Pocket Artificial Intelligence – Progress, Challenges, and Unanswered Questions, a Financial Times Study

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Picture a digital assistant who could answer every question you could conceive of, proactively plan your daily activities and suggest the best route for your commute, helps you in making smart personal as well as business decisions, and the last but not the least, corrects or improves on your plans when you ask your digital assistant for a feedback! Sounds too futuristic? Looking at the enormous worldwide interest for artificial intelligence, the day might be coming soon when AI (Artificial Intelligence) based technology will assist humans in the most mundane as well as the most challenging tasks & missions.

So Financial Times recently produced a five-part video series LIVING WITH ROBOTS that explored the relationship between AI devices and human beings. Financial Times west coast editor, Richard Waters, talks to AI experts to understand how far we have come vis-à-vis AI development and its application. Richard also explores the ensuing challenges and potential impacts of AI on our everyday lives.

As technological companies are investing more and more in developing artificial intelligence devices, this study also talks about the potential “trade off” between AI and losing control to machines. Questions such as – Would the machines one day become smarter than the human beings and hence control us rather than our controlling them? – are inevitable whenever a new AI break-through is heard of.

As part of this study, features of below 5 AI digital assistants are reviewed:

  1. Amazon Echo (Alexa) – A device capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic and other real time information. It can also control several smart devices.
  2. Apple Siri – Siri on Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch lets you use your voice to send messages, make calls, set reminders, and answers your questions.
  3. Google Now – Predictive assistant about what to do next?
  4. Facebook M – Text messaging system that uses AI
  5. Microsoft’s Cortana – Helps you find things on your PC, manage your calendar, track packages, find files, chat with you, and tell jokes for a personalized experience.

In addition to reviewing above digital assistants, Financial Times also conducted an experiment wherein Leslie Hook, a San Francisco correspondent for Financial Times, spent a week living and working with selected AI assistants. Leslie provides first hand account of her interaction with AI devices such as Amazon Echo, an e-mail assistant called Amy, Apple’s Siri, and Google Now.

To hear what the AI experts have to say about how AI is changing our lives, Richard talked to Aparna Chennapragada, senior director of product management at Google, Oren Jacob, CEO of ToyTalk, and Keyvan Mohajer – CEO, SoundHound.

To learn more about the insightful study, including the chats with the AI experts, see the below video and also share what’s your take on artificial intelligence with respect to our lives below!


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Author: Firdaus

I work as an IT consultant in the Toronto area and I love to write blogs about a variety of subjects. My passion for writing stems from the desire that everyone should have access to meaningful information. Whether it is a blog about society, culture, technology, or social media, I don’t want to miss the opportunity of sharing my thoughts with my friends and audience. Since I believe in mutual exchange of ideas, I am always on the lookout for a feedback on my writings.

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