Until now, having some form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help you manage your life was something that only happened in the movies. Now, having a ‘robot’ in your home or workplace is a very real concept and will prove to become a very efficient assistant in getting stuff done.
With Google Home and Amazon Echo soon to be more readily available in Australia and New Zealand, voice activation in the home is becoming less of a space-age concept and more of a new-age way of doing things. Both the Home and the Echo sit happily into the corner of the room blending in to the décor like an expensive air freshener, their raison d’etre being nothing more than to make your life sweeter. They are there to make you happy and they do so by gladly ordering you products, setting timers, turning appliances on and off, blasting music, telling the time, playing games with the kids and quickly becoming a fun AI addition to the tech-savvy household.
In the workplace, however, AI is making waves in a different way. Its less about the traditional chatbot customer service pop up and more about using jaw-dropping, game-changing technology to help make your work day more efficient.
Driving businesses forward into this brave new world is Adobe, with its launch of Sensei. Currently being added to software applications for creating and publishing documents, running marketing campaigns and analyzing data, Sensei is bringing together AI and machine learning, a subset of AI that pores over tons of data to detect patterns. Once the pattern is recognised, results are presented in a visual way.
Described by Adobe’s chief technology officer, Abhay Parasnis, as a ‘unified framework’ or set of services to be delivered across its products where applicable, Sensei is there to make your work life much easier. “In documents today, the state of the art is searching based on file or author names,” said Parasnis in an interview with Fortune magazine. “We have services in Sensei that let you ask a simple question to, for example, find all the whitepapers with content similar to what you're currently writing.”
For companies with asset libraries of thousands of images, the job of tagging each picture is daunting. With an AI assistant, however, a job that might take two weeks can be done in an hour.
Competing with Sensei is IBM’s Watson. Set to turn the world on its head with its ability to compute data, IBM Watson takes a cognitive approach to computing. By absorbing data, both structured and unstructured, Watson is there to produce answers.
To learn about a subject, IBM Watson is fed with a huge amount of existing data, and then is trained by experts who supply it with paired questions and answers in order to teach it how to interpret the data it has absorbed. Then, when it is asked a question without a paired answer, it applies its understanding to generate thousands of possible answers and rank them according to how well its information supports them. The more it answers, the better it understands.
Artificially intelligent bots, whether voice assistants for household tasks or within business software, can crunch data and show patterns humans couldn’t possibly have fathomed so quickly. The technology companies developing and marketing AI assistants are being careful to point out that they’re just that: assistants. While it’s likely that fewer human workers will be needed in certain roles because of how efficient AI can complete tasks, companies such as Adobe and IBM are positioning their AI bots as friends to augment how we work, rather than replace us.