If you needed any clarification that Artificial Intelligence is on everyone's mind, you need only tune into HBO's new buzzed-about series Westworld.
But AI is quickly making its move from the futuristic and fictional to the realm of reality with many practical AI tools already available today. From space, robotics, transportation, healthcare, marketing, music, photography and more, many industries are affected by AI, and we've only just began to see the changes that are yet to come.
Since AI is developing at such an astonishing rate, many industries are reaping the rewards of its integration.
Here are a few of them.
AI powered Personal Assistants
How much better can you manage your time, tasks and deadlines if each had a personal assistant to help schedule your calendars, tell you what's important and help you become more productive?
This is a very exciting and innovative area, with major players such as Microsoft with Cortana and Google with inbox showing tremendous focus. With a slight pivot come Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa who lean towards voice-powered assistance in the home and office.
However, things aren't stopping with the giants, as many startups are taking to the scene offering great practicality with AI powered engines.
For example, there are niche players such as Clara Labs and X.AI which schedule appointments and meetings automatically for consumers. Those familiar with this process can attest to the potential of such tools to save endless ping-pong.
On a broader scope is Knowmail, whose AI engine personalizes work messaging as to save you time, help you focus and improve productivity. Viv too offers an 'intelligent interface for everything', and allows developers to create a conversational interface for their products or services.
Our healthcare is sadly broken, and while we should all be concerned, hi-tech businesses see this as an opportunity to return power back to the patient. With smartphones in almost everyone's pockets, this is the way the world is heading. Combined with big data, the information from these sensors could help prevent disease and extend lifespans.
IBM's Watson for example, a super-computer powered by AI diagnosed a leukemia patient within a matter of minutes by studying her medical information and comparing it to 20 million records on the system.
Google, Apple, Samsung, and others are already investing billions in developing new biometric sensors. Most importantly, consumers aren't likely to have to pay for these new services thanks to their insurance companies.
The reason for this has to do with the fact that it is financially worthwhile for insurance companies to invest in new technologies that will keep their clients healthier.
AI bots are already helping people remember to take their medication, and are even assisting in surgeries, with 570,000 robots assisting in surgeries in 2004, a number that is only growing. As explained by Business Insider, "technology will also make up for a shortfall in trained medical workers. With its aging population, Japan continues to lead the world in 'care bots' that help the elderly with basic tasks."
All of these innovations as well as the discovery of rare diseases and correct diagnosis are essential in providing effective treatment and in some cases, avoid misdiagnosis.
AI is going to be increasingly important in the financial services industries, with the biggest change to the sector probably coming from "robo-advisors" that will replace human financial advisors.
These "robo-advisors" will be able to use predictive systems and market data to forecast stock trends and manage finances, as well as sort through tens of thousands of possible companies. They'll even be able to find the best fitting company for a client to invest in according to their analysis of the client's social media posts, emails, and risk tolerance.
The change in the way financial services are performed is so remarkable that by 2020, there could be up to $2.2 trillion in investments made through AI-enabled computers that can actually "learn" markets.
This is the industry that will probably be changed most by AI, particularly in everything to do with fully autonomous (driverless) cars. In fact, by 2025, 10% of cars will already be fully autonomous. The technology behind these self-driving cars will be applied to public transportation and will decrease the risk of accidents as well alleviate traffic congestion and lower energy costs.
Google, Tesla and Uber are currently developing such vehicles that are expected to be on the market in 2018. Japan is also testing "robot taxis" with the hope of transporting people during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
In fact, Morgan Stanley predicts that driverless cars will save the U.S. $1.3 trillion a year by 2035 to 2050, for a global annual saving of $5.6 trillion.
There is no doubt that AI is about to revolutionize the ways in which we live our lives. For many, AI will even be the sole cause they lose their livelihood since as Business Insider predicts, 47% of US jobs have the potential to be automated. However, this could enable humans to take on more creative tasks and jobs.
There are those of course who don't need to worry, since not all jobs can be performed by robots, but it wouldn't hurt everyone to start planning their Plan B just in case.