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In January 2023, ChatGPT, OpenAI’s now ubiquitous chatbot, reached 100 million monthly active users, surpassing TikTok by seven months as the fastest platform to reach this milestone.
The ubiquitous presence and popularity of the chatbot has renewed a decades-long debate about the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI).
Google search trends for AI have skyrocketed since the service launched, with companies racing to grab domains from Anguilla, a population of 15,000, seeking to benefit from its .ai domain registration.
At the same time, investors are pouring money into generative AI startups, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and capitalize on this technology to find the next big tech breakthrough. As an artificial intelligence investor recently stated in New York Times“We are in this phase of the market where it is a question, for example, of letting 1,000 flowers bloom.”
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Today, the hype cycle is so hot that even companies without legitimate AI credentials are trying to match the technology, prompting the Federal Trade Commission to issue a terse warning to companies: “If you think you can get away with baseless claims that your product is AI-enabled, think again.
The hype cycle can be so ridiculous that Axios reporter Felix Salmon recently explained, “When a company starts talking loudly about its AI capabilities, the first question should always be, ‘Why is this company does it speak loudly of its AI capabilities?
Granted, this isn’t the first rodeo for AI speculation. The technology is over half a century old, and it has gone through many boom and bust cycles that have resulted in significant technological advances, but still haven’t lived up to the hype.
In other words, developing repeatable, scalable, and salable AI products and services has always been difficult and often prohibitively expensive. However, by looking at how AI is already having the most significant impact, we can paint a clearer and perhaps more accurate picture of what it will look like in the future.
Here are three ways AI is impacting our world today, which can provide a useful roadmap for how it could actually change the world tomorrow.
1. Help people make better decisions
In our data-saturated digital world, AI helps people make better decisions. It can sift through billions of data points, synthesize key insights, and empower people to make crucial decisions.
In this way, AI is a tool to empower people, sharpen their intuition, and enable them to make more informed decisions. It is not a substitute for human discernment, but a powerful aid that enhances our ability to make better choices in the real world.
Take the security industry as an example.
It is difficult to find a physical space that is not monitored by at least one camera. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that installed surveillance cameras increased by 50% between 2015 and 2018, surpassing 70 million cameras by the end of the decade. Monitoring footage is an entirely different story, and tasking humans with watching endless uninteresting camera feeds is a recipe for boredom and inattention.
This is where the AI comes in, acting as a vigilant and tireless sentinel. By filtering out the mundane, such as the rustling of trees or passing cars, the AI focuses on the most relevant information. He’s an expert at detecting anomalies, like unexpected activity in a deserted parking lot. Even so, there is a significant difference between identification and discernment.
This is where human judgment comes in. Security personnel or other trained experts can review camera footage and assess and deal with any suspicious behavior accordingly. In this tandem of artificial intelligence and human expertise, we are witnessing the birth of a complete and effective security system, benefiting from the advantages of both worlds.
Simply put, AI is an enabler, enabling more effective and efficient decision-making in a myriad of areas. From interpreting revenue reports to bolstering security intelligence, AI amplifies our judgment, but never replaces it.
2. Analyze risks to enable better security solutions
Growing concerns about cybersecurity and physical security threats have led many people and businesses to prioritize their security. AI plays a vital role in improving physical and cyber protection by assessing risk and streamlining user experiences, making everyone safer.
One example is the growing adoption by enterprises of two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect user accounts and network access. Although this may cause inconvenience, it greatly enhances the security of all users. Banks have also implemented 2FA for more secure transactions.
Consumers find this incredibly annoying and resent the added friction it imposes on their online experiences. AI allows us to move beyond basic 2FA by introducing more advanced authentication methods that don’t sacrifice user experience.
This principle also applies to physical security. For example, fans attending sporting events often face long lines and security checks when entering venues, which can negatively impact their overall experience. Sites are therefore using AI-based security solutions to better serve and protect their customers.
Regardless of the scenario, AI enables companies to analyze risks to implement better security solutions that increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
3. Personalize and improve consumer experiences
A compelling customer experience is key to long-term business success. More than half of consumers say they will abandon a brand after just one bad customer experience.
The remarkable potential of AI to drive deeply personalized and enhanced customer experiences across various industries is undeniably transformative. By evaluating user data, preferences and behaviors, AI allows digital platforms to offer recommendations, services and products tailored to individual needs and preferences.
The entertainment industry is already experiencing a revolution thanks to AI-based personalization. Streaming platforms such as Netflix and Spotify use artificial intelligence algorithms to examine user preferences, viewing history and listening habits, create personalized playlists or movie suggestions.
This approach is quickly becoming pervasive across industries as it improves user engagement and satisfaction, making it more likely that they will continue to use the service and recommend it to others.
Real-world AI matters most
The transformative power of AI is evident in its ability to reshape industries and improve various aspects of our daily lives.
From empowering people to make better decisions, to delivering advanced security solutions, and delivering personalized customer experiences, AI has proven its potential to bring game-changing advancements.
The AI hype cycle is far from over. However, as we contemplate the incredible advancements in technology, we can look to existing use cases and their implications to better understand its future impact and potential.
Peter Evans is CEO of Xtract One Technologies.
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