AI is going to hook us – commercially and humanely

It’s a common phenomenon to see people totally engrossed online. Our mobiles, laptops, iPads keep us engaged. But…hold on, there is something slowly but surely sneaking into our lives -Artificial Intelligence (AI). In fact, artificial intelligence has actually started changing our lives – in ways that are sometimes obvious and sometimes, less obvious and subtle.

Recently, it was brought to our notice, that Saudi Arabia has become the first country to issue a ‘robot citizenship’. The robot, named Sophia, was confirmed as a Saudi citizen during a business event, and it is believed that this step is an attempt to promote Saudi Arabia as a place to develop artificial intelligence.

While robots in particular seem to fascinate humans, they represent only one visible form of AI. Two other developments are balanced to change the way we use the technology: voice recognition and self-driving cars. Google, Tesla and some other companies are developing cars that drive themselves, blurring lines. Threatening to disrupt the automobile industry, these new innovations will also change the way we work and play.

While I am on the topic of AI, it was centre-stage at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 (GES 2017) at Hyderabad.  “Made in India robot becomes Modi’s ‘Mitra’, beamed a headline. We saw for ourselves that ‘Mitra’ is a robot, Made in India, which can also do just about anything like – meet your customers, interact with them, conduct  discussions, provide customer support, welcome guests and while we are at it, ‘Mitra’ can go beyond the normal and can tweet for you!

Indeed, ‘Mitra’ was the centre of attraction at GES-2017, as it welcomed PM Modi and Ivanka Trump. According to the originators of Mitra, it can be wear many hats – a party photographer, an intelligent DJ, and an entertainer too. So, what does that spell for us in the future?

Now, it seems AI can be used for highly critical, serious life-saving activities. Yes, AI is gearing up to lead suicide watch on FB; it will spot suicidal tendencies in users through their posts. Facebook will use artificial intelligence to spot posts that indicate suicidal tendencies in a user. Then it is projected that it will then reach out to such users, connecting them to suicide helplines. And, so ‘breaking’ was this news, that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg received over 1.2 lakh likes on a status update that announced this. He explained – “Today, these AI tools mostly use pattern recognition to identify signals — like comments asking if someone is okay — and then quickly report them to our teams working 24X7 around the world to get people help within minutes. In the future, AI will be able to understand more of the subtle nuances of language, and identify issues beyond suicide as well, including quickly spotting more kinds of bullying and hate.”

Currently, one can report FB posts that indicate self-harm, and FB review team then reaches out to the person who posted. They claim they have developed ways to enhance tools to get people help as quickly as possible. For example, their review team can quickly identify which points within a video receive increased levels of comments, reactions and reports from people on Facebook. Tools like these help reviewers understand whether someone may be in distress and get them help.

Last but not least, I now turn to something that has us all deeply engaged – ‘selfies’. And, we have heard of people losing their lives while taking selfies by actually risking their lives. Now, there is an app to thwart ‘risky selfies’.

Researchers have developed an app that deters people from clicking “dangerous selfies”. Incidentally, this free app called –  ‘Saftie’,  and the way it operates is like this – it will detect accident-prone areas through the phone’s location or detect potential sources of accidents in the shot to be taken. It then alerts the user with a message advising them not to click the picture.

Apparently, this was the result of a study that analysed the incidence of selfie deaths, and it was found that between March 2014 and September 2016, there were 127 deaths, out of which 76 came from India, which is the highest globally. Saftie should engage people enough to bring down this alarming statistic!

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Shree Lahiri
Shree is the Senior Editor at Reputation Today and hopes to move from one focus area to another in the editions that will be released this year. Having worked in Corporate Communications teams, she has experience of advertising, public relations, investor and employee communications, after which she moved to the other side – journalism. She enjoys writing and believes the power of the pen is indeed mighty. Covering the entertainment beat and the media business, she has been involved in a wide range of activities that have thrown open storytelling opportunities.

She can be reached at: @shree_la on twitter

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