Back in 1984, I got my good old Commodore 64 machine. To most millennials it is nothing more but some technological dinosaur they only know from stories. To me however, it meant a whole lot more! I spent countless hours mastering games like ‘Space invaders’ and ‘Pac-Man’ and beating my own high scores over and over again. Years later, people started teaching computers how to play these games and become our digital opponents. Ultimately, computers were able to beat any human soul without even ‘knowing’ the rules of the game.
Way beyond child’s play
Having said that, I guess you wouldn’t expect me to be very enthusiastic when it comes to Artificial Intelligence
(AI). On the contrary: AI is a beautiful world in which self-driving cars, predicting the future and many other things have come within reach. A world too that is already way beyond child’s play and has in fact become serious business. Admittedly, ‘Terminator’ will have to wait his turn for a while to come. But what about all kinds of jobs (tedious or not) that us humans can leave up to machines like a personal driver, private doctor, personal account manager and so on. Closer to (our own) home, USoft is increasingly applying AI in services such as biometric authentication and real-time decision-making.
Teaching machines how to ‘think’
So how is it possible to create things like self-driving cars or systems that can perform tasks that usually require human intelligence? I remember working on predicting the gas volume inside transportation pipelines that covered an area almost as big as Holland, back in 2001. To solve this problem, I was using Machine Learning
(ML) which is in fact responsible for teaching AI brains. ML is a separate part in an AI system and can be used to detect patterns in data, creating predictions and do other interesting things that are helping AI to make decisions. Companies are increasingly realising that they have huge amounts of data at their disposal that can be analysed by ML and efficiently used to enhance things like customer experience, product recommendations, language translation, anti-fraud detection and recognising (and subsequently authorising, people).
Is your company next?
Analysts are predicting strong growth in investment and adoption of ML globally, from $12 billion in 2017 to $57.6 billion by 2021. Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, and other digital heavyweights see AI as an opportunity to transform not only the tech sector, but a wide swath of the economy. Today we ask ourselves different questions like: can machines perform multiple tasks on a human level? Can machines have emotions?
Some answers will take years, but funny hardware names like GPU, TPU and Quantum ML sound as if we will have some answers soon. Are you ready for answers?
for more USoft blogs on Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning and Machine Learning.