i3 - September/October 2019 - 31

hen Elon Musk said he wanted to implant chips in
human brains to "achieve a symbiosis with artificial
intelligence," the soundbite caused both AI champions
and critics to sit up and take notice. Would this be the
next step toward computers taking over the human
brain? Naturally, the conspiracy theories flourished. But in reality, Musk's proposed Neuralink could help patients with serious brain injuries as early as next year.
"This is something most people don't understand yet," Musk said at the press
event. Though he was referring to the brain chips themselves, he might as well have
been describing the frontier of AI, a technological landscape that has already
changed the way we live and work through everything from voice-assisted technology and chatbots to GPS mapping, e-tailing and beta tests of self-driving vehicles.
AI is on the tip of virtually every industry leader's tongue. As such, cutting
through the hype, misconceptions and smoldering fear of the unknown is
critical if AI technology is going to flourish. Does this mean robots will be
taking over? Or that autonomous vehicles are about to go rogue? Hardly.
AI's greatest potential lies in the more subtle ways creators can harness its
power to improve upon already established goals across a wide spectrum of
industry. It's the way someone consults with a therapist via smartphone or gets
tested at a hospital for disease. It's how we travel from one location to the next,
make and ship products and even shop. It's how we create art and music, and
how we solve complex scientific puzzles that could treat the biggest threats to
humanity like disease and climate change. Bottom line: If someone is using a
smartphone, they are likely already using AI even if they don't realize it yet.

Images Etc./Getty Images

PRACTICAL APPS AND ETHICS

"The use of technology doesn't always catch up quickly with the mindset of
society," explains Kyle Martinowich, vice president of sales at Clarifai, an AI
solutions company in New York City that specializes in computer vision and
machine learning. Clarifai is essentially helping companies work through the
digital transformation. It provides a glimpse into what the future of AI might
realistically hold across many business segments, like creating computer
vision models that ultimately augment human behavior, only in smarter, faster
and far more accurate ways than we might imagine.
According to CTA's research, AI is growing in several key areas: security,
content creation and curation, health care, digital assistants, self-driving
vehicles and law enforcement.
There's a strong uptick, according to CTA, of AI-powered devices and services by consumers in the U.S. that range from mature applications that have

R OFAI
BY NATALIE HOPE MCDONALD

i3_0919_FEATURE_PowerOfAI.indd 31

existed for years - such as social networks,
GPS navigation apps and smart email features - to next-generation products like
smart speakers/digital assistants, wearables
and recommendation engines. In fact, it's
predicted that as more smartphone owners
upgrade to newer handsets, use of facial
recognition-based security and camera/
photo features will continue to gain traction
despite concerns over privacy and bias issues.
But Martinowich says misinformation about
facial recognition could prevent AI apps from
moving forward in useful ways. "There is a rush
to suppress facial recognition," he says, though
he believes there should actually be "a higher
level of acceptance of it. We need to create
laws and regulations," adding that bias
glitches can and should be rectified.
There's a lot resting on AI's success.
According to Google research, for example, the
technology is likely to help overcome many
cognitive and physical challenges, as well as
grow productivity by almost half. According to
a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers,
global GDP will also increase by as much as
$15.7 trillion by 2030 thanks, in part, to
advances in AI happening right now.

THE DECADE OF AI

At Chatterblast, an online strategy and social
media company in Philadelphia, AI tools
have become an integral part of many client
packages. "We've set up bots for quick customer service and sponsor giveaways for our
live event and experiential clients," says
Giuseppe Mineo, Chatterblast's ads and analytics manager. "These engagements are
designed to promote fan engagement and
leads for both the client and sponsors."
Bots, or autonomous programs that can
interact with computer systems or users, are
becoming increasingly common for running
automated tasks online. Typically, these bots
perform tasks that are fairly simple and repetitive, but at a much faster pace than a human.
For Chatterblast's purposes, the bots fulfilled expectations, "mainly due to keeping
things simple and focusing on creating a
strong user-experience," says Mineo.
For one of his client's events, for example,
he prompted users to answer three questions

9/9/19 7:37 PM



i3 - September/October 2019

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