Think life's complicated? Google, Facebook and dozens of emerging companies agree. They are rushing to the rescue with artificial intelligence (AI) designed to make your everyday life a lot smoother.
You're already using a lot of artificial intelligence in the background. In the next couple years, it's is coming to the fore. Are you ready? Here are seven of the hundreds of artificial intelligences bots vying to become your next best friend.
Google's Artificial Intelligence
Google imagines a world where you never stop having an ongoing conversation with your own individualized, personal version of Google. "We are poised to take a big leap forward in the next 10 years," says CEO Sundar Pichai. "Leveraging our learning in machine learning and AI, we want to take the next step in being more assistive for our users."
Get a glimpse into the vision Google has for the role its AI will play:
Google (and you) already use RankBrain, a deep learning approach, to process of search search queries. Instead of a simple prompt and response kind of search, RankBrain takes into account your physical location, weather, habits and known wants to deliver the answer it thinks you need.
Facebook's Artificial Intelligence
Every minute, 400,000 new stories and 125,000 comments get shared on Facebook. The sheer scale of its user activity defies handling it by human touch.
That kind of scale is the perfect environment for learning systems and neural networks. To mine buying signals in its ongoing stream of personal insights from users, Facebook's DeepText is analyzing your posts, your private messages, your photos, and your videos. DeepText looks primarily for opportunities to understand your state of mind so it knows (or guesses) the context of why you are posting. Facebook is curious about this information for the same reason Google is. If you are posting about pizza because you're hungry, a pizza advertiser can use the interface to instantly offer you options--just one example, of course.
CNET's video shows it in action:
More options to automate anything
Vi, who wants to make sweat swell
The revolution of automating the tedium out of your life is reaching into anything that has enough ongoing data to deliver a real difference in your daily experience. Health, for example. One of the popular offers on Kickstarter is for Vi, a friendly personal trainer that gets to know exactly what you need to maximize your running performance.
Vi integrates with Google health kit, the weather, and your location to give you precise performance encouragement.
Claire says clear skies ahead
30 Seconds to Fly is a startup trying to take the tedium--and long holds--out of travel management for teams. You can text their AI, Claire, and get personalized support on the go. The promise is that you and your company can get back to business, and get out of the travel business. (In my opinion, only AI has the patience to truly take on air travel.)
Your personal AI data analyst can post in fifteen seconds
Another business bot with a big productivity punch is Associated Insights' report writer, Wordsmith. You can plug Mr. Smith into your MS Excel or Google Sheets using their free API, and let it write up detailed analysis of the stories behind your numbers. It can spit out detailed reports on thousands of pages of spreadsheets in seconds.
Andrew wants your meeting tedium
For the last couple of weeks, I've been enjoying having most of my meetings scheduled by a Andrew, a meeting scheduling assistant from X.ai. While it's not perfect, it's shockingly close and doesn't take lunch breaks or vacations. I can't wait until he figures out how to remind me about important emails I haven't answered yet, and sends his suggested response based on the thousands of emails already in my system. You could almost forget Andrew isn't a person, his tone is so accurate for how a real, friendly, professional assistant writes.
Jill jives with artificial intelligence class at Georgia Tech
Having the experience of working with AI, and not realizing it's not a real person, is exactly what happened to 300 students in Professor Ashok Goel's artificial intelligence class at Georgia Tech last semester.
He and his graduate students used IBM Watson to teach a TA program how to answer forum posts. They named it Jill. After some confidence building on 40,000 historical forum posts and questions, the newly minted digital TA Jill Watson was able to respond to students directly by March.
What surprised Professor Goel was what happened when told his students that they'd been working with a digital intelligence. "They were really positive," he said. "They liked it--they didn't mind, and in fact were completely supportive. No one felt misled. Instead, they felt like they got great service." His goal is to have 40% of student forum support on Jill's desk by the end of the year.
According to IBM, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. That rate is so fast that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years. With this kind of data, new kinds of intelligences are not only possible, but actually needed. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Here's to a great start to your first digital friendship.