Artificial Intelligence is already improving and automating many everyday tasks. And while computers can’t replace humans quite yet, they’re doing a great job of taking care of the mundane tasks we don’t want to do.
Some of the largest tech companies in the world are currently making massive investments into AI. And the market for enterprise applications is expected to reach $31.2 billion by 2025.
Here’s how some of the largest tech companies in the world are implementing and benefiting from artificial intelligence:
Over the past few years, Google has acquired 11 AI companies. The company’s purchase of DeepMind in 2014 is one of the largest acquisitions in the AI space so far.
Earlier this year, DeepMind created an AI project that uses reasoning to navigate the London Underground. It’s able to find the quickest route between different underground stations. It can also solve problems and recall information by using neural networks to store data.
If you’ve ever used Google Translate, you’ve probably noticed that the translations aren’t always as correct as they could be. But DeepMind is set to change that. In September last year, Google debuted the Google Neural Machine Translation System. Instead of translating words and slapping them together, GNMT looks at each sentence as a whole, while allowing for smaller phrases and words.
Most impressively, the system can now translate between two languages, even if it hasn’t yet been taught how to do so. This is known as ‘zero-shot’ translation, and it means that it’s operating on a ‘black box’ basis.
That means that the programmers don’t even know how it’s doing what it’s doing. It also means it’s likely that the system has developed its own internal language, representing the concepts it uses so it can translate between different languages.
The AI system can also lip-read, and competed against a professional lip-reader to decipher 200 TV clips. The lip-reader had a success rate of 12.4%, while Google had a massive 46.8% success rate.
Google has also announced that TensorFlow (its machine learning system) will be available to everyone for free.
Facebook has come a long way since it first began embracing AI- who could forget the early days of its photo tagging capabilities? Now, Facebook autoclassifies images and can tell what’s happening without tags or captions. That means you can search your photos by using keywords, even if you haven’t saved them with captions.
As of early this year, more than 150 people are currently working on AI at Facebook. And according to Fast Company, Facebook has tripled its investments in machine learning research and processing power for artificial intelligence.
Facebook currently uses DeepFace. The technology currently has a higher success rate than humans when it’s recognising whether two images contain the same person.
The company, like many others, is aiming to create chatbots that can not only carry on a conversation but can manage your bank account or book your flights. Facebook is using neural networks which are able to learn from existing conversations. This means we can eventually use the messenger app for grabbing a taxi, making payments, and arranging our deliveries. The tech will work through the personal assistant which has already been dubbed “M”.
Apple has been ahead of the AI game since the launch of Siri in 2011. But because the company doesn’t have a dedicated Ai division or publish research, it’s often missing from the narrative around AI.
In 2014, the company moved Siri onto a system that’s based on neural networks. It didn’t publicise the change, however, to keep competitors out of the loop. Since then, Apple has been layering deep learning and AI into many of its products.
The company takes a subtle approach and uses AI in ways that many may not notice. When you swipe left on your screen and see a shortlist of apps that you’re most likely to need next, or you get a reminder for an appointment you didn’t add to your calendar, that’s all AI hard at work.
In mid-2015, Apple purchased Vocal IQ. The company’s product is more capable and robust than competitors like Alexa from Amazon and Google Now. In fact, Apple was so impressed with the technology that it bought the company before it could release its smartphone app, keeping most of the team on and integrating their product into Siri.
VocalIQ is great at filtering out noise, making it more accurate than Siri. It will also adapt to accents over time- something that people will appreciate if they find themselves slipping into an American accent when speaking to Siri.
When it comes to AI and Microsoft, it has seemed like the company has been either playing catch up or dealing with embarrassment. Their biggest mistake was Tay, the AI bot they let out to play on Twitter. Within 24 hours, Tay became bigoted and racist, incited race wars, and denied the Holocaust. Microsoft had to delete many of the tweets and issue an apology.
But the company is also doing amazing work. And it can be argued the Tay, which learned by what Twitter users said to it, is a sad reflection on humanity and not Microsoft’s AI skills.
Microsoft has rolled out Azure, which is continually improving and getting close to what’s currently on offer by IBM Watson. In Andhra Pradesh, a state in India, Azure was used to predict the state’s dropout rate for schools, and more than 10,000 schools took part in the experiment.
Last year, Microsoft announced that it’s using AI, machine learning, and computer science to help doctors track, research, diagnose, and maybe even cure different types of cancer. The company has even developed an AI headset for the blind. It takes photos of the world, reporting back to the user and letting them know what’s going on around them.
Amazon uses AI in a variety of ways. Some of its most well-known applications include the Prime Air delivery drones, Alexa, and Echo, its voice assistant. But much of the value that the company is receiving from AI is happening behind the scenes. This includes improving forecasting for inventory management and improving and upgrading product recommendations for customers.
One of the most exciting things about Amazon Web Services machine learning and AI is that the company is aiming to make its advanced techniques available to all organisations. This includes the many software developers and corporations it counts as customers.
Like many other tech giants, Amazon is offering AI services via the cloud. The company has thousands of dedicated AI employees working on image recognition software and text-to-speech (known as Amazon Polly). One of the biggest breakthroughs is Amazon Lex, which allows developers and business owners to build apps that can have multi-step conversations.
This program will be revolutionary for many business owners. They can use Lex to build mobile and web apps, and chatbots that support lifelike interactions.
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