In a previous post, I wrote about the future of AI technology and how it is starting to become integrated in our everyday lives. In this post, I explain how innovative car companies such as Tesla, have integrated AI into their vehicles for improved safety. Not only is the technology for these self-driving cars innovative, but it also has the ability to teach itself how to drive better and safer. These cars are on a shared network constantly becoming better, “The whole Tesla fleet operates as a network. When one car learns something, they all learn it.” said Musk. There are other examples of machine learning such as an AI that taught itself how to be a better chess player, although not as life changing as a world with fewer fatal car accidents, what follows is still impressive. AlphaZero was a program built to play chess, but also had the ability to learn as it played. In 4 hours of the program playing chess it was able to beat the world champion chess program, Stockfish 8. It was also able to learn and dominate a completely different Japanese style of chess called Shogi, without ever having been programed to play this version. Both Tesla’s AI and AlphaZero lead to an interesting outlook for our future with AI. Throughout history humans have created technological advancements that changed the world. The creation of planes, railroads, the first computers, and the telephone are just some examples of the many creations that changed how we advance as a species. However, for the first time the technology we are creating can teach itself to be better. What does this mean for our future relationship with this technology? More than 43 million U.S. adults own a smart speaker (recently updated to ~47.3 million), with Amazon’s Alexa being in the lead, according to NPR and Edison research. This is predicted to increase substantially over the next two years. Additionally, a reported 46% of American’s use digital voice assistants, most of that usage via their smart phones (42%), as presented below. That being said, about half of the population is at least somewhat reliant on a digital voice assistant to make their lives easier. As these assistants become better, smarter and more-able I predict an increase in overall usage from the average American consumer. The road ahead for smart assistants is projected to be completely integrated into the user’s lives with schedule planning, grocery shopping, transportation and more. If these personal assistants use similar learning techniques as presented with Tesla and with AlphaZero, their abilities will continue to grow and our codependence with them will strengthen. I predict we will grow towards a more codependent relationship with smart assistants, and AI in its various forms as it establishes itself more prominently in cars, phones, computers, and various other technologies.
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