Artificial intelligence (AI) is probably the most rapidly growing new type of technology, and will for sure create a new era of the modern world as we know it today. Modern AI simulates the constant processes going on in our bodies every second of our lives, the human brain and nervous system. The nervous system takes every little piece of information in, through all of your senses, analyzes it, and decides what to keep and what to let go of. You learn from the past, gain experience, to improve your future. This is an ongoing process, and through time you learn to make better decisions; your intuition learns to navigate the world - you automatically improve over time. The is the essence of artificial intelligence.
AI gets the same constant input through an inflow of data, which is stored in the neural network. The same principle, just another name. Data gets analyzed, and processed. Over time an algorithm is setup, and constantly changed a bit, in order to improve, and make better decisions in the future. Now the difference here is that modern AI systems never sleep, and moreover it gets input from often a large amount of people. This makes it able to improve the algorithm faster, and better since the changes are based on input from all of these users, instead of just one - in the case of the human brain.
It’s still early days for AI, but we do already see some great advances in how it can assist people in various different situations and industries. The health industry does already benefit from some of the early research. Google’s DeepMind assists physicians during surgery operations, and it’s now able to recognize early stages of blindness in people, which could potentially help doctors give the right medication, and in the end avoid that risk. Other examples of advances, but just as significant, are natural language recognition, which makes technology able to understand what you say, automatically subtitle a video for deaf people, or translate an ongoing conversation in real-time between you and and another person. We already see examples of these products, and they do actually work quite well. In the future, we could all talk our mother’s tongue, and just have a computer in our ear live translating the conversation.
Furthermore, object detection and face recognition already help people to automatically organize their pictures, make them searchable, so you can find that one picture with your significant other at the beach with a cocktail in your hand. Object detection is also already seen in various industries, for instance a cucumber manufacturer uses the technology to automatically determine a cucumber’s size, and thereby sort them into different categories, label them and it’s ready for the grocery store. Blind people use the technology to get a description of a picture on Facebook, or get the text read out loud for them - thus making smartphones available to a new group of people, and assist them in navigating a device that other people take for granted. This vanishes the need for a human assistant, thus increasing privacy and anonymity. The same technology could potentially be introduced in voting booths during elections.
There are many examples already now. One place where many of us have most likely already experienced some of the advantages of AI, is in the palm of your hand, the personal (mobile) assistants. Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Facebook’s M, etc. They are already out there, and ready to assist you in your daily life. Help you with time consuming tasks, unclutter your inbox, provide you with information about the departure of your next train, when you should leave to reach the office in time, or if there is a traffic jam on the way then provide you with an alternative route. For instance, Google Maps uses speed data from various devices to automatically detect traffic jams, where it starts and ends, and how long it will take to get through. Similarly, Facebook uses AI to determine what you should see in your personal news feed, and it’s in the same way in constant movement based on how you interact with your timeline. How long time you look at a specific post, if you tap it, like it, comment or just look at the comments. All of these things happen automatically in the background, a constant exchange between Facebook’s servers and your smartphone. This exchange of data should hopefully improve your experience with Facebook, and other services, to use them more, and in the end benefit from these improvements.
We, at Forecast, use data from various different organizations and projects in a similar way to constantly improve our AI-technology. Whenever a project manager or a team member enter some data into the Forecast system, there’s an inflow of data. This data is anonymized, and analyzed to improve the algorithm for everybody’s benefit. The algorithm is used to estimate some of the unknown values that teams are dealing with on a daily basis, time estimates, budget, scheduling and employee utilization, etc. Making you able to make better decisions, which are based on a more solid and justified foundation. This will hopefully lead to better and more profitable projects, in time and on budget.