI isn’t just an empty promise.
Like all cutting edge technologies, AI, Machine Learning (ML) and Internet of Things (IoT) hold great potential for making our lives safer, easier, and more efficient. And, as we have seen with Uber crashes and Russian hacking, they still have limitations and consequences we’re attempting to understand. One thing is certain: we can’t benefit from these technologies without giving up some level of our personal and private data.
One thing is certain: we can’t benefit from these technologies without giving up some personal and private data.
In most cases, the daily conveniences these tools provide seem to be outweighing concerns about how companies use our private information to deliver them. AI and ML solutions give corporations powerful data insights into our personal habits and preferences so they can more profitably create the products and services we want to consume. This new social contract marks the early stages of a technological era that is transforming how we work, live and participate in our culture.
Here are a few examples of how AI, ML and IoT are already making life more convenient:
Entertainment: Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home use conversational AI and ML to enable your interactions and requests. Voice user interface (VUI) allows you to ask for what you want so you can instantly play music, control your smart home, and get information like news, weather and more.
Retail: Companies apply ML to target search results and promote the most relevant products and services to you in their online advertising. Service bots respond instantly to your customer support questions using AI and voice recognition. Grocery shopping is being revolutionized by services like cashier-less Just Walk Out Shopping from Amazon Go while intelligent appliances like Samsung’s smart refrigerator track your food consumption with an option to literally shop from your fridge.
Energy Efficiency: New home technologies learn, respond and adapt to how you consume energy in your home, driving down your monthly costs, improving sustainability and reducing wasted resources. Companies like Nest Labs offer IoT devices with AI to monitor your home security and energy consumption automatically.
Healthcare: IoT integration with wearable sensors, medical equipment and smart devices is transforming healthcare, from providing at home care to closely monitoring patient treatment. Providers are also applying ML to medical imaging for improved diagnostic accuracy.
Travel: With over 1 billion users, Google Maps relies on deep machine learning to stay up to date on 80 billion street view images and a constantly changing landscape of cities, businesses and roads to deliver accurate navigation that takes into account traffic flow, accidents, and hazards.
These examples are a short list of applications mainstream culture has already accepted. At the leading edge, AI, ML and IoT tools may be evolving faster than most customers are currently ready to adopt. Can you blame them? Skepticism about security and misuse of information is a natural response in the face of ongoing corporate irresponsibility and lack of oversight. Nonetheless, companies can earn the trust of their customers in this new social contract by being diligent about protecting personal data and using that data to deliver innovations users value.
The good news is that if you’re not sure whether your customers are ready to trade you their data for your latest and greatest product, you can probably use data insights from AI and ML to figure that out.