There is no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) has come to stay. But what is AI and what can this technology be used for?
AI+ is an annual international conference about the topic “applied artificial intelligence and sustainability”. The digital conference was held for the first time in September 2020 and is intended to be an annual event.
The purpose of this conference is to give Norwegian and international environments a place to share competence and information within the field of AI. The overall goal is to create societal and business development.
At the conference, problem keepers and problem solvers will be gathered to drive forward the potential of AI across science, tech, and business.
What is AI Technology?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability for computers to simulate human intelligence. AI technology can be explained as computers being able to find solutions to tasks without getting any instructions for how to solve them. It is about how systems can understand obtained data, and based on this information perform an action where the purpose is to achieve a specific goal.
Simply put, AI is an “intelligent” system that is capable of solving problems and at the same time learn from its own mistakes and experiences. AI covers all intelligent systems and can be divided into rule-based AI (expert models) and data-driven models (machine learning).
Machine learning is what most of us think of when we are talking about AI technology. This is a system that learns. Simply explained it means that the program starts from scratch with no knowledge and over time it learns through processing data and taking actions - like we humans do when we learn something that requires practice, like playing the guitar.
Machine learning consists of several applications, from simple programs in a smartphone to self-driving cars. An example of machine learning is search engines that suggest keywords based on data from past search terms and other user interactions.
Neural Networks and Deep Learning
An important and complicated part of machine learning is neural networks, which mimic how the human brain works. The brain consists of neurons that are connected by synapses. Each neuron does a simple calculation of the signals that the neuron receives. When this calculation reaches a certain level, the neuron sends a signal to all other neurons it is connected to.
Deep learning makes it possible to build more complex models. It is a learning process where the point is to train artificial neural networks. These neural networks are used as a data structure inspired by the human brain and, like the brain, they consist of processing devices called neurons that are connected by synapses.
A neural network consists of:
A data layer
One or more hidden layers of neurons and synapses
One layer with results
If a neural network consists of more than one hidden layer it is considered to be deep learning. This can be used for developing pharmaceuticals, recommendation systems like movie recommendations, processing of medical pictures, and so on.
The Beginning of AI
In 1950, the foundation of AI as a research field was published by Alan Turing. He was a mathematician and a computer pioneer. Turing wanted to see if it was possible to create an intelligent system.
To determine whether a machine is intelligent or not, Turing created the Turing test. An objective person starts a written dialogue with another person and a computer. If the person cannot tell which one is the computer, it is considered to be “intelligent”.
So far, no machine has passed the test. According to Dataconomy.com, we have to understand how our brain works on an algorithmic level to further advance in AI technology.
What can AI be used for
Today, artificial intelligence has become a part of our everyday life. It can be used in different industries and sectors to perform a wide range of tasks. Examples of what AI might do is:
Analysis and processing data
Marketing and sales automation
Forecasts and planning
Share of knowledge
Marketing: In marketing, AI technology can be used for programmatic advertising. Another example is Google’s keyword recommendation or recommended movies on Netflix.
Health: Within the health sector, AI can be used to interpret medical images, forecast diseases like dementia, and diagnose rare diseases.
Finance: Artificial intelligence is also highly relevant within the financial sector. By using AI, companies can find and search for patterns and deviations in for example transactions. That way, they can discover fraud and other illegal activities.
Pros and Cons with AI
There are a lot of positive sides related to AI. Here we have listed a few benefits of using this kind of technology:
Automation of simple and repeating tasks, allowing employees to spend more time on other tasks.
Robots that are based on AI do not need breaks like humans do, which means a big amount of work can be done cheaper and more efficiently.
Pitfalls with AI Technology
When a machine takes over an employee’s task, this person can spend their time on other, more important tasks. That is great. But some worry that employees will be replaced with machines all together and lose their jobs, creating an even tougher labor market.
The ethical perspective is also a concern with this kind of technology. To complete a task, the AI system requires a set of data. Questions we might ask ourselves are: What kind of information is needed and how is it used by the system? An example of this might be a trial where discriminating information like ethnicity or income can unfairly influence the outcome.
One of the biggest challenges with AI is that humans do not always understand how the computers make their decisions. Even the developers can find it difficult to understand how the system reached the different results. This is called the black box.
The Black Box
The black box refers to the mechanisms and inputs behind AI technology that is not visible for the user. The black box is an essential part of the research and development of artificial intelligence.
The more data a system process, the more precise it gets. But it also gets more complex to understand. This might become a problem at hospitals, where tiny mistakes can have fatal consequences.
AI in the Future
There is no doubt that artificial intelligence already plays a central part in our daily lives, and that it will stay a part of technology and science in the future. AI is constantly under development, and with the Norwegian government’s strategy for AI in place, we can expect an increased usage of this type of technology in different parts of our society.
Regardless of how AI technology is used in the future, it is clear that it is beneficial for our society. However, it is important to remember that new technology is not necessarily the answer to everything, and that there are disadvantages of using this kind of technology.
Do You Wish to Learn More About AI?
If you want to learn more about artificial intelligence, you can participate in the annual conference AI+. The international conference addresses important and exciting topics about applied AI. The goal is to give Norwegian and international environments a place to share competence, inspiration and information about AI, innovation, computer-driven economy, and digital systems.