Artificial intelligence (AI) is already a part of everyday life, from wearable health technology like smart watches and voice assistants to self-driving cars and chat bots. And this trend is only expected to continue growing. In fact, according to the Brookings Institution, in just over a decade, AI will outperform humans in a variety of tasks, from writing essays to retail work. The future of AI will feature a shift of traditionally human-driven operations to work performed by automated computers.
The predicted impact of artificial intelligence on people, business, and industry in coming years is profound, and while some may worry about the dangers of over-automation, there are actually many positive social and economic benefits to AI. If you’re considering a career in programming or other computer professions, you’ll be in a position to use AI to potentially solve a variety of human problems across sectors, including humanitarian crises, healthcare needs, and quality control in areas such as manufacturing or product development.
In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the field of computer and information research to grow by about 19% between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average growth expected for all jobs, due in part by the growing need for computer professionals who develop artificial intelligence technology. Earning an online master’s degree in data science could be an important step toward securing a position in this cutting-edge field.
AI Trends Shaping Tomorrow’s Technologies
AI is broadly defined as the ability of a computer program or machine to learn and perform tasks that previously only a human could do, such as problem solving or speech recognition. As AI becomes more advanced, different applications are emerging across various industries. Microsoft alone had filed almost 700 patents for AI technology as of November 2018 according to Forbes, indicating how these emerging trends are shaping the future of business, industry, and human culture.
How Business and Industry Use AI Today
According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 20% of organizations plan to implement AI in their enterprise in 2019. The implications of this trend are significant, as they imply that AI is no longer confined to research or computer labs. Instead, AI will impact offices, hospitals, and consumer products. Machine learning, biometrics, and prescriptive analytics are a few ways professionals apply AI in industrial settings, business offices, and laboratories.
Businesses use machine learning — the ability of computer programs to refine their abilities based on pattern recognition — to help interpret and analyze a vast amount of customer data. As the future of AI becomes more accurate and efficient, companies use these insights to create more personalized content for their customers and audiences. Additionally, AI can determine which marketing channels are performing best based on how potential customers engage with content. Then, the AI can automatically allocate additional marketing dollars to the most viable audiences.
While machine learning often takes place behind the scenes, consumers can see biometrics in action. Today’s smartphones, laptops, and other technological devices often have fingerprint or retina readers to unlock access to the device. Smart watches and other fitness devices record heart rate and step count, giving users access to more information about their health than ever before.
Finally, prescriptive analytics takes data collection one step further. Through prescriptive analytics, computers analyze information and make recommendations based on potential future outcomes. This allows AI to anticipate the needs of a company or individual and provide recommendations around everything from marketing campaigns to healthcare decisions.
For their careers to thrive in the future of AI, programmers and other computer science professionals must have skills required to create, implement, and maintain future AI-based applications and “smart” industrial systems that collect and analyze data in real time. Successful computer scientists must know how to explore, analyze, monitor, manage, and visualize large data sets using the latest AI technology.
How Advances in AI Will Change Interactions Between Humans and Machines
As the lines separating people from technology will continue to blur, there are AI trends that benefit individual consumers, employees, and society as a whole as well. For example, Forbes expects AI to impact customer service and support as software becomes more effective at sentiment analysis. This means AI will gauge a customer’s tone of voice and respond to queries and complaints more effectively. Employees will be able to delegate more customer service queries to AI, allowing more time for cases that require added empathy, human communication, or strategic planning and addressing the root cause of customer dissatisfaction.
The purpose of AI is to supplement and improve processes, but it cannot replace humans entirely. While AI can help businesses work smarter and automate repetitive or mindless tasks, soft skills are more vital than ever before. AI allows employees to be more effective leaders, removing unnecessary tasks and giving them the opportunity for more productivity and creativity in their role day-to-day. Those leading the development of AI must be proficient in both technical topics and leadership skills through courses that unite technology with communication. Courses such as Machine Learning offered through a Maryville University online computer science degree program will be key component of integrating AI and machine learning into business and everyday life.
How Researchers Are Addressing the Potential Consequences of AI
Even the most intelligent machines rely on humans to design and program them. However, programmers are tasked to prevent human biases from transferring to AI systems. There are many fears surrounding AI, including algorithmic bias, invasion of privacy, and the impact of increased automation. However, initiatives like the Future of Life Institute have established ethical principles for responsible AI intended to safeguard organizations and individuals.
There are also self-regulatory organizations, such as the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, to ensure AI has a positive impact. Through these organizations, those who develop AI are able to address gaps from regulators in adhering to responsible AI practices.
Although AI can automate and execute human tasks, it is not infallible. AI is not intended to replace people, but rather to work alongside them to make businesses, education, healthcare, retail, and day-to-day life more efficient and cost-effective for the consumer and society. Technology companies and their computer scientists and data professionals who implement and manage AI across industries will be responsible for addressing negative consequences of AI.
The Future of AI Is in the Hands of Computer Scientists
Technology is an important aspect of our everyday lives, and as tech continues its advancement, computer and data science professionals need to commit to responsible, ethical AI practices. The future of AI is bright, with a focus on machines that enhance the effectiveness and impactfulness of roles across industries such as healthcare, retail, finance, and government to provide economic and social benefits to the consumer.
Learn More About Computer Science Careers
If you’re excited to play a role in the development of AI technology, one of the online computer science degree programs from Maryville University could be an ideal fit. Maryville University’s bachelor’s and master’s programs in the computer science field focus on giving students knowledge of the latest technologies used across many industries, as well as the leadership skills needed to thrive.