12 mind-blowing advances made by AI


It’s important to consider the dishwasher analogy. While dishwashers do offer significant efficiencies, their role in the average household is quite different than what was originally intended. In addition to being dishwashing machines, they provide an out-of-sight staging area for dirty dishes and a higher bar for all-around kitchen cleanliness.

With AI, rather than witnessing a mass elimination of jobs, we will likely see a higher bar – more thorough analysis, more control, and more certainty in the way jobs are performed.

With that in mind, here are some of the mind-blowing advances made by AI over the past year.

1.) Self-taught AI beats doctors at predicting heart attacks
As most doctors will tell you, our tools for predicting a patient’s health are no match for the complexity of the human body. Heart attacks are particularly hard to anticipate. Stephen Weng, an epidemiologist at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom showed that computers capable of teaching themselves perform far better than established medical processes, significantly increasing prediction rates. Once implemented, the new method will save thousands, perhaps even millions of lives a year.

2.) NASA uses A.I. to discover of two new planets
Scanning space is intensely boring work. For this reason, NASA tried a new approach and used machine learning to discover two new planets. Working with old data from the Kepler space telescope, it was able to locate two new additions to our galaxy. This wasn’t the first time researchers applied AI to sift through the massive amount of data NASA’s telescopes collect, but it is a promising example of how neural networks can leverage even some of the weakest signs of distant worlds. Thanks to AI, NASA discovered a whole new planetary system.

3.) AI is learning what makes you cry at the movies
AI is no expert at human emotions, but some visionary filmmakers have found a way to use it to gain insights on how to increase a story’s emotional pull. Through this process they were able to identify musical scores or visual images that help trigger the right feelings at the right time! In the storytelling industry, understanding the cause and effect relationships between stimuli triggers and human reactions is a powerful tool.

4.) Using AI to converts images of food into a list of ingredients
Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed an AI algorithm to analyze food photos and match them with a list of ingredients and recipes. Starting with more than a million annotated recipes from online sites, their neural network sifted through each list of ingredients and a number of images associated with it. In the future, this kind of tool will help people learn to cook, count calories, and track our eating habits.

5.) Amazon develops an AI fashion designer
Amazon has developed an algorithm that can design clothing by analyzing a series of images, copying the style, and then apply it to new garments generated from scratch. In-house researchers are working on several machine-learning systems that will help provide an edge when it comes to spotting, reacting to, and perhaps even shaping new fashion trends. Since Amazon has stated, they want to become “the best place to buy fashion online,” this seems like a logical move.

6.) Resistbot, an ingenious AI chatbot will contact lawmakers for you
If you’re looking for a more efficient way for your voice to be heard, pay close attention to Resistbot. This AI-powered chatbot makes it easy to contact your political representatives. Users simply text the word “resist” to 50409. The automated bot will ask for a name and zip code to determine which public officials to contact. Since users create their own messages, creativity and clarity are critical for this service that pride’s itself on avoiding standard “form letters.”

7.) China is using AI to predict who will commit crime next
Taking a page out of the movie “Minority Report,” China is developing predictive analytics to help authorities stop suspects before a crime is committed. With their unchecked access to citizens’ histories, Chinese tech companies are helping police develop artificial intelligence they say will help them identify and apprehend suspects before criminal acts are committed. By tapping into facial recognition tech, and combining it with predictive intelligence, they hope to notify police of potential criminals based on their behavior patterns. Even though it sounds like promising tech, applications like this are getting tons of scrutiny.

8.) AI beats world’s top poker players
Humankind has just been beaten at yet another game, this time Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker. Since poker is a game of uncertainty, players don’t know what cards the other players have or what cards will be dealt in the future. In a game like chess or Go, all players can see the board, meaning that everyone has complete information. This makes chess and Go much easier to program than poker. Poker also requires understanding the psychology of the other players – are they bluffing, should I fold, or should I bluff? Poker also involves betting – when should I bet, how much should I bet? Does this mean the gambling industry is doomed?

9.) Researchers create a lip-reading A.I.
If you wonder why NFL coaches are now covering their mouths when they talk into their microphones, it’s because someone or something might be reading their lips. Working with Google’s Deep Mind neural network, researchers developed an elaborate training process using thousands of hours of subtitled BBC television videos. The videos showed a broad spectrum of people speaking in a wide variety of poses, activities, and lighting to simulate real life conditions. While still not perfect, their algorithm achieved promising results.

10.) ‘Mind reading’ AI is able to scan brains and guess what you’re thinking
Carnegie Mellon University scientists have developed a system that can read complex thoughts based on brain scans, even interpreting complete sentences. Using data from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, the team was able to demonstrate different brain activations being triggered according to 240 complex events, ranging from individuals and settings to types of social interaction and physical actions. Using the smart algorithms they developed, the team was able to discern a person’s thoughts with 87% accuracy.

11.) AI learns to write its own code by stealing from other programs
A team of researchers at Microsoft and the University of Cambridge created a system called DeepCoder for solving coding challenges like those used in most programming competitions. Without teaching it how to code, DeepCoder uses a technique called program synthesis to piece together lines of code taken from existing software, similar to what most programmer do. Framing the outcome around a list of inputs and outputs for each section of code, DeepCoder learned which pieces of code were needed to achieve the desired results.

12.) Google’s AI was used to build it’s own AI, and it outperformed those made by humans
The creation of an AI capable of building its own AI does raise more than a few concerns. For instance, what’s to prevent the parent from passing down unwanted biases to its child? What if it creates systems so fast that society can’t keep up? It’s not very difficult to see how it could be employed in automated surveillance systems in the near future, perhaps even sooner than regulators could put something in place to control such systems.

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