Is artificial intelligence (AI) part of the future? Statista shows that in 2021 alone, $93.5 Billion was invested into artificial intelligence globally. Billions in cash and rapid technological breakthroughs give us a future where AI seems plausible. Superintelligence may or may not happen, depending on which expert you ask. But today, we're using some form of artificial intelligence to power our daily tasks.
Smartphones have AI that helps with routines, search, and taking photos. Vehicles also come equipped with a form of AI that assists with parking, collisions, pedestrians, and even cruise control. Despite the fears about artificial intelligence taking over humankind or simply not happening, there is one takeaway from all this: the technology has many benefits and near-endless applications.
But what exactly are the benefits of artificial intelligence in the current year? And what, if any, are the disadvantages?
What is Artificial Intelligence? [Definition]
From Cortana to autonomous vehicles, the rapid progress of AI development is showing no signs of slowing down. Artificial intelligence can encompass nearly anything from search engine algorithms to robotics.
Here's a more detailed definition of AI: Artificial intelligence (AI) is an interdisciplinary branch of computer science that builds smart machines. These machines are capable of performing complex tasks, even ones that require human intelligence. AI uses a variety of approaches, such as deep learning and machine learning, to make jobs more natural to do. The vast improvement of these two capabilities has caused a paradigm shift in all sectors of the technology industry.
There are two types of artificial intelligence: narrow AI (weak AI), and general AI (AGI or strong AI).
1. Narrow Artificial Intelligence
This type of AI is what everyone is using today. The design parameter for narrow AI is that it can only perform a "specific small task." For instance, facial recognition software is "only" used to identify faces, not cars or other objects. This type of AI can outperform humans at specific tasks such as chess, but nothing else.
2. General Artificial Intelligence
General AI (AGI) is what every researcher is aiming to create. While narrow AI deals with specific tasks, AGI has a much broader reach. This type of artificial intelligence will blow humans out of the water when it comes to cognitive tasks. Think of androids or robots that look and act human, but are smarter, faster, and stronger.
Now that we know a little bit more about what it is, let’s dive into the pros and cons of artificial intelligence.
What Are the Benefits of Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence is capable of working 24/7 with no downtime. This alone is a significant improvement over humans, who need time to rest, eat, and sleep. Artificial Intelligence can cover for humans when they need time off. AI can also be deployed globally and through vast markets, making it possible to employ smart solutions everywhere.
The technology has countless benefits, but what exactly are the positive effects of artificial intelligence?
1. Artificial Intelligence Helps Solve Complex Problems
All the focus businesses have been putting on the development of AI along with all the investments thrust into the technology has helped bring significant advancements. Now, machine and deep learning models help AI solve some complex problems.
For example, some business sectors now use artificial intelligence to do things like detect fraud or create personalized interactions with customers. In many cases, customers can have their issues resolved without them ever having to speak with a human!
2. AI Can Help Improve Education Worldwide
Everyone learns in their preferred method and at their own pace. The current educational systems and methods in place work, but not for everyone. Current education is currently incapable of meeting everyone’s specific needs so students can learn in the exact best way for them. AI benefits education in this regard.
Artificial intelligence can help determine a student’s learning style. It can also help to prepare personalized curricula or lesson plans that work.
This particular application and advantage of AI is still being explored, but we have no doubt that advances will be made in the near future. With AI, quality education can become possible worldwide.
3. Artificial Intelligence Brings About Automation
One of the biggest advantages of AI is automation. According to IBM, automation is the application of programs, technology, or robotics that achieves outcomes with minimal human input. Automation has had major impacts on industries like transportation and communications. It also helps improve the service and computer product industries.
Automation takes away many of the repetitive and tedious tasks that can often cause human error or result in injury. It can lead to increased productivity and higher production rates thanks to increased efficiency. With automation, work is performed faster and more safely while using raw materials more efficiently.
The end result is that artificial intelligence can bring about business efficiency, increased output, reduced lead times, improved product quality, and improved workplace (and product) safety.
You can see an example of automation in a company’s customer support setups. In many cases, a chatbot or AI handles many customers’ complaints, reducing the need for manpower such as customer service representatives.
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4. AI Can Help Humans Make Smarter and Faster Decisions
Human emotion and thought have the tendency to affect decision-making in many ways. Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, runs on pure logic and data — no emotions involved whatsoever. The result is another one of the advantages of artificial intelligence: AI can help humans make smarter decisions, faster.
Artificial intelligence can help coordinate data delivery and develop consistency. It is also capable of analyzing the data, noticing trends, providing forecasts, and quantifying risks and uncertainties. Best of all, artificial intelligence is generally unbiased (if it is created that way). An AI’s end report can help the company executives and leaders make the best decisions for their organization.
You can see this in action in the world of finance and trading. Nowadays, algorithmic trading has become the norm, helping humans make smarter decisions as to what stocks to buy or sell and when.
5. Artificial Intelligence Can Minimize Errors
Human error is, and always will be, something that will happen at some point or another — no matter how careful anyone may be. However, with the help of artificial intelligence, human error can be minimized and in some cases, eliminated.
For example, automation tools can take care of many data entry or processing jobs, making backend systems run more smoothly since data processing mistakes are largely eliminated.
6. AI Helps With Research and Data Analysis
One of the major benefits of AI is how helpful it can be for research and data analysis. Any industry can use artificial intelligence to help with data analysis, but it comes as no surprise that the field that benefits most is that of science. The use of artificial intelligence in a research setting can help scientists spot trends and results in data that could’ve otherwise been impossible to notice. AI helps not just to extract and analyze data, but also to detect any patterns and predict what may happen.
For example, artificial intelligence has been used in human genome research for quite some time. In such research, artificial intelligence is used to predict shapes that protein structures can acquire. AI is then used to predict how these protein structures affect the human body. Through this AI-assisted research, scientists are able to improve medical diagnosis procedures and develop groundbreaking new treatments.
7. Artificial Intelligence Can Help Enhance Customers’ Experience
Have you ever needed to get in touch with a company only to be met with a chatbot ready to address your every concern? It can be frustrating, especially if the company is using a primitive or “cheap” version of AI that essentially functions as an autoresponder.
However, there is no doubt that artificial intelligence is getting smarter and better — some chatbots can help solve customer concerns quickly. In situations like these, a customer’s concerns are addressed quickly, keeping them happy. On the other hand, a business can require fewer customer service representatives, since the AI will only escalate tickets that require human intervention.
Another example of an AI-assisted customer experience is when a company makes it easier for a customer to reorder. For example, a customer orders a consumable product. It takes them a certain amount of time to use it up, then they reorder. The company will then recall what a customer ordered and how often, so that they can send a gentle e-mail reminder (or mobile push notification) to let them know when it’s about time to reorder again.
8. AI Can Help Advance the Field of Medicine
We’ve already discussed how AI can help in research and data analysis and how it has resulted in advances in the medical field. Indeed, one of the best artificial intelligence benefits to society is how AI can help make advances in the medical and healthcare sector.
Examples of these advances are patient monitoring technology that allows for remote care and diagnosis without a patient having to visit the hospital. This technology is still being explored, but wearables such as the Fitbit and the Apple Watch are going in that direction. Fitbit, which was acquired by Google in 2021, is starting to explore features like health metrics and trends, informing users of their baseline so they can notice anomalies.
Deep learning AI algorithms are being explored for their potential capacity to help with an early cancer diagnosis. An early cancer diagnosis is often vital for a good prognosis.
9. Artificial Intelligence Has a Place in the Criminal Justice System
Today, profilers, behavioral psychologists, and forensic psychologists provide insight into criminal behaviors and motivations. However, artificial intelligence has also started finding its place in the criminal justice system. When created in an unbiased manner, artificial intelligence can process and analyze data and detect patterns that humans may otherwise miss. AI’s predictive nature has led to many areas of law enforcement and criminal justice adopting its use, such as in the case of algorithmic risk assessments.
It’s worth mentioning that AI has a long way to go for its use to be “perfected” in law enforcement. It is crucial that the AI employed in this use is unbiased, as human lives are at stake. This is especially so considering that in some jurisdictions, AI is now being used to assist with determining matters of bail, criminal sentencing, and parole.
10. AI Can Help Preserve the Environment
Another one of the pros of artificial intelligence is that it can help in environmental preservation and conservation. Combined with the field of robotics, artificial intelligence has the potential to help improve recycling systems worldwide — particularly by sorting recyclables better.
AI can also help reduce the effects of climate change by helping in the management of renewable energy sources (maximizing efficiency), forecasting the demand for energy, and improving agricultural practices worldwide.
11. Artificial Intelligence Can Save Lives
One of the best artificial intelligence advantages is that it has the potential to help save lives. It can do so by helping to more accurately predict natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Early detection can help local governments decide whether to evacuate people out of the danger zones. AI has even been put to use in helping to determine when and where earthquake aftershocks can strike.
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What Are the Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence?
There are two sides to every coin. Naturally, there are pros to artificial intelligence. But, do you know the cons of artificial intelligence? Let’s discuss them below.
1. Artificial Intelligence Is Expensive to Create
Developing artificial intelligence is not cheap. It requires technology — hardware and software — that needs constant updating to stay effective and relevant. AI is very complex and requires maintenance, incurring ongoing costs beyond its initial creation.
2. Humans May Get Lazy
With AI doing most of the work, humans may get lazy — this is one of the biggest arguments against the global adoption of AI. It can cause a butterfly effect where humans may not bother with learning certain things and processes since AI already does the job. The result can mean lost art, knowledge, and so on — and future generations that may become lazy and complacent.
3. Humans May Lose Their Jobs
One of the biggest pros and cons of AI is automation. Just as automation can streamline processes, increase output, and reduce costs, it may also result in humans losing their jobs in some industries. When artificial intelligence takes over repetitive and/or tedious work, it could lead to the realization that a job is unnecessary and the person previously doing that work could lose their employment.
AI can improve productivity, make lives easier, and even improve safety and potentially save lives.
Even today, AI already makes a huge difference in human routines. You’re probably using some form of artificial intelligence to make your life easier every day without even realizing it!
Artificial intelligence as a technology has a long way to go, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not already well within the mainstream. And with so many people choosing to invest in its development, it’s only a matter of time before humankind reaches more breakthroughs in the technology.
We hope that this article on the benefits of artificial intelligence has helped you get a better idea of this technology. Are you a proponent of AI and its benefits or worried about the risks? Leave a comment and let us know.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can AI improve our lives?
Artificial intelligence provides plenty of benefits to our day-to-day lives. In the current state of the world, and with today's existing technology, we already see the improvements that AI technology has brought. Right now, we have home assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa making things easier at home. Our phones unlock with facial ID/recognition, which is a “simple” AI. The biggest advantages of AI in daily life are automation, improved productivity, safety benefits, and more.
2. How does AI benefit the economy?
Artificial intelligence can help businesses improve and streamline their processes, whether for office productivity or for production. The technology can also help with keeping employees safe and preventing injuries, making faster and smarter business decisions, and creating business contingencies to keep things going even during unexpected events. With AI, businesses can work smarter and improve the quality of their products and services.
3. What is the importance of artificial intelligence in everyday life?
There are many artificial intelligence benefits that impact everyday life. Automation on its own is already an excellent benefit. But on top of that, other industries have already started employing the use of AI. The medical field, for example, is exploring the option of using artificial intelligence for improved diagnoses of diseases and ailments. AI can also benefit businesses and the economy. AI also helps predict weather and natural disasters more accurately.
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