Published: Dec 26, 2019 12:05:13 PM IST
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to improve existing products and processes by automating tedious, repetitive tasks. By streamlining research and development, and complementing the process with unique insights and data, AI can reshape the approach to innovation. Take for instance virtual assistants. Intelligent personal assistants can interact with you via smart speakers to follow voice-based instructions to play music, stream podcasts, set alarms, and find information from the internet. The AI learns from your interactions to analyse your likes and dislikes, and use the insight to offer more pertinent responses to your queries. Virtual assistants have now graduated to controlling other smart home devices, making the AI an integral part of the home automation grid.
Home automation is another area where AI has been implemented to not only enhance convenience and energy-efficiency, but also learn from insights to innovate. For instance, smart lights can sense your presence via motion-sensors or GPS location of your phone to switch on or off lights, or illuminate the room as per the mood of the music you play. Over time, they can also learn from your patterns to optimise their functions. Similarly, smart curtains learn from your sleep cycles and daily routines to incrementally let sunlight into your room to wake you gently around your optimal waking time.
How we discover entertainment too have been revolutionized by AI. It is now that friend who always gives the best recommendations. AI algorithms learn from your reading, listening, and viewing history. It then scouts the internet for content, artists, songs, podcasts, movies, books, TV series etc. that you are most likely to enjoy. Every on-demand content streaming platform uses this neat little trick to keep you hooked. The same approach is used by shopping and ecommerce sites to make you buy related products, based on your shopping history or what’s already in your cart.
Perhaps one of the most important application of AI, is in the healthcare sector, where massive amounts of data need to be analysed to arrive at crucial decisions. AI has potential in all aspects, right from diagnostics, research and development of medicines and treatment procedures, to inventing or enhancing medical equipment. It has been exceptionally helpful in monitoring individual vital statistics via smart watches, identifying patterns, and notifying healthcare services in case of irregularities like heart attacks, strokes, or even accidents. It can also collate similar data from thousands’ of individuals to suggest trends and better ways to treat abnormalities. In addition, AI is also being engaged to keep track of patients’ histories, and analyse it to find health issues. Similarly, AI is also being leveraged to accurately interpreting imaging results such as CAT scans, MRI scans, and X Ray scans.
Bengaluru-based Narayana Health group of multi-specialty hospitals has implemented real-time data analytics and predictive insights across their operations, to provide affordable, high-quality healthcare. Similarly, Forus Health is also leveraging AI to predict and detect the onset of diabetic retinopathy in an attempt to minimize vision loss as there are no solutions to reverse the condition. Apollo Hospitals has developed an India-specific heart risk score to better predict cardiac diseases.
Clearly, AI’s innate ability to learn from patterns, analyse data, and feed insights into the never-ending feedback loop is perfect for a continuous improvement strategy. This makes AI not only an important stand-alone tool, but also propels innovations. There are endless other examples of this - including but not limited to banking and retail, e-commerce, self-driving cars, speech and image recognition, natural language generation, biometrics, biotechnology, marketing automation, cyber defense etc. The right approach is to program AI to solve problems that can considerably improve our lives; this focus is instrumental to unlocking the tool’s transformative but largely untapped potential as the key driver of innovation in the future.