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HOT TECH 4: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
The concept of artificial intelligence consists in enabling machines to perform intellectual tasks previously carried out by humans. Why has the development of AI become essential?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is already a reality, and connected devices are an integral part of our everyday lives. However, IoT is not yet an intuitive technology. We still have to program it. The next step is for connected objects to implicitly learn from behavior observed in their environment, rather than being programed. Artificial intelligence algorithms are the key to achieving this.
In its most recent study, Gartner, predicts that the vast majority of software upgrades will include AI by 2020. Businesses that adopt AI fastest will gain a significant competitive advantage.
Artificial intelligence is a complex subject that, like everything involving human-machine interactions, raises certain fears. Whenever machines perform tasks previously handled by humans, ethical issues can arise. Consequently, in certain application areas, regulations govern which tasks can be assigned to AI.
In healthcare, for ethical reasons, artificial intelligence is only used as a diagnostic tool and to generate reports and recommendations. The physician remains the sole decision maker regarding treatment protocols.
The ability to search, store and superimpose vast amounts of data is a powerful asset, and radiologists, for example, are already using AI to assist their diagnoses.
Scientists at Stanford University have demonstrated that artificial intelligence is able to detect melanomas more effectively than humans.
In oncology, the powerful analytical and computational capabilities of AI systems can be harnessed to rapidly generate hypotheses and minimize the radiation doses administered to patients by adapting them to individual circumstances.
AI is quickly becoming an essential, invaluable assistant for medical practitioners, due to its ability to effectively cross-reference data in record time.
Automatic transcriptions and patient visit reports generated using AI algorithms are also becoming increasingly common.
In industry, AI is a key factor in the digital transformation. There are currently two major use cases:
- Predictive maintenance (enabling intervention before a failure occurs), delivering high added value, particularly in the aviation industry.
- Case study: General Electric recently stated that each year, the group generates nearly 400 square miles of images of pipeline interiors, taken using robots equipped with cameras in order to monitor for leaks. Using AI has yielded a 10 – 20% saving on resource allocations.
- Planning and Management of Complex Systems
- In the energy industry, for example, sensors are used to measure and manage supply and demand on a day-by-day basis. In the renewable energy sector, AI has delivered real quality gains and significant added value in areas such as forecasting, anticipation and adjustment.
- In the case of wind turbines, where power output and consumption requirements do not necessarily coincide, AI is being used to match supply with
In business and marketing, “chatbots” are already being used to relieve congestion in customer service departments. Waiting times are shorter, and technicians are available to answer questions that require human intervention. The introduction of artificial intelligence seems to be having a positive impact on customer satisfaction.
In the area of IT security, AI is also being used to develop more advanced and effective antivirus software.
In retailing, many activities are being automated. In-store terminals that let customers scan an item in order to check its price or view detailed product information are becoming increasingly common. These terminals use artificial intelligence to respond to customer queries, for example applying image recognition to identify the aisle in which a particular product is stocked. Upon completing this initial identification process, the system searches the product catalog and then the inventory database, integrating all this structured data to provide the customer with the location and the number of remaining items.
AI will help to reap the benefits of automating such devices using algorithms that process data from multiple sources. The aim is to customize devices to suit their user’s lifestyle. As a result, they will be smarter and have a real impact on our everyday lives.