Celebrating Thanksgiving by being grateful for AI
As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s the time of the year to acknowledge what we’re grateful for in our lives.
Artificial Intelligence is often seen as a high-level technology that is only useful for people who work in technical industries. But the reality is that AI brings benefits to humans in our daily lives, working behind the scenes to help society out in a variety of ways.
Importance of Artificial Intelligence
The impact of artificial intelligence on society has been largely positive so far, bringing contributions that have made life easier for us humans, from being able to store and analyze data in multiple industries effectively, to improving our day-to-day routine with virtual and home assistants.
In the future, the benefits of AI will surely continue to outweigh its downsides. AI is developing in a way that is augmenting what humans are already doing, making it easier or more effective in a variety of ways.
By far, the biggest benefit of AI is that, in taking care of some of the most tedious, time-consuming tasks in many industries, it is freeing up humans to do the more creative, valuable, imaginative things that we would prefer to be doing instead.
With Thanksgiving in mind, let’s take this opportunity to look at some of the top benefits of AI and reasons we should grateful to have it around.
1. AI is facilitating major advances in healthcare
When looking at healthcare in 2020, managing COVID-19 has been a major focus – and AI has been fighting the pandemic alongside us. Using machine learning algorithms, AI is able to take data from a variety of seemingly disconnected sources such as news reports, airline information, and healthcare data and connect the dots to create meaningful insights we can use. In relation to COVID-19, AI has been helping us forecast what further spread is going to look like, and tracking its development around the world.
A large issue with COVID-19 has been the strain that the sheer number of cases is putting on already overworked healthcare professionals. AI has been able to relieve some of that burden, taking care of routine data collection and filing, freeing up time for other higher value activities. AI allows for contactless screening of COVID-19 cases, and helps make virtual diagnoses more straightforward and accurate.
The benefits and uses above apply to healthcare beyond COVID-19. Throughout the healthcare field, AI is assisting doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals make better diagnoses and faster decisions on a course of treatment, based on the large amount of data that currently exists. AI allows doctors to pinpoint effective drugs that may have otherwise been overlooked, and can identify higher risk individuals before any human can.
Finally, AI is great at administrative work, taking over the repetitive tasks within healthcare that would take a human precious hours to finish.
And in a year where we’re running a marathon fight against a disease that has spread around the world, along with trying to cope with the normal volume of clinical cases, this has proved paramount.
2. AI is available 24/7
If you’ve ever needed an urgent answer from a customer service department at 2 am, you probably already appreciate the 24/7 availability of artificial intelligence. As technology advances and companies develop even more intuitive chatbots, AI will become a truly viable solution to customer service problems at any hour of the day. On top of being available all the time, AI is very good at multitasking, able to handle multiple queries at once, which is especially good for customer service teams at high volume call times of the year, such as the holidays.
In the manufacturing world or in other physically demanding jobs, AI and robotics can function 24/7, without requiring the daily rest periods or regular time off that humans do, increasing productivity.
The bottom line is that AI will be there for you when, literally, no one else is.
3. AI makes everyday life easier… and safer
From smart homes to virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa to GPS, AI is there to assist us with routine tasks. It makes our lives easier in ways that we already take for granted.
AI is becoming smarter when it comes to making custom recommendations that really fit individual needs. From movie, food, and music suggestions to recommended products on eCommerce websites, AI is helping us figure out what we want – sometimes before we even know what that is. That recommended playlist on Spotify you absolutely love? You can thank artificial intelligence for it. AI is even helping us in our love lives by matching us with the most suitable partners via dating apps.
AI also helps make life easier in the literal sense when applied to smart manufacturing, extremely labour-intensive work, and dangerous practices, like bomb diffusion or mining. All these fields are influenced by human limitations, and robotics powered by AI leaves those limitations behind.
From the mundane to the extraordinary, AI is making our lives easier, safer and more enjoyable.
4. AI is reducing the consequences of human error
Ever been caught in a rainstorm when the weather forecast a beautiful sunny day? On a more serious level, how about seeing the consequences of a wrongly forecasted storm path?
As much as we dislike to admit it, humans make mistakes, in any variety of situations from predicting the weather, overlooking a key dataset or misinterpreting the results of a study. Letting AI and automation take over tasks and data analysis can reduce or even eliminate human error. This is one of the major pros of artificial intelligence, as it doesn’t make mistakes like we do.
AI is also immune to factors that affect performance in humans such as stress and fatigue. This leads to higher productivity, more efficient work, and increased safety across the board. It can aid humans in making more informed decisions in high-stress situations.
In the automotive industry, AI is already having a major impact. By allowing drivers to access controls via voice commands, drivers are less distracted and less likely to have an accident. AI-powered, self-driving vehicles, meanwhile, use “machine learning algorithms to detect distracted driving, drowsiness, tailgating, hard acceleration or braking, cell phone or cigarette use, and collisions… immediately alerting drivers and helping them correct the behavior with audible and visual alerts”.
Reducing the consequences of human error actually enhances human knowledge – and makes it all the more powerful.
5. AI is giving us our time back
Automation powered by AI is giving us humans our time back. The tasks that are being automated in a variety of settings: retail, customer service, healthcare and beyond used to require hours of manual work. With AI taking care of the repetitive tasks, we are then free to focus on the high-value parts of a project – those that need a human touch.
How much time do you spend stuck in traffic in an average month? Some cities have started using AI to help with traffic management, using the technology to analyze the existing data and create a more efficient system, taking into account car crashes, weather conditions and helping to ensure that traffic lights are synchronized. Looking further into the future, self-driving vehicles may be the ultimate way that AI will help give us time back on the road, ensuring safer driving conditions, fewer traffic jams and the ability to relax on our commute.
AI’s brilliance is to combine the creativity of humans with the efficiency of technology. There are an infinite number of ways AI can help make our world a safer, healthier and more enjoyable place.
If you can dream it, AI can do it, which is something that we have to be very grateful for indeed.