When it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI), there is no shortage of hot air and hype. Note that many companies are trying to get a piece of the digital gold rush (similar to what we witnessed during the dot-com boom).
Yet despite all this, there is true innovation occurring in AI. In fact, some of the new technologies are draw-dropping. The fact is that AI is experiencing an acceleration of progress.
So what are this year’s most important developments? Well, let’s take a look:
AI-Driven Medical Diagnosis: “In 2018, we saw artificial intelligence leveraged extensively in healthcare to help medical professionals accelerate and improve diagnoses by combing through mountains of data within 3D and 2D medical imagery,” said Sujai Hajela, who is the president, cofounder and CEO of Mist.
He points out some examples:
- The improvement of cancer detection rates in tissue by eight percent with iCAD’s ProFound AI for Tomosynthesis
- The improvement of “diagnostic accuracy” in imaging devices with Samsung Electronic’s “Ultrasound, Digital Radiology, Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) concept and [their] software innovations.”
Sheldon Fernandez, who is the CEO of DarwinAI, also agrees that some of this year’s greatest breakthroughs have come in the medical field. Here are some of the developments he considers important:
- Google DeepMind used AI to predict protein folding–the physical process by which a protein chain acquires its 3-dimensional structure — and won the overall protein-folding competition.
- AlphaFold shows the crossover potential of AI and deep learning to benefit humankind. This breakthrough regarding the configuration of proteins will help those in the health sciences field better understand what causes specific diseases and develop drugs to treat these illnesses.
Autonomous: The City of Las Vegas Innovation District launched the first completely autonomous electric shuttle on a public roadway in the US, which has carried more than 32,000 passengers. And yes, Google’s Waymo announced the commercial deployment of its self-driving rides, surpassing 10 million miles in 2018.
Talking: “At Google I/O, Sundar Pichai demonstrated Google Duplex, an AI based system that could call a local business and schedule an appointment over the phone using a natural conversation,” said Roy Raanani, who is the CEO and founder of Chorus. “In most cases, the humans did not even realize they were speaking to a computer.”
Translation: Microsoft leveraged AI to translate sentences of news articles from Chinese to English with the “same quality and accuracy as a person.” According Xuedong Huang, who is one of the company’s technical fellows: “Hitting human parity in a machine translation task is a dream that all of us have had. We just didn’t realize we’d be able to hit it so soon.”
Virtual Assistants: Of course, this technology has been around for a while. But for this year, virtual assistants have hit critical mass.
“For the first time, conversational search — the process of interacting with a technology and getting responses in the form of a natural conversation — serves as a conduit for contextually relevant and personalized interactions,” said Nicolas Dessaigne, who is the co-founder and CEO of Algolia.
Based on research from the “Voice Assistant Consumer Adoption Report 2018,” the number of voice-enabled digital assistant devices has grown to over 1 billion worldwide over the past two-and-a-half years.
Connected Supply Chain: In January, Amazon.com launched its wristbands that can track warehouse employees, so as to streamline factory order fulfillment.
“Amazon said that the wristbands can help employees improve time-consuming tasks such as inventory management,” Phil Friedman, who is the CEO of CGS. “Agility and automation in smart factories can allow the factory to adapt to changes with minimal intervention. Now with workers and technology working hand-in-hand, manufacturers can monitor and adjust in real-time.”
Recognition: This year Pindrop was granted the first ever patent on utilizing an end-to-end Deep Neural network for speaker recognition. The technology, which the company calls Deep Voice, can passively identify legitimate and fraudulent callers — solely by voice.
According to Dan Capozzi, who is the EVP and President of Credit Operations and Decision Management at Discover Financial Services: “Discover constantly seeks new ways to protect customers to help them continue to feel secure using their accounts freely and easily. Pindrop’s AI technology brings additional layers of convenience and security to our customer experience, while allowing us to provide excellent service at the speed of natural conversation.”