The narrative around AI has transformed over the past year. Thanks to generative AI, there is now a much bigger focus on how AI is impacting our daily lives. Services such as ChatGPT are changing the way we access information and get work done. AI image generators such as Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2 are opening up new avenues for creativity. Name an industry and there’s probably a generative AI tool for it — or there will be in a few years.
The point is that AI — whether it’s generative AI, adaptive AI, or another form — is changing the world as we know it. Sure, there is ample debate about the negative effects of AI. However, in honor of Artificial Intelligence Appreciation Day (July 16), I wanted to shine a light on a few areas where AI is often underappreciated.
To help users stay engaged, AI-generated captions are now the norm on platforms such as YouTube and TikTok. Captions are a huge help for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, neurodivergent, or not proficient in the language spoken on the video. Plus, a lot of people simply enjoy following along with captions. There are even AI tools that can dub your voice in another language. These dubbing services allow content creators to publish content in multiple languages and reach a wider audience. Translations tools are also great when you want to interact with someone who speaks a different language, whether you are at home or abroad.
AI-based image recognition is another area with a lot of promise. There are a variety of AI-powered smartphone applications that can help people who are blind or have low vision to navigate unfamiliar spaces and accurately identify objects. Similarly, screen readers can now provide descriptions of images — in addition to voiceovers for text — for a better user experience. These applications are already helping a lot of people, and I expect that AR headsets will unleash many more opportunities for assistive technology. It is up to technology companies and developers to make accessibility a priority.
A lot of people do not think of farming as a particularly tech savvy field. In reality, many farmers are using AI to increase yields and operate more sustainably. Sensors allow farmers to closely monitor environmental conditions, along with moisture and nutrient levels. That way they can make adjustments in real time and minimize the use of water and other resources.
There are also sprayers with computer vision that can differentiate between crops and weeds. If you head out to a farm, you might see an autonomous tractor roaming around. Autonomous trackers are very efficient and give farmers the freedom to focus on more important tasks. AI tools and equipment are not just good for a farmer’s bottom line. Technology advances are critical to feed the growing world population and minimize our impact on the environment.
There is still a lot of distrust about the use of AI in medicine. Pew Research Center found that 60% of Americans are uncomfortable with healthcare providers using AI to recommend a treatment or diagnose a disease. It is important to remember that AI is a collaborative tool for healthcare professionals; not a replacement for them.
Doctors can leverage AI services to identify patterns, flag abnormalities, and anticipate future health conditions. Furthermore, deep learning tools can predict how a patient might respond to a new medication or treatment based on their specific genetic makeup. When doctors have better information, they can make better decisions.
The potential of AI is limitless. We just have to remember to use it responsibly. The tech industry needs to examine AI models for biases and promote transparency whenever possible. Companies really need to focus on building trust in AI, and that will take time. The goal is to create AI tools that empower us all.