It could be the key to world peace. It could bring us totally apart.
It could be behind the most significant and beneficial developments in mankind that we have ever seen or have been able to imagine. Yet no one can tell us when it will occur.
In its simplest form, it can be called AI, but it is so much more than that. It has morphed into something even more powerful.
This, we discuss with Rita Arrigo, the Chief Digital Advisor of Microsoft. She focuses on emerging technologies like AI, holographic, and cryptographic technology.
AI in its simplest form
For Rita, AI is the ability for us to use computer vision to see. Computer vision has really changed nowadays and it allows us to not just look at video footage, but also interpret it so we know what’s going on in that video–we can understand the objects and spaces within the videos. Being able to see is a very important part of AI.
Then there’s also the ability to interpret and understand language, which gives us products like digital assistants and bots. There are also elements like machine learning and prediction, so when you mix them all together, a real transformation can occur.
There is a good amount of potential for machine learning and prediction in the field of real estate. We have all heard about the emergence of smart home appliances and applications like Google Home and Alexa Smart Home, so AI can help in property maintenance – things like predicting the failure of appliances, air conditioning, machinery, etc., efficient energy usage, digital key locks and other forms of digital security, or connecting your appliances to the internet.
Another area that’s important in AI is data science, or as it’s usually called these days, Big Data. Using this technology, we can predict how a group of people will act using data gleaned from social media platforms and other mediums. It can also help people learn more about the neighborhood they’re in and what’s going on around them.
IoT: The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is the extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. It’s when you connect a device so you can see who’s inside your house, or to help you open doors, figure out the temperature of your plants so you know if they have enough water.
It’s basically helping you automate things. It can range from ordering the things you’re running out of in your house, like eggs, orange juice, or even washing powder (if you have your washing machine connected).
Beam me up, Scotty
Mixed reality is similar to holographic computing. It is actually a device that you wear and it overlays holographic images into the physical space. “So for example,” Rita shares, “There’s a an architecture company that wants to disprove the notion that architects design things that are too difficult to build. So, with HoloLens, they can use a digital grid to “digitally” construct a building.”
Other examples include being able to overlay what your new kitchen might look like and building safer cars.
This technology is amazing since it allows builders and architects to see possible problems in a property before construction even starts. It a great cost-saving option.
The missing middle
In the early days, going as far back as the Industrial Revolution, there have always been fears about machines replacing humans at their jobs. But there will always be jobs that humans will have to do.
To prepare for that, Rita shares that it’s more about attitude or our mindset. “Don’t be afraid of machines, embrace them.
That’s really important because if you’re open to learning new things, you can embrace it as well. So the past, it was about books, and it was about reading, not not to say that none of that is useful. But now, we have this ability to become so much more immersed, and to know about what’s going around in our spaces. New technology will really help us learn a lot faster than we did in the past.”
AI will help us test ideas faster, see if they work, and helps us pivot and adjust accordingly.
The ethics of AI
We’ve seen the whole AI-goes-evil-and-enslaves-humanity scenario in countless sci-fi films and books, so we can’t deny that it’s a fear that many people have. And it is a difficult question to answer, in regards to the “brain development” of AI, will we able to control it and set patterns?
There is the opinion that it’s like raising children. AI developers and humans in general, will have a great influence on how AI develops. In companies and organizations working in the AI space, there has been a revival of ethics–the ethics framework around transparency and bias, and analyzing how it works. Having an ethics framework is going to be very important for these companies.
Driverless cars, for example, have been getting a lot of traction online, and the idea of riding in one still makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Because the idea of a human driver being responsible for the safety of every passenger is still ingrained in us.
Ethics and how AI think is definitely an interesting topic that will get more attention over time.
AI in 10 years
Rita shares her opinion on what the AI space and our society in general will look like over time.
In 10 years, AI will probably:
- Take away a lot of the boring and tedious things we do like calculating expenses, travels, bookings, etc.
- Help us create better parts and learn new things
- Help us have richer and better experiences
She predicts and looks most forward to the time that AI will save us in the future.