What’s in the way of artificial intelligence? Ironically, t’s the fluid manner in which ideas and innovations are made. A single piece of technology needs to stand on its own before it can advance. Once it does, it won’t be long before it organically integrates with other technology, new and old alike. This is one of the reasons that technological progress increases at an exponential rate. The applications of artificial intelligence have yet to be connected, but they will be soon.

In part one, we described technological possibilities for the future. You may be surprised to know that the technology discussed IS NOT conjecture: it EXISTS. The article merely speculated about commercialization and how the technologies of today would be intertwined with one another tomorrow. Since artificial intelligence is in its most basic form on the mobile phone, we have no idea how many applications of artificial intelligence really are. It’s fun to guess, that’s all!

The Technology We Already Have

You’ve certainly heard that companies are testing autonomous vehicles all over the world. What you might not know is that GM is planning to release a vehicle in 2017 capable of automated performance in stop and go traffic conditions or on open roads. Yes, the transition to full autonomy will be slow and steady, but it’s coming. Other companies have their own plans for unveiling. Applications of artificial intelligence in vehicles will steadily transform the industry.

The Amazon Echo could be a game-changer for companies seeking applications of artificial intelligence. It’s widely assumed that we will one day have an “internet of things” connecting all of our devices to a central hub of some sort, and the Echo might just be that hub. Many have dismissed it as a non-mobile version of Siri or Google Now, but the transition is so much more meaningful than that.

When cell phones first emerged, we transitioned from owning a single landline to owning personal lines. And those personal lines now come with electronic helpers. The Echo represents a shift backwards: Instead of a personal helper, we’ll have a family helper. Soon after that, the helper might be connected to the entire world instead. One step back, then two steps forward. The more you use Echo, the more it learns about you and your preferences. And your family’s. And the world’s. The extrapolated implications are more staggering than a single article on the applications of artificial intelligence could possibly represent–and so we’ll save that discussion for another time.

We 3D print food. We 3D print homes. 3D printing of pharmaceuticals is beginning. Although we can use bioprinting to create cells, the hope is that one day we’ll be able to manufacture organs en masse. With prices dropping and 3D printing becoming more popular, it’s very difficult to imagine this technology going nowhere. It’s here to stay.

Digital wallets are already here. Credit card companies have been using them for years, and you’ve likely heard of Apple’s new program and the contention it’s caused among retailers. It’s not a stretch to believe this technology will become mainstream within a decade or two. We’re not ready yet, but we will be soon.

You think that the new smart watch craze is amazing? Don’t make us laugh. Early prototypes of sensored clothing exist. They’ll do pretty much everything your Apple Watch will do, and probably for a whole lot cheaper. It won’t be long before this takes off. It’s too simple and too commercially applicable for it not to happen.

Amazon Prime Air is a definite. It’s planned, and the tech is solid. All that’s left is logistics. The FAA needs to deliver commercialized drone guidelines before companies can begin sending them into the skies. Those guidelines are due NEXT YEAR. 2015. Which is exactly why Amazon and other companies are already testing these devices for commercial use. How long after 2015 do you expect they’ll wait? We predict that by 2017, you’ll have seen at least a few commercial drones in the air. It’s happening fast.

As was already mentioned in Part One, certain mobile phone apps are capable of waking you during certain stages of sleep so you feel rested and refreshed instead of groggy and grumpy. There are other little bits of tech that were mentioned, but we’ll let you do some digging for yourselves. We’ll surely have more to say about them in forthcoming articles.

Most of these technologies and applications for artificial intelligence haven’t been commercially viable, and that’s why a lot of people still believe they’re so futuristic. But the vast majority of them are becoming much cheaper and much more advanced as time marches on. The price of robotics is also drastically decreasing, and we’ll see many more robotic inventions very, very soon.

Holy Crap. VIV!

Last but not least, the piece of technology that strings all the rest together: Basic AI. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and so many others are racing to acquire it–pouring billions of dollars into research and development for the applications of artificial intelligence as they go. Surprisingly, one of the most promising developments comes from none of those massive companies. Instead, the group that started it all–the makers of Siri–are poised to once again take center stage with a product called Viv.

In our future vision of 2034, we named the most basic AI system the Great White Whale, or WW for short. But in fact he was Viv. She’s already being made, and those who have seen Viv in action are absolutely convinced the technology will change the world. We are too.

Viv is capable of writing her own code in order to complete complex requests. If a question requires information from two different sources, Siri can’t locate an answer. Viv, however, can. Seriously, read about what she’s expected to do. She’ll know you, she’ll know your family, she’ll know your friends, she’ll know how you all relate to one another, and she’ll know how to respond to each of your requests. It’s crazy. It’s scary. It’s wonderful. Viv could rule the world.

And she ALREADY EXISTS.

Who Else Researches Applications of Artificial Intelligence?

Google is the king of the search engine, and therefore the king of anticipating the kind of questions people ask–not to mention answering those questions. It’s the company’s primary source of revenue, and without it they could be in hot water. Considering the Amazon Echo’s implications, it’s not difficult to imagine a future in which all of our information searches take place outside of traditional avenues. That means no more Google searching. Why bother typing when Siri is becoming better, Echo seems smarter, and Viv threatens to blow them all out of the water? Google has invested heavily in robotics and applications of artificial intelligence for this very reason. They know the future of the company is in jeopardy if they don’t win the race for AI. That’s why Google and other companies are searching for as many applications of artificial intelligence as possible.

Right now, one of the greatest minds in predictive technology has been acquired by Google: Ray Kurzweil. He believes the point at which artificial intelligence will match human intelligence–also known as the technological singularity–will be crossed in 2029. When we look at systems such as Viv, the prophecy doesn’t seem so far-fetched. Google’s recent acquisition of DeepMind is already beginning to mimic some of the short term memory processes of the human brain. The rate of progress is almost scary.

Google’s ultimate goal is knowing what you want before you want it. The Amazon Echo obviously seeks to do the same, and so you can place a pretty significant wager that Google–and maybe even Apple–will be right behind it in terms of making the leap from mobile phone to dining room table. They want eyes and ears in your home, and there’s really nothing stopping them. It’ll be interesting to see how well the Echo does. If it does well, we’ll see a lot of copycat devices. If it does terribly, we’ll see more innovative versions down the road.

Even Facebook has admitted to gobbling up tech startups related to applications of artificial intelligence. Zuckerburg believes that a decade from now, computers will be superior readers, writers, and speakers. What will Facebook do with AI? Well, that much is still a mystery, but it doesn’t take a lot of thought to conclude that all of the world’s richest companies are seeking these same applications of artificial intelligence. How long before one or all succeed in their endeavors?

Microsoft is also on the right track in searching for artificial intelligence. Just look at the Xbox Kinect, and you can see how these technologies might one day intertwine. Right now the Amazon Echo can hear your words, but the Kinect can see and hear everything you do in its presence. How long before Microsoft uses Kinect’s technology to integrate with the relatively weak Cortana, their own sloppy version of Siri and Google Now?

When Bill Gates was asked about the applications of artificial intelligence, he responded by saying “A lot will come of it. People underestimate how fast it goes.” And “underestimate” is absolutely the right word.

The race is on!

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In part three, we’ll discuss what guys like Kurzweil and Kaku think of AI and the beginnings of the technological singularity. What will AI really do in the coming decades? We’ll also discuss how Elon Musk and others believe we’re making a terrible mistake by inviting AI into our lives. For now, we know that the applications of artificial intelligence are all-encompassing. No technology–past, present, or future–will escape its grasp. In the future, it’ll be so integrated with our daily lives we may not even realize that it exists.

If you missed Part One, check it out here: https://www.memyselfandrobot.com/blog/artificial-intelligence-is-the-future-part-one/

Or check out Part Three here: https://www.memyselfandrobot.com/blog/advantages-of-artificial-intelligence-part-3/

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About Author

Jeff is a self-proclaimed pragmatic futurist; that is, he has high hopes for absurd life-altering technologies which sound too good to be true, and probably are. Although he writes on a variety of subjects, his real passion is for technological innovation and the people who make it happen. By day, he enjoys fuzzy bunnies, kittens, puppies, roller coasters and a sardonic written word or two. By night, he's busy running MMR, replaying a random Final Fantasy game, or pretending to be Batman. He currently resides in Upstate NY.