Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are changing the world around us in extraordinary ways, including some surprising new applications in global industries. These technologies enable us to take computing to a whole new level, which opens the door for innovations that improve processing capabilities, productivity, efficiency, and more. These are five industries using AI and ML in exciting, inventive ways.
1. Fast Food
Wendy’s made an important step in bringing AI and ML into the fast food industry with a groundbreaking deal with Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company. This partnership may hint at the future of AI technology in fast food. Wendy’s plans to use the Google Cloud computing platform to improve the mobile ordering experience for customers and employees. AI and ML will identify repeat customers and customize their meals exactly how they like. Additional features will include suggesting new menu items to try based on order history and the ability to transcribe details to restaurant employees.
This is an exciting development for data and computer science professionals because it displays a clear-cut model for commercial AI usage. Wendy’s will be using AI to craft a better experience at its restaurants, driving growth simultaneously. If more establishments explore this route, demand for fast food AI could boom shortly.
The entertainment industry is built on creativity from all angles, making it an unlikely candidate for AI and ML applications. However, how technology is being utilized could lead to some exciting advancements down the road.
Arguably the most exciting AI innovation in the entertainment industry is the creation of the first cognitive movie trailer. IBM’s Watson AI was used to generate the trailer for the 2016 suspense film “Morgan.” It was trained to understand what makes a film scary and suspenseful and learned 24 different emotions that scenes throughout the movie were tagged with. While a human filmmaker made the final cut of the trailer, Watson cut it down from a 90-minute film to the six best minutes of trailer footage. This allowed filmmakers to create a trailer in only 24 hours.
Data and computer scientists should take note of the implementation of Watson on the “Morgan” trailer. It did not do creative work in the way a human can, but it generated a creative result using human-generated data and lessons.
3. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has opened AI usage to the masses, allowing smaller companies to implement AI even if they don’t have computer science staff or massive computing infrastructure. This is leading to a surge in new AI utilization in reaction to increased accessibility. In fact, 77% of IT leaders say “a unified platform for cloud, data, and AI” is a vital component for long-term success. This widespread availability of AI can allow for intelligent, predictive, and adaptive online shopping platforms, as well as vastly improved data management.
One example of cloud computing and AI collaboration is the popular communication platform Discord. Discord requires a robust architecture to handle video, audio, and text communication while users simultaneously play video games. The company’s thousands of user-created servers and voice chats are compatible with AI bots that allow everything from listening to music in a call to playing games in a text chat. Discord runs off Google Cloud out of 30 worldwide data centers to accomplish this.
Cloud computing is highly versatile, customizable, and scalable, allowing it to be tailored to the exact needs of organizations. Data and computer scientists can implement AI and ML solutions on private, public, or even hybrid cloud computing platforms to create highly accessible and innovative solutions for companies of all sizes.
Agriculture may not seem connected to cutting-edge technology, but AI and ML are keeping the industry alive as it grapples with labor shortages. For example, AI is making waves in the apple picking industry since a team of researchers at Monash University in Australia developed a robotic harvester. It uses AI to identify apples that are ripe and ready for picking and can harvest one every seven seconds.
In the future, researchers hope to use this apple harvesting technology to create AI robots that can harvest other fruits and vegetables and maintain farms. For example, an autonomous robot has already been developed that can “zap” weeds throughout farmland on its own. Agriculture is putting AI and machine learning to work in more tangible, physical ways than some other industries, indicating that this technology is applicable in the real world as well as the digital one.
5. Health Care
The health care industry is seeing some of the most incredible applications of AI, even some that were previously confined to the realm of science fiction. This sector is under intense strain in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Intelligent robots are in development that can successfully complete heart surgeries, sometimes even better than highly experienced human surgeons. They won’t be ready for human operations for years to come, but they can conduct some surgical procedures independently. This technology could prove highly valuable for intense, lengthy surgeries that require a rotating team of surgeons, allowing more time for breaks and rest. Additionally, if AI robots can one day perform simpler surgeries independently, hospitals could treat more patients sooner.
While it may be a decade or more before robot surgeons begin appearing in hospitals, AI is helping out with everyday health care through intelligent apps and trackers. A great example is Apple’s Health app on its watches. These smart wearables can detect falls, accurately monitor sleep, and track heart health data, features that have even saved lives on numerous occasions.
The AI-Powered Future for Industries Using AI
One thing all these applications of AI have in common is a goal to improve the quality of human life. Whether through a creative new approach to filmmaking or a life-saving heart surgery or even a quick checkout at a fast-food restaurant, AI and ML are being utilized to make the world a better place, one innovation at a time.