Once the stuff of science fiction, artificial intelligence is increasingly becoming part of our everyday. New uses for this futuristic technology are launched each week, often so subtle that you will only find them if you seek them out. These practical and specialised AI applications are helping brands personalise their offering, improve efficiency and simplify consumers’ lives.
The master of the algorithm, Tinder’s latest update makes it even more likely you’ll meet your match. Its Smart Photos feature will swap your profile picture depending on the preferences of who is looking at it. For example, it will change if your potential partner prefers seeing full-length photos, or ones with your pet. The feature is said to improve over time, but it has already led to a 12% increase in matches.
Ebay also hopes to find you the perfect match – but with more of a focus on your home than your love life. Its new Ebay Collective site, dedicated to art and design, features image recognition technology that lets shoppers select an image of a room to find matching products. Using this tool, the auction site aims for a level of curation that is ordinarily only found in physical homeware stores.
Despite its benefits, many consumers are understandably cautious of this rapidly advancing technology. The Hiro Baby app, which offers on-demand advice and support in response to parental queries, retains a human-assisted element to reassure apprehensive consumers. Users receive personalised feedback and product recommendations that are derived through artificial intelligence, yet approved by a real person before being sent.
Similarly, Baidu’s medical chatbot is not designed to replace doctors, but simply to speed up the diagnosis process. Patients answer a series of questions, which become more personalised with every response, to create a detailed account of their symptoms prior to doctor referral. These personal assistants use messaging services to provide a familiar interface that helps connect with patients individually.
How artificial intelligence will develop in the future is uncertain. This month President Obama pushed his support for AI, making it a key focus of his guest edited issue of Wired magazine and unveiling a plan for ensuring government regulations develop in tandem with the technology.
Yet one thing is certain: if artificial intelligence can deliver the practical benefits it promises, without the distractions, it will likely be here to stay. As Obama put it, AI “has been seeping into our lives in all sorts of ways, and we just don’t notice”.
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