When you hear the word “Artificial Intelligence (AI)”, you may feel perplexed, unable to grasp or make concrete sense of it. You may also wonder what it has to do with you or many others who do not directly work in the field. As you step into your car and start driving, you probably turn on the radio and take it off your mind.

 

Let us say you are driving a later generation car that is equipped with “Cruise Control”. You are on the highway, traffic is sparse. You press the Cruise Control button, take your foot of the gas pedal, relax, and start enjoying the music. You, the human driver in this case, have the intelligence to control the speed of the car at a safe, maximum level (within speed limits, but as close to it as possible). This enables you to take full advantage of driving in a highway to reach your destination as quickly as possible. Can some of this human intelligence be replicated in the car driving mechanism?  Yes, AI has influenced the automotive industry. But what is AI?

 

One of the best definitions that has been coined for AI is the following: “AI is nothing but technology that replicates activities that would normally require human involvement.”

 

With advances in technology, AI systems are starting to become more common place in everyday life. In this blog, we will examine a few interesting applications of AI in everyday life

 

GPS AND AI: GPS Navigation systems are perhaps one of the best examples of early adoption of technology. Frequent travelers may be well versed with this application. It had high adoption in the rental car industry – in the early days, people were just handed a GPS device, if not a GPS equipped vehicle. However, with rapid advances in cellular and wireless technology, these days, this capability is simply available via smartphone apps. It comes in handy when you are trying to find your way around, especially in big cities and suburbs. Intelligence that needs to be replicated in this case includes answers to the following queries:

 

  • What is the quickest route from Point A to Point B?
  • Can real time information such as traffic jams and detours be incorporated to help navigate with ease?

 

Advancements in AI have made instant maps and routing a reality.  One example of routing between two points is presented by GMAPS (google web service API), which uses digital maps (a possible AI product) above which it incorporates the information from GPS to show the shortest route. Another sophisticated method of using digital maps to navigate unfamiliar terrain is to obtain images from remote sensing satellites (a large number of spatio-temporal visual images) and stitch them to display using a geographical coordinate system. AI is used to process these images to draw terrain maps above the same and tag the objects appropriately. This involves computer vision to label the objects over the surface of the Earth.

 

Another example of an everyday AI application is the performance of call routing functions that used to be done by a front desk telephone operator a decade ago. Today, AI is influencing VOIP calls. As the name suggests VOIP (voice over internet protocol) uses the internet to place calls. So where exactly does AI come in? AI is the ability of the technology to make human like decisions. In this case, AI helps understand the mood / speech patterns of the caller and connect to the right customer service personnel or banker perhaps. Similarly, it could help with language translation as well. Advanced AI applications are also designed to help gather relevant information about callers and share the same with the representative before they attend the call.

 

“INFLUENCING” ONLINE SHOPPING: With unlimited internet access and availability of smartphones, increasing number of people are preferring to shop online – needless to say, in everyday life, e-commerce has become an everyday convenience and necessity for people. This has led to an explosion of so-called “influencing” AI applications that offer merchandise and attract customers to make purchases on the internet. These applications are built using a two-step process outlined below to better “influence” customer “decision making”:

 

  • Gather information about customer preferences and buying habits
  • Personalize the customers shopping experience by suggesting new products tailored to their buying habits

 

AI APPLICATIONS IN BANKING FINANCE SERVICES INSURANCE (BFSI) TRANSACTIONS: With the advent of mobile banking and increasing use of the same, two AI applications are of particular interest in everyday banking. The first one is the AI application for image processing and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Major banks are starting to offer the ability to deposit a check through a smartphone app without having the need to personally visit the bank using this technology. The second more common AI application is the alerts for fraudulent activity. In this case the AI application alerts the customer when it detects unusual activity/ transaction in the customer account.

 

Of course, the examples discussed above are only a small representative of the applications of AI in the finance sector.

 

OTHER APPLICATIONS: AI is also finding increasing applications in smart home devices (such as a smart thermostat). The impact of AI can be seen in email spam filters, digital voice assistants, and functions such as auto complete of emails. Other examples include:

Seeing AI:  is one of the iPhone apps built by Microsoft to enable vision for visually impaired.

Hearing AI: It provides graphical visualizations through which one can experience sound and speech, and it provides notifications about vital sound changes in the environment.

Google Predictive Search: The suggestions given by Google while typing inside the search box.

Autocorrect texts: Autocorrect suggestions while typing.

Face detection and socializing requests: Recognizing friends, acquaintances and suggesting people to connect with on social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

 

In summary, one cannot deny AI is making our life more efficient every day and, one cannot avoid stumbling upon AI in everyday life. It is time to realize that AI enables one to cruise into a future where today’s imaginations become tomorrow’s reality. The field of AI evolves every now and then and brings with it a completely new perspective in perceiving the truth and unlocks unexplored frontiers.

 

About the author:

Mr. Srinivasan completed his Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, India and M.S. in Fluid Mechanics from Cornell University, USA. Mr. Srinivasan also has an MBA in Finance from University of Delaware, USA with many years of experience working in diverse process industries such as Oil & Gas, Pulp & Paper, Petroleum Refining, Textile Mills, Aluminum Production as well as for major industrial automation vendors such as Emerson, ABB and Foxboro. He is also certified as a Control Systems Engineer in the examination conducted by National Council of Engineering Examiners and Surveyors, USA in 2012.

Currently, Mr. Srinivasan serves as a consultant for designing and administering courses in Instrumentation & Process Control as well as Data Analytics.

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