By far the biggest tech story of 2023 — and indeed, one of the most important stories overall — has been the explosive development of AI. If you were to show someone from a few short years ago what new AI systems are capable of now, they’d have thought you were showing them something from Star Trek. But it’s real, it’s here, and we’re all having to adapt to it.
Companies and individuals alike that become early adopters will have a leg up on their competitors in the same way that early adopters of the internet and personal computers gained a significant advantage just a few decades ago. It’s that kind of a technological revolution, and we at SmartDev are here to help lead the charge and give our clients the edge they need.
So where’s this all going? To predict exactly how this will all play out is a fool’s errand since things are moving so fast. However, we’ve got our finger on the pulse so we can make some predictions with a fair bit of clarity. To be sure, with the exponential growth of data, computational power, and machine learning algorithms, AI is becoming more capable of performing complex tasks that were once exclusive to human intelligence.
Let’s take a quick step back and see where we came from, where we’re headed, and how SmartDev can provide AI solutions.
The Evolution of AI: From Weak to Strong AI
AI has come a long way since its inception in the 1950s. Initially referred to as “weak AI,” AI was limited in its capabilities and could only perform specific tasks. However, the future of AI lies in the development of “strong AI,” also known as Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). AGI refers to machines that can replicate human intelligence across a wide range of cognitive tasks.
While AGI remains a distant goal, significant advancements have already been made in narrow AI, where machines excel at specific tasks. Technologies like voice recognition, recommendation engines, and autonomous vehicles are examples of narrow AI applications that have already had a profound impact on industries.
SmartDev has been working with fintech and financial service companies to hone their AI toolkit, like in the insurance industry to perform risk analysis or as a way to determine predicted consumer behaviour. That’s just one example. If you’re curious to learn more about how we’ve been doing this, reach out to our team for a chat.
Industries Transformed by AI
There is virtually no major industry that AI hasn’t already affected, and its impact is expected to grow even further in the future. Let’s explore some of the industries that are undergoing significant transformations due to AI. If you find yourself in one of these industries and you’re looking for AI guidance, look no further — we’re right here, with the broad experience necessary to create custom-tailored solutions for any sector.
Finance: Natural Language Processing and Robo-Advisors
The financial industry has always been a complex one, and its increasing complexity and data-driven decisions makes it perfect for AI advances. AI is currently empowering banks, financial advisors, and customers. Natural language processing combined with machine learning enables efficient interactions between financial institutions and clients. Chatbots and virtual assistants provide personalised services, including credit score monitoring, fraud detection, financial planning, and customer service. AI-powered systems also develop complex investment strategies for large investors, optimising portfolio performance.
Manufacturing: AI-Enabled Robotics and Predictive Analysis
Manufacturing has been benefiting from AI for years, with the integration of AI-enabled robotics and predictive analysis. Industrial robots work alongside humans to perform tasks like assembly and stacking, increasing productivity and efficiency. Additionally, AI-powered predictive analysis sensors help optimise equipment performance, reducing downtime and maintenance costs.
Healthcare: AI Diagnosis and Virtual Nursing Assistants
The healthcare industry was one of the earliest adopters of AI, with retinal scanning algorithms detecting retinopathy at impressively accurate rates for years already. AI is transforming the way patients interact with medical providers and vice versa. AI’s ability to analyse large amounts of data enables faster and more accurate disease diagnosis. It also streamlines drug discovery processes and assists in patient monitoring through virtual nursing assistants. One of the prime benefits of AI in medicine is reducing the time burden of mundane tasks on doctors, especially in developing countries where medical access is limited.
Education: Personalized Learning and AI-Assisted Instruction
AI is disrupting the education sector by tailoring learning experiences to individual students’ needs, and that can be a good thing. Machine learning algorithms, natural language processing, and facial recognition enable the digitization of textbooks, plagiarism detection, and emotion detection in students. AI-assisted instruction will enhance personalised learning, helping educators identify struggling students and provide targeted support.
Media: AI Journalism and Automated Content Generation
The media industry has already been profoundly affected by AI, especially due to the use of AI applications in journalism and content generation. Automated Insights, an AI writing tool, produces thousands of news stories per year. Generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, are capable of generating human-like text, raising questions about their use in journalism. AI has the potential to automate content creation and streamline news production processes.
Customer Service: AI-Powered Chatbots and Virtual Assistants
AI is revolutionising customer service by providing data-driven tools that enhance the customer experience. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants offer personalised assistance, answering customer queries and resolving issues efficiently. By leveraging AI, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer preferences and behaviour, improving overall customer satisfaction.
The Impact of AI on Society
As a company, one of our core values is to make sure we’re ethically contributing to society as a whole. AI does indeed pose some significant questions, and transparency in its development is key. As AI continues to advance, it will have a profound impact on society as a whole. Let’s explore some key aspects of AI’s influence on society and the challenges that lie ahead.
Speed of Life: Accelerating Decision-Making Processes
AI will accelerate decision-making processes in various sectors, leading to a faster-paced society. Organisations that interact with a large number of users, including businesses, government entities, and nonprofits, will rely on AI to make decisions quickly. This increased speed will shape our daily interactions with these institutions, transforming the way people engage with them.
From what we’ve observed, companies that integrate well-built AI into their systems experience a significant increase in efficiency and speed. This allows for more free time for workers, managers, and C-suite executives to spend time doing the human thinking needed to make companies run smoothly.
Privacy and Ethical Concerns
As AI systems become more proficient in analysing data, privacy concerns will become a prominent issue. AI’s ability to gather and interpret vast amounts of personal data raises questions about privacy protection. Society will face ethical dilemmas regarding the collection and use of personal data by AI systems. Balancing the benefits of AI with privacy protection will be crucial in shaping the future of AI.
Furthermore, ethical considerations must be at the forefront of its development and implementation. For example, addressing algorithmic bias and ensuring accountability for AI decision-making processes will be essential to prevent unintended harm and promote fairness.
To mitigate potential risks and ensure the responsible development and use of AI, ethical frameworks and governance structures must be established. Collaboration between industry experts, policymakers, and researchers is essential to set standards, guidelines, and regulations for AI development, deployment, and use. Ethical considerations, safety, and transparency should be embedded in the design and implementation of AI systems.
SmartDev takes data security and privacy very seriously, and integrates significant data protection plans into our AI systems. Ethical practices are integrated at each step of the development process and we’re happy to discuss any concerns with clients.
Regulatory Challenges: Navigating the AI Law Thicket
The widespread adoption of AI will lead to complex regulatory environments for organisations. Governments worldwide are already working to regulate AI deployment, resulting in a multitude of new laws and regulations. Businesses will face legal complexities as they navigate the evolving AI landscape. Staying compliant with AI regulations will be crucial for organisations operating in this rapidly changing environment.
As a company with roots in Switzerland and an offshore development centre in Vietnam, we’re keenly aware of the importance of staying within the bounds of regulations. We also understand how to navigate the hurdles of laws and regulations across multiple countries due to our experience. Having an international team with lots of experience makes all the difference.
Human-AI Teaming: Managing Fear and Maximising Potential
To address societal fears surrounding AI, human-AI teaming will play a vital role. Keeping humans involved in processes influenced by AI will help alleviate concerns about job displacement and ensure that AI is used as an augmentation of human intelligence. Emphasising collaboration between humans and AI will be key to managing the societal impact of AI and maximising its potential.
For most AI processes currently available, the systems are still “human-in-the-loop” based, meaning AI does not work entirely autonomously. That may remain ideal for many systems, especially ones with any potential ethical questions.
The future of AI holds tremendous potential to transform industries and shape society. If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely already seen its effects in many ways. We’re at what appears to be a major turning point in technology, and SmartDev is happy to be a key player in the AI industry. Riding the crest of the wave in tech while keeping an even keel with safe, ethical development will propel our ship of state through this decade and the next.
The previous metaphor may at first seem like a bit much, but we really are exploring uncharted waters. If you’re interested in joining us on the journey and discovering untapped riches, you may want to reach out to us to discuss a project. Please do! We’re anticipating a bright future.