Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a series of systems, developments and techniques that enable machines to calculate actions and data sets. It is a constellation of many different technologies that work together to enable machines to sense, understand, act, and learn at a human intelligence level. AI systems are becoming increasingly complex as they are used in more and more areas of our lives to create forecasts and prediction models.

Popular search engines now make recommendations based on the text users enter. The search engine uses AI to predict what they are trying to find to give them better information. When one uses maps apps on their phone to navigate, AI reads numerous data points and provides the user with updated traffic information in real time. Statistical machine translation methods are used to find patterns in billions of words of translated text, such as United Nations books and records, and then applies these patterns to new translations.

Several companies are using technological advancements in Machine Learning (ML), natural language processing and other forms of AI to make relevant and immediate recommendations for their customers. Modern technologies based on ML and AI are being adopted by the robotics industry to develop robots that can work autonomously and overcome all the challenges they face on the move.

Many see AI as increasing human capacity, but some predict the opposite: that as people become increasingly dependent on machine-controlled networks, their ability to think for themselves will be undermined

By prioritising technology solutions that enable them to harness the power of AI, companies can instantly provide potential buyers with bespoke content and relevant information about them in a virtual world. Human concierges wearing augmented reality (AR) headsets that tell them what customers want before they ask are already a reality.

One company that has succeeded in this approach is a renowned tailor, who uses AI in partnership with human stylists to select clothes for his customers. In fact, it has been found that most people accept AI recommendations when it works in partnership with humans.

While Hollywood films and science-fiction novels often portray AI as humanlike robots conquering the world, the current evolution of AI technology is not scary, but intelligent. Given the scepticism of leaders in modern AI research and the diverse nature of modern narrow AI systems, there is little cause to worry that general artificial intelligence will disrupt society anytime soon.

Many see AI as increasing human capacity, but some predict the opposite: that as people become increasingly dependent on machine-controlled networks, their ability to think for themselves, act independently of automated systems, and interact with one another will be undermined.

As we gather more and more data, ML tools have improved. This ability to process rapid, enormous amounts of data, refine information and find connections is causing AI technology to proliferate. Scientists are using AI to manage data-intensive terrain, refine climate science, make more accurate predictions, and enable society and nature to adapt to the future.

Analysts expect people to become increasingly reliant on connected AI and increasingly complex digital systems. Nevertheless, if we implement these systems wisely, we can continue the process of improving everyday life with positive results.

This article was prepared by collating various publicly available online sources.

Claude Calleja, Executive, eSkills Malta Foundation

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