By Bogi Szalacsi - Senior Associate - infoNation
In 2018 stories of breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) have led the technology news across the globe. From major corporate players to startups, companies everywhere are seeing opportunities to apply AI related approaches and machine learning to make a difference to our lives.
Amazon, Apple, Google and many of their competitors in the technology, entertainment and retail sectors have made sure AI tooling has now reached the mainstream. Today's toddlers grow up using voice assistants: Alexa, Siri, Cortana and the Google Assistant have become parts of their lives and they navigate through customised recommendations on Netflix like seasoned pros.
However, the 'convenience' use cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Whole industries are being revolutionised by artificial intelligence and despite the media's fear-mongering about 'machines taking over our lives', lives are saved and improved as a result. We picked some of the coolest companies and their products we think have and will continue to make the world a better place:
Corti, the Denmark based artificial intelligence company is out there to save lives. Their product Triage uses deep neural networks to mimic the human brain and is tied up to emergency dispatchers' telephone lines, listens in to the incoming calls and it diagnoses emergencies within seconds.
Corti uses machine learning to analyse the words used to describe the situation, the caller's tone of voice and the background noises. In a Danish study conducted with 150,000 medical emergency calls, Corti successfully diagnosed a heart attack with a 93 percent success rate, versus the 73 percent success rate of human dispatchers. What's even more astonishing, in situations when every second counts, Corti did its magic in an average of 48 seconds, more than half a minute faster than dispatchers without AI help. Multiple EU countries, Singapore, Taiwan and several US emergency response networks are planning to implement Corti in the near future.
2. Nvidia Corporation
Nvidia Corporation in the United States is using machine learning for image analysis in agriculture, healthcare and elsewhere to help maximise productivity and benefit the environment at the same time. Their product analyses thousands of photographs taken by drones flying over farmland to determine where more water or pesticide is needed on the crops. The result? A 90 percent reduction in pesticide use and a 10 percent increase in crop yield. Nvidia's graphics processing units (GPUs) are also assisting radiologists with reviewing medical scans with amazing accuracy and precision, without the factor of human fatigue that leads to errors.
Habito, the UK based online mortgage broker, is working right alongside Uber and Airbnb to revolutionise customer experience in an industry previously made awkward by scattered, unconnected providers, while saving a ton of money for its users.
Whether it's a young couple hoping to start out on the property ladder, or a seasoned homeowner looking for remortgage options, finding the right financial solution used to be a time consuming and stressful affair. Habito, which can claim to be "the world's first artificially intelligent mortgage adviser" offers mortgage search and comparison online, jargon free and most importantly, without the hefty fees of human mortgage brokers.
Habito is not just one of the myriads of comparison sites: by relying on chatbots and natural language processing (NLP), it makes their clients feel completely at ease with "doing business with a machine" and they are a prime example of how financial firms are now leveraging artificial intelligence and NLP to shake up their centuries old industries.
4. Babylon Health
Babylon Health in the UK is using AI and machine learning approaches to transform the way patients get diagnosed, connect to the right care, schedule appointments and get their prescriptions approved. Taking an increasingly large burden off NHS surgeries, Babylon's subscribers can enter symptoms, upload photographs and send text and video messages using mobile devices.
The app synchronizes with the individual's health tracker devices and other apps that monitor sleep, weight, heart rate, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. They claim to have designed their services "around a doctor's brain", but with the everyday user in mind who sometimes might experience challenges describing symptoms and finding the right words.
With natural language processing at the core of their service, Babylon invests millions in artificial intelligence and machine learning and the company boasts "one of the largest structured medical knowledge bases in the world" - dubbed the Babylon Knowledge Graph.
KONE is a hundred year old Finnish company, but they've been repeatedly listed by Forbes as one of the world's most innovative businesses. Their lifts, escalators, autowalks and automatic gates can be counted by the millions and with safety being their very first priority, the engineers at KONE are at the forefront of AI development for their products.
Every new KONE people transporter is fitted with a wireless link connected to sensors that continuously monitor weight, vibration, temperature, door opening times to the milliseconds, pressure and moving parts status. Utilising IBM Watson's IoT platform and other advanced technologies for their 24/7 connected services, the data volume is continuously analysed by software. Without having to wait for an actual breakdown, weak points are identified and problems are predicted, so their engineers can be proactive and not reactive.
If your fears include a falling lift, or an escalator that comes to a sudden stop, you should be reassured that by utilising AI, KONE has reduced customer reports of problems by a whopping 60 per cent.
Whether it relates to health, food, transport or finance, AI related tools and technologies are making the work that goes into informing these decisions a lot easier. One of the most significant challenges is not what to transform with AI, but but how to make sure we do it in a way which is safe, trusted and above all responsible.