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20 Surprising Things That Artificial Intelligence Can Already Do

Just five decades ago, artificial intelligence was little more than a concept. The thought of machines and computer systems performing tasks that would normally require the input of human intelligence was pure science-fiction. Now, technological and scientific advancements have come a long way, and artificial intelligence is now a normal part of daily life. Artificial intelligence has come far further than it was ever expected, and it is an area that continues to fascinate scientists and engineers. Although there is a long way to go before scientists can achieve their dreams and the full potential of what they believe artificial intelligence can do, artificial intelligence can already do some very impressive things. Here are 20 surprising things that artificial intelligence can do already.

1. Fraud Detection

Online fraud is a huge problem, and one that a startup called Fraugster is trying to solve. According to, the startup raised $5 million in venture funding to develop an AI system that can predict fraud before it even happens. The self-learning algorithm mimics human thought processes but on the scale of a machine to deliver a decision in 15 milliseconds.

2. Detecting PTSD

Diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder has posed many challenges for clinicians over the years. Traditionally, diagnosis is made following clinical interviews, but this is inaccurate as a patient can withhold information or the clinician may not be subjective. Futurism reports that researchers at New York University have used AI to detect PTSD using the person’s voice. The program picks up emotions and signifiers of PTSD by listening for minor variables and auditory markers. The algorithm has an 89 percent accuracy rate in diagnosing PTSD.

3. Identifying Crop Diseases

Crop diseases can have a devastating impact on a country’s economy and the livelihood of farmers and communities. Therefore, identifying and tackling crop diseases is essential. In the past, this has involved testing and analysis by experts in crop disease. Now, AI can do the same job, says Digital Trends. The system detects crop diseases before they spread and it was developed in collaboration between researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and Pennsylvania State University.

4. Scripting Car Advertisements

According to TechWorld, Lexus created the world’s first commercial written by AI. The one-minute advert was scripted by IBM’s Watson AI by analyzing 15 years of audio, visual, and text data from automotive adverts that had won Cannes Lions awards. Kevin MacDonald, the Oscar-winning director, brought the script alive. Unless you knew the advert was created by AI, it was impossible to tell.

5. Finding New Uses for Existing Drugs

Clinicians have a vast array of drugs to use when treating patients. It is not possible to treat all conditions with the same drugs, as each has a different effect on the body and can treat specific symptoms. When there are no drugs to treat a condition, researchers can spend years trialing new drugs and experimenting with existing drugs to find a solution. According to Technology Review, Recursion Pharmaceuticals has developed algorithms that understand the anatomy of cells. This allows them to discover new uses for existing drugs by combining machine vision and robotics.

6. Transcription Using Speech Recognition

Speech recognition is an important element of AI research and scientists are applying speech recognition technology in various ways. Microsoft has been one of the leading companies in this field of research, and they have made a huge breakthrough, says The Register. They have developed an automated system that recognizes speech just as well as a professional transcriptionist. When comparing the data for error rates in the AI system and professional transcriptionists, Microsoft’s results are also ahead of their competitors, as Microsoft’s software had only a 6.3 percent word error rate compared to Google’s eight percent.

7. Sorting Cucumbers

Agriculture is just one of the industries that are using AI to improve processes, and some of the uses are rather surprising. Google Cloud reports that AI is even being used to sort cucumbers. A Japanese cucumber farmer who had formerly worked as an embedded systems designer was shocked by the cucumber sorting process. It involved sorting cucumbers according to size, shape, color, and other attributes. To simplify this process, he developed an AI system that combines deep learning and TenorFlow to sort the cucumbers quickly and easily.

8. Data Driven Medicine

Sophia Genetics has created AI called Sophia that uses medical data to create data-driven medicine, reports Forbes. This reads DNA and genetic data to predict and diagnose genetic diseases. The machine is even gradually improving itself as it receives more data. The speed and accuracy of the diagnosis of genetic diseases are improved. It could also unlock the potential for personalized medical treatments.

9. Predicting Social Unrest

AI is already established in many aspects of security, but scientists continue to look for ways to improve the security of individuals, business, and society. The International Business Times has written about how the CIA in the United States has developed a strategy that uses deep learning and neural networks to scan data. This then predicts the probability of social unrest in the United States. This allows the CIA to prepare for any events or incidents.

10. Predicting Hypoglycemic Events in Diabetes

A lot of research relating to the medical application of using AI has focused on diabetes as this is a serious condition that affects people across the globe. One of the companies that are making waves in this filed is IBM Watson Health, says SearchHealthIT. They have developed AI technology that can help those suffering from diabetes to predict a hypoglycemic event up to three hours before it happens. A hypoglycemic event is potentially life-threatening, so this technology can potentially save lives as it allows the patient to take preventative action.

11. Conduct Legal Research

Futurism says that IBM has created a legal robot called Ross who can conduct his own legal research and he has been hired by a law firm. Barker & Hostetler have employed Ross to handle their bankruptcy practice. There are 50 lawyers employed in this sector of their firm. Other companies are also looking to have a license with Ross, who is the first artificially intelligent attorney in the world. It is capable of researching, postulating hypotheses, reading, understanding legal jargon, and generating responses with citations and references. The more you interact with the robot, the faster and more efficiently it works.

12. AI Creating Its Own Encryption

As AI becomes more advanced, it must handle a larger amount of sensitive and private data. All this information needs protecting, and this is usually done by encryption. Google has a deep learning research project called Google Brain, says Wired. The team has taught neural networks to encrypt and decrypt their own messages. Google hopes that this will help them to protect information and also to prepare them for attacks.

13. Win Jeopardy

AI is now so advanced that it can beat humans in quiz shows. BBC reported that IBM entered their supercomputer Watson into the well-known televised quiz show ‘Jeopardy’. The computer competed against two of the most successful competitors in the show’s history, but they were no match for Watson. After a three-night quiz marathon, the computer was victorious and won the $1 million prize. What makes this so impressive is that the questions asked in jeopardy rely on puns, riddles, and an understanding of subtle meanings. It was far from a case of the computer extracting data to answer a straightforward question.

14. Handle Insurance Claims

An app by Lemonade has set a world record for the fastest insurance claim approved ever. On their blog, they tell the story of a man who has his coat stolen. It takes him just 61 seconds to open the app and complete the details of his claim. Just three seconds later, his claim was approved and paid. This was achieved without any long telephone calls or tedious and complicated paperwork. The artificial intelligence that was used to do this is called A.I. Jim. In the three seconds between completing the claim and the claim being approved, Jim reviewed the claim and cross-referenced it with the policy. It also runs 18 anti-fraud checks before approving the claim, sending the money, and informing the claimant of the good news.

15. Scoring Higher Than Humans on Visual Intelligence Tests

When it comes to visual intelligence, it is possible that artificial intelligence has overtaken humans, according to Tom’s Hardware. The computational model that can do this was created by professors at Northwestern University. When presented with a standard visual intelligence test, it can perform better than 75 percent of American adults. The team who worked on this computational model believe it is an important step towards AI seeing and understanding the world in the same way as humans.

16. Acting as a Personal Trainer

Artificial intelligence is also having an impact on the world of health and fitness with many gadgets and apps available that can help you to keep fit and healthy. One such example of this is an app created by ViTrainer that acts as a personal trainer. Your virtual assistant on this app is called Vi, and Vi will personalize training programs for you based on your needs, skill levels, goals, and past performance. This is particularly useful for those who cannot afford to hire a personal trainer and for those who do not like the gym environment.

17. Precision Pesticide Application

Crops around the globe are affected by pests, and the way that farmers traditionally tackle this problem is by using pesticides. This is a time-consuming process that is also expensive. To overcome this problem, scientists came up with a way of using artificial intelligence to apply pesticides with precision. This saves on time, labor, and money. According to Wired, deep learning is used so that artificial intelligence can learn to understand the difference between healthy and diseased leaves. Designed by epidemiologist Marcel Salathe and biologist David Hughes, the system can identify diseased plants with 99.35 percent accuracy. This allows for the precision application of pesticides, only in the areas where it is needed.

18. Forecasting the Weather

Finding ways to predict the weather has been a focus for meteorologists and many other scientists for many years. The aim has been to use artificial intelligence to predict extreme weather conditions so that experts can give advance warnings and prepare for the consequences. Next Platform describes how deep learning frameworks have been tweaked to detect forthcoming dangerous weather patterns. This is done using high-performance computing systems.

19. Painting Like a Professional Artist

In humans, art is something that is only possible to teach to a certain extent. Professional artists possess skills and natural talent that it is impossible to learn. However, it is possible for artificial intelligence to reproduce the work of some of the most famous and talented artists in the world. Business Insider explains how the Bethge Lab in Germany has created an artificial intelligence system that can learn the style of any artist and replicate their style of work.

20. Lip Reading Better Than Humans

MIT Technology Review describes how artificial intelligence can now lipread better than humans. The reason that lipreading is so difficult is that it relies not only on visual clues but also on context and knowledge of the language. Artificial intelligence that has the capability of doing this better than humans has been developed by a team from the Department of Computer Science at Oxford University.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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