In this segment, we’ll take a look at the practical applications of artificial intelligence (AI) today and what is right around the corner.
Recall the days on the evening news when reporters would interview a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to cover the impact of a trade war, a real war, or more the more disappointing earnings report from a blue chip company? Remember all those white middle-aged men in the middle of the pit gyrating most of every imaginable histrionic while shouting in desperation in secret Wall Street code and hand signals resembling gang signs with perspiration spraying everywhere?
You may not have realized it but those days are gone. Wall Street today is basically a working museum. The trading pits are gone. The only piece of the good old days that remains is the opening and closing bells which still does air on TV on occasion. The pit trader’s job has been lost to automation. Computer algorithms now do that job, and more efficiently too. But now that all (or most) human emotion has been jettisoned from the trade when unexpected events happen it’s all up to the computers to determine the best moves to make, all of which have been decided beforehand.
The same thing is true when you order up an Uber. The nearest pool of drivers is automatically petitioned. And the driver the gets the bid simply is verified of the task via a computer algorithm. Pickup and destination logistics, as well as price, are all determined by computers. As I write this, Uber has a new what I’ll call the “drunk algorithm” to determine the likelihood of a customer of having a few too many when ordering an Uber. The algorithm looks for, among other things, common typing mistakes, language used, location, and who knows what else, to determine their mental state and recommend an Uber driver more experience with unsober customers.
Advanced online marketing techniques use data analytics and other Big data to find predictive correlations between a consumers marital status and their likelihood to drink beer, and on what day, and what kind of beer. Men living in Nevada who have been recently divorced (say for less than two years) are more likely to buy a six-pack of beer on a Thursday, for instance. Knowing this, a Miller Lite advertisement will appear between 2 and 3 pm when they hit CNN.com to check the latest news.
These are but just a few examples of where AI is today. Imagine where it will be in five years! The only thing that can stop it is consumer insistence upon greater controls over their privacy concerns. But don’t hold your breath on that one. Most of us have already decided, albeit unwittingly, that the conveniences of the digital age outweigh the costs of giving up a bit of our privacy. In other words, we have traded away some of our privacy for its exchange value. And this is something we do a lot more than we would like to admit. You may recoil to the idea of having a microchip inserted into your person right now, but in five years you may find yourself opting into such a voluntary problem. Why? Because you may no longer need to remember your wallet, your keys, your passport, credit cards, rewards cards, pin numbers, or passwords. Pretty convenient, huh?