The Five Most Exciting AI Advances in 2016

AI is short for artificial intelligence and it is one of the hottest topics currently in the tech industry. Silicon Valley has its share of new startups who are conducting research in this area because the savvy know that it is likely to be the new wave of our future. While still in its infancy, researchers and inventors are learning more about the development of artificial intelligence and how it can benefit us in terms of tech advancement and making life more convenient.

There are a variety of applications under which AI is slated to be used. Companies which understand the potential for use in their respective industries are forming partnerships with startups working on the technology and the result as been financial backing by investors and in some cases, acquisition of AI startups to incorporate them into some of the larger companies. We’ve identified five of the most exciting AI advances that have been made in 2016 and would like to share them for your consideration

1. Autonomous vehicles

Tesla’s autopilot vehicle is one of the most reported on inventions of the year and although there was a fatality associated with this vehicle, one death reported for one hundred and thirty million miles of driving time isn’t bad at all. The Ford automaker is also getting in on this new AI technology. The Tesla’s autopilot car features one of the most significant use of the advances made in AI technology for 2016. The system that is used for autonomous automobiles has the capacity for recognizing the need for lane changing, automatic braking and adjusting speeds appropriately. The data which has been collected has shown that the odds of an human error causing a traffic fatality are higher than a car that uses Tesla’s Autopilot. The navigational capacity of this system is nothing short of amazing.

2. AlphaGo beats world champion at the game Go

Early in 2016, Google attained a high and lofty aspiration for advanced deep learning with AlphaGo. The use of artificial intelligence crossed over into new territory as the DeepMind sector of the company produced the most complicated game that has been created since the beginning of known history. it is considered to be the most complex game because there are so many potential moves available and for an AI application to even be able to compete at this level is in itself amazing. What makes this such a hallmark event is that the game is played with a heavy reliance upon human intuition and in order to master the game, AlphaGo had to be able to think much like a human does. It beat the game and became the master in a magnificent feat that shows us a glimpse of the true capabilities of AI.

3. AI Advancements in Healthcare

2016 has brought some badly needed improvements to the healthcare sector compliments of Artificial Intelligence developments. IBM Watson is touted with enhancing the accuracy of cancer testing to detect positive results with a greater level of proficiency. In one case, a Japanes woman was diagnosed with leukemia because of the use of IBM Watson. The condition had previously been missed by other testing methods. This is just one example of how AI is improving cancer diagnosis methods. In other programs using AI, mammograms have improved by making the testing results available much more quickly than the old fashioned method of relying upon human assessment and the results to date have shown an accuracy rate of ninety nine percent with regard to interpretation and diagnostics.

4. Microsoft speech recognition

The AI that Microsoft has been incorporating into their programs is reported to have the ability for a greater understanding of speech than humans do. The Microsoft products featuring AI have come a long way and have attained a measure of superiority over the performance of many humans on a cognitive level. This is both exciting and a bit alarming. The star speech recognition program that Microsoft is so very proud of took more that two thousand programming and training hours for completion. AI that is successfully used in this capacity has great potential for other applications as well including advanced security systems and more.

5. AI Predictive ability

This year has seen Artificial Intelligence perform an amazing feat by predicting the outcome of the United States presidential election. The MogIA program was created by a startup company of Indian origin with its location in Mumbai. It was first believed that the program was inaccurate in its predictions, but the numbers that were projected did not factor into account the electoral college process. They predicted that Hillary Clinton would win by a slim margin and now after all of the votes have been tallied and confirmed, she did indeed win the popular vote. Inaccurate? Yes, to a degree, but it came closer than the more traditional polling methods.

Final thoughts

Artificial Intelligence has made tremendous advances in the last decade and with so much dedicated focus in its further development and expansion, it has made some fairly significant leaps throughout the 2016 year. Experts in the field realize that this science is yet in its initial phases of development and that we are just beginning to tap into its true potential. Continued research will be ongoing and soon, this technology that once seemed like a subject that could only be discussed with regard to its use in futuristic films and fantasy novels has become a reality within our modern times.

We are on the cusp of some quite dramatic changes as technology and the use of AI is revolutionizing our lifestyle and the modern conveniences that we have become accustomed to using. It seems that at least weekly, we hear about new developments in AI technology and it poses the question of what will the world look like in the next twenty years? Will the cognitive processing capacity of Artificial Intelligence exceed that of modern man? Only time will tell but if it continues on its current trajectory we may need to consider the downside along with the wonderful benefits that it has to offer as well.


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