Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gone from being a “technology of the future” to a “must-have” technology that businesses now look to create and sustain a differentiated, competitive advantage. In 2020, an increasing number of organizations are turning their attention to how AI can help them to achieve tangible business results through immediately actionable — i.e., humans working together with machines — insights from the analysis of customer data.
AI’s uses cases aren’t limited to data analysis. Ordinary people like you and I also have the opportunity to benefit from AI-powered tools as they help us in our everyday lives. Think self-driving vehicles, autonomous parking, cognitive and virtual assistants, and even AI-powered home appliances and electronics.
If you like learning about AI and the awesome technologies it’s helping to build, let me present to you the four most exciting AI technologies to watch in 2020.
Smart Home AI
Just a decade ago, the thought of being able to control your home’s temperature, lights, locks, and security systems remotely would have felt like science fiction. But in 2020, almost every major home appliance and home system can now be controlled remotely. The global smart home market is growing at an annual average growth rate of 13.5% and is projected to reach US$174.2B by 2025.
So what do these dollars buy?
- Energy Management. Smart thermostats, radiators, and air conditioners are now being built by every major global manufacturer, including Hive, Google Nest, and Samsung.
- Home Entertainment. TVs are not just “smart” but getting smarter with AI. Amazon recently released the Fire TV Cube, billing it as the first hands-free, streaming media player that allows users to control features in their smart TVs through their smart speakers.
- Lighting Systems. Lighting systems like Philips Hue can be controlled by mobile apps, smart speakers, and conversational AI (see below);
- Smart Appliances. AI allows full management and control of smart appliances and electronics, including notifications and alerts; and
- Security Systems. Smart IoT cameras and sensors allow homeowners to monitor their properties in real-time from anywhere in the world.
From connected, IoT devices in smart homes to customer support to smart hotels to product registration and more, conversational AI powers cognitive assistants/chatbots help people to talk to machines at home, at work, and on the go.
As many businesses first begin using conversational AI for customer support, here are the top use cases for chatbots, according to Statista:
- Answer Customers’ Frequently Asked Questions. A chatbot can instantly present customers with multiple service options to direct them to the most appropriate resources
- Screen Customers for Agents. Natural Language Processing AI collects and analyzes customers’ information so they can be automatically routed to the right department or agent.
- Greet and Engage Customers. Instead of hold music, chatbots can engage a customer until needed human support is available.
- Provide Agents with the Best Information. Chatbots can act as a real-time coach and advisor to help agents through difficult, complicated, and one-off questions.
Studicus’ Estelle Liotard say that conversational AI improves virtual assistant’ ability to understand what humans are saying to it and respond with the most appropriate answer. “With the ability to sound and act ‘human,’ chatbots are becoming better at ‘listening,’ better at recognizing customers’ emotions, and may have the better and more empathetic answers, especially at scale, compared to their human counterparts.
Global conversational AI leader UIB has taken chatbots to the next level by allowing people to communicate with their smart devices via natural language voice and text in their preferred languages and on their favorite communications channels. This is made possible by UIB’s UnificationEngine® platform, Unified AI®, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) AI.
Here’s a fun example. Imagine that you have a few smart items — a refrigerator, a microwave, and a home thermostat. They come from different manufacturers, so, communicating with them requires multiple apps. Instead of managing all of your different devices in their mobile apps or through your smart speaker, you can use a UIB-powered chatbot to interact with them on all of your favorite platforms, from WhatsApp to Twitter to Facebook Messenger to WeChat, talk and text your smart home. You can even message your fridge while at a grocery store to see if you need milk.
If you’d like to see how conversational IoT solutions like chatbots work, try it now with your Arlo, Nest, Philips Hue, OSRAM, Samsung, Miele, B/S/H/, and other smart home devices.
Autonomous Driving and Parking
Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous Driving/Parking represent the current level of AI development. Without AI, we can’t have vehicles that drive themselves, requiring the highest possible levels of safety, security, and responsiveness.
To allow a vehicle to drive without human intervention, AI must be able to:
- Understand what it’s seeing;
- Understand and abide by local traffic rules; and
- Make the best possible decisions in every traffic situation, possible and impossible.
A typical autonomous car using AI software is expected to have up to 300 million lines of code,” says Helene Cue, AI researcher and writer at WowGrade. “Every line of that code will be based on thorough testing and experience.” The requirements for memory bandwidth and storage are enormous too, as self-driving vehicles must have a reliable, uninterrupted data stream to be able to make and respond to decisions in real-time.
While we are still working through how to regulate autonomous vehicles, the companies who are working on making this happen are making tremendous progress. Dozens of different companies are currently testing vehicles in California, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Here’s the progress in autonomous driving testing of the leading companies:
With AI-powered driving becoming more effective, pioneering companies will achieve even more progress in 2020.
Facial Recognition AI
Facial recognition AI is one of the most used and most controversial AI capabilities in 2020. Companies including Apple and Samsung have made headlines by implementing powerful facial recognition features in their mobile phones which many of their users love to use.
Here’s how facial recognition AI works. You train the AI to detect and recognize faces by feeding it images of people with different facial expressions and positions. A machine learning model removes the background to isolate the faces.
Next, another machine learning model extracts specific facial features from the images and develops a system to represent them numerically. Subsequent training and processing of more images should make the algorithm more effective at recognizing specific faces and even emotions.
Despite an increasing number of privacy concerns, facial detection AI is experiencing exponential growth and is now being used in smartphones, surveillance cameras, and other devices. Just one example, AppLock keeps apps private by using your face and voice to lock apps on your smartphone.
Well-known companies are actively developing machine learning models and algorithms for detecting faces in different environments. As Google explained, the company wants to use facial recognition AI to fight human trafficking and ensure that only authorized persons have access to sensitive information.
More AI is Coming
The range of capabilities that AI is making possible is hard to describe in a single article, but I hope these four examples are enough to give you an idea of AI’s potential. AI is no longer just being used by big corporations, businesses of all sizes and consumers are already reaping the benefits of using it.
If you’re just starting to learn AI, here’s a great Beginner’s Guide to AI describing the technologies that make everything you just read about possible.
About the Author
Dorian Martin is an enthusiastic copywriter who loves all things tech. While continuing to write blogs and guides on digital marketing and lifestyles, he dreams about working on Artificial Intelligence projects for text recognition. Currently, Dorian is working as a senior writer at BestEssayEducation and TrustMyPaper, and an editor at GrabMyEssay. In the future, he plans to have at least three blogs about digital marketing and technology.