Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT make the perfect partnership. Read on to find out why:
IoT collects data. A lot of it. From sensors monitoring the quality of the air we breathe in Smart Buildings to connected airport luggage carousels, connected devices are collating huge quantities of really useful data. However, this information is only useful if we are able to analyse and process it effectively, and often this task is far too large for humans alone. This is exactly where AI steps in. AI can help to connect the dots – by analysing patterns within Big Data, and eventually making decisions or predictions accordingly.
It isn’t just big data that needs to be analysed in order to get the most out of our connected devices, it’s individual, often extremely personal, data too. The kind of information recorded by wearable health devices, for example. In order for a wearable medical device such as a blood sugar sensor or heart monitor to work properly, it needs to contain decision-making technology – AI. Connected wearables can alert medical professionals to changes in our vital signs, such as an irregularity in our heart beat or a change in our sugar levels, but to do this the device needs to learn what is irregular or different for us as individuals. This is only possible through machine learning – health care professionals do not have the resources to do this for each individual patient. Monitoring of patient-specific data using connected wearables is an innovative step in medical tech, but it is impossible without AI.
If data about our health can be monitored by robots and used to save lives, information about our personal likes and dislikes can be used to make our everyday lives better. We can see this in practice already from YouTube content suggestions based on our browsing history to Spotify learning our favourite rock bands and suggesting others like them. AI technology learning about our personal preferences could soon make shopping an easier and more personalised experience. AI could also make our home and working environments more comfortable and more efficient. As well as Smart Home AI systems like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, this year will see a whole host of personal robot systems on the market to improve our lives at home and at work.
Is AI dangerous?
Of course there have been concerns expressed about the use of AI voiced by world-renowned scientists such as Stephen Hawking, who said last year that AI would be ‘either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity’. However, it is worth remembering that the kind of AI we are referring to here falls mostly under the category of machine learning – that is the subfield of AI that is focused on prediction through learning behaviours and patterns.
AI is already present in our everyday lives – whenever we buy something from Amazon, or watch something on Netflix, AI is learning about our preferences and reacting to them by prioritising our choices for next time. This will happen more and more as Smart Homes and Buildings become more mainstream and our lives become ever more connected. Connected working environments will adapt to our habits and preferences, and our everyday health and well-being could soon be looked after for the most part by non-human monitoring through IoT-connected wearables and AI.
The combination of IoT with AI is a perfect match, one without the other is inconceivable. We must embrace AI and all the benefits it can bring, whilst learning the best way it can work for us and our connected world.