No Longer an Idea of the Future, Artificial Intelligence Is Here and You Are Probably Already Using It

Sep 15, 2016

It might surprise some of you to know that artificial intelligence (AI) is already in use and a routine part of our daily lives, but we leverage this technology when we use our smartphones or other devices to ask Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Now, or Amazon’s Alexa a question to get the facts or data we are looking for. Using your voice, you can say, “Where’s the nearest gas station?” or “What’s on my calendar today?”, and the intelligent personal assistant (IPA) will respond by finding information and relaying it from your phone or sending commands to other apps.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making possible new computer technologies.

However, AI is not only being used in the context of a personal assistant. Self-driving cars are moving closer to reality, retailers are using anticipatory shipping in the hopes to send you items before you need them, and banks are using AI to detect fraud to monitor accounts and alert the owners when questionable transactions occur.

AI Defined

So it is here, but what is AI? AI is an intelligent system’s ability to improve predictions, accelerate problem solving, and automate administrative tasks, ushering in an era of automation. A few of the areas of AI are:

  • Cognitive analytics, where machines learn from experience and build associations, help develop technology systems that evolve hypothesis, draw conclusions and collect instincts and experience.

  • Parallel information processing, aided through chips custom designed for AI applications, help parallel processing of vast amounts of data.

  • Intelligent automation_ combines automation with artificial intelligence that allows knowledge workers, from physicians to investment analysts to plant supervisors, to process, understand and use information._

    Autonomous self-driving car interior concept.

AIs Role in Government

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has been hosting a series of public workshops about artificial intelligence and machine learning. “There are tremendous opportunities and an array of considerations across the federal government in privacy, security, regulation, law, and research and development to be taken into account when effectively integrating this technology into both government and private-sector activities,” Deputy U.S. CTO Ed Felten wrote in a May 3 blog post.

AI is already being explored in the UK to enhance government services. The tool in use is named Amelia, which is a cognitive intelligence that can perform machine learning and communicate with customers using natural language in order to fulfil a variety of roles. It has previously been used as an IT service desk agent and mortgage broker at different banks. Agencies in the U.S. are exploring “chatbots” like Amelia to automate some aspects of customer service.

Robot with chat bubble

FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray’s recent article, How Can Artificial Intelligence Make Us More Free, Less Distracted, and More Effective?, discusses the development of AI tools in a collective manner, to thoroughly identify true needs, which in turn will result in significant advantages of how public service is done and how services are delivered. Bray also assesses the relevance of change management to organizations in this quickly approaching age of collaborative thinking. For Change Agents “to be creative problem solvers who continue to proactively search for new ways of delivering results differently and better” is what we need now in public service.

AI: Serving Millions Daily

Artificial intelligence is used in smartphones, cars, banks, and houses on a daily basis. The integration of AI into our normal lives will continue to expand as well as becoming a tool to assist Federal agencies to better serve their audiences. AI is everywhere, and it’s making a huge difference in our lives every day.Note: All references to specific products, brands, and/or companies are used only for illustrative purposes and do not imply endorsement by the U.S. federal government or any federal government agency.