Because We Can: The Necessity and Utility of AI in Today’s World

When people question AI the first thing they ask is never how, but instead why. In most cases the “why” question is simply answered with “because we can”. Humans usually have this tendency to solve a problem only when it occurs in their chosen path. What AI innovators are trying to do is implement AI into places where it isn’t needed, but is still greatly beneficial. This mind set is what causes disruption in the technology markets. Companies like Samsung, Apple, and google are leaders in the innovation of making things that we don’t NEED, but we still find to be convenient for us (society).

Recently Google produced a new service call Google Trips. The app based server will serve as a planner/travel guide for tourists. The app will organize plane tickets, hotel reservations, and will provide insight to new areas that the users have never been before. The app uses independent data bases to provide information about the area that the user would originally have to look up on their own. This from of AI provides a service that some consumers believe to be unnecessary. Some other apps such as Triplt are innovators this new market for easy trip planning.

Have you ever been driving around in your electric car and wondered where a charging station could be? Well now, thanks to the AI provided by Recargo, you can find a charging station in your area. Now can’t you just look that up on your own? Of course you can. Recargo uses AI to combine google street views with information from the US department of Energy. When using the app you can a charging station near you, but with google street streaming through the app you can also see the street view of the charger. Now if the charger is behind a building or down a poorly lit street you can still find it! For those special people who drive a fully electric car life just became a lot easier. No longer will they spend an extra 5 min driving around a lot to find a charging station that their phones says they have arrived at.

 

The final example of unnecessary thinking machines is one of Facebooks project in relation to FAIR (Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research). When looking at a photograph what do you do? You pick out certain things in the picture and make up an idea of what it represents. That is a drawn out description of a process that happens usually in a nanosecond. What Facebook is working on is a system that recognizes patterns in image pixels to determine what is being seen in the image.

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This technology will be able to automatically tag items from what it recognizes in the picture. In the pictures above you would recognize and tag man, picture, camera, field, etc. The struggle of tagging an image will be a thing of the past with this new technology being rolled out by Facebook. Not only would this technology help identifying tags, but it will make storing and looking up photos easier now that they can all be tagged. In the future this technology could also describe a pictures details to a blind man. Now are either of those things totally necessary? Not really. Will our lives be better with this technology? Yes…..slightly. The term “because we can” gets a bad rap and comes off quite entitled, when in reality, it actually is a phrase that makes life easier one step at a time. When you begin to experience it yourself, then you can admire AI for what it provides and is capable of.

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