AIs or Artificial intelligence still seems like a faraway dream as we envision fully automated assistants a la the all-knowing bots in various sci-fi classics. However, science fiction has become science fact as AI has made its way into our lives already — even if it’s not as fancy as we see in the movies. We are surrounded by devices, processes, and apps that are driven by AI, and the technology continues to improve our lives as it becomes more sophisticated.
Here are the 5 AIs we can’t live without — and you probably can’t either.
The name Siri has become synonymous with a pocket AI that’s easily accessible from any Apple device. Initially launched as a means of accepting voice input for various commands on the iPhone, Siri eventually became fully integrated into both iOS and macOS. “She” is capable of working with all native apps, as well as some third-party apps, to help users manage their calendar, send messages, do web searches, and much more. Siri is also known for her dry, witty humor, and users have discovered certain “Easter eggs” that produce hilarious responses from Siri.
Amazon’s competitor to Siri, Alexa, is a bit more focused on streamlining one’s home experience. Alexa works by learning “skills” that manage a range of apps and appliances. Users can ask Alexa to play music or movies, turn lights off or on, or get the weather forecast. Alexa started on the Amazon Echo, a smart speaker that accepted voice input, and is now also available on Amazon Fire devices. Because Alexa can interface with so many third-party apps, she’s a great way of unifying your digital experience.
You may not think of Netflix as an AI, and the platform itself is not one. However, Netflix heavily uses predictive learning and data science to bring each viewer a unique user interface. Netflix refined its data approach to create a customizable experience that encourages viewers to keep watching even after their current program has ended. The company has successfully used AI to boost customer retention by creating a platform that’s famously hard to escape.
Both Uber and Lyft use machine learning to provide both drivers and riders with accurate ETAs and rates. Previously, the companies implemented surge pricing to accommodate what they believed were busier times of day. Now, with the sophistication of the data analysis that’s pumped into ride calculations, the algorithms permit riders to get the best price for the time and distance they’re traveling. AI also helps find optimal routes and ideal pickup locations so that both drivers and riders have an efficient, streamlined experience.
Okay, maybe you can live without owning a drone yourself…but drones have become a key part of many people’s lives. Whether you’re enjoying aerial photography or getting packages delivered by Amazon, you’re probably benefitting from drones. These lightweight devices can be equipped with cameras, rigs, and more, but the internal AI is what really makes them tick. With increasingly sophisticated machine learning algorithms, drones can anticipate various scenarios and adjust to variable flying conditions to ensure consistent, efficient delivery, photography, videography, surveillance, and many other services.
Years ago, people imagined that by the year 2020, we’d all have personal robots to take care of our homes and interactive computer systems to manage our work, education, and more. Artificial intelligence may not take the shape we envisioned (yet), but it is still a crucial part of modern conveniences and our experience as homemakers, customers, and consumers. And with ever-improving AI technology, the future holds a lot of potential for a fully automated lifestyle!