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7 Ways We Use AI without Even Knowing It

The rapid evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) has spiked anxiety within the general public. It’s understandable, as we are watching major corporations hand jobs off to robots while we see viral videos of robot dogs opening doors, foreshadowing the final conflict between man and machine.

But the reality is AI is already a part of our daily lives, and in such a way that it’s unlikely people would dream of giving up any of AI’s convenience. Artificial intelligence has, for example, saved you from an embarrassing typo; and it’s probably shaved a year off your timeframe to retirement. There’s so much more!

With that, here are seven ways AI is already helping you in ways you probably didn’t even know:

1. Product recommendations from your favorite online shopping site

How often do you log on to Amazon for one item and end up with an entirely new closetful of clothing? The “suggested or similar products” on ecommerce sites are the product of artificial intelligence. It seamlessly generates a list of items related to your search history, so you can pair that new shirt with a fresh pair of jeans (or the new flat screen with a much-needed leather recliner).

2. Autocorrect that prevents embarrassing emails

Sure, it can be annoying, especially when typing one of those four-letter words—but how often has autocorrect or predictive typing stopped an embarrassing text or email? Auto-complete features on mobile keyboards and word processing software even use AI to predict what you’re about to type!

3. Hey Alexa; hey Siri; OK Google

Amazon introduced part of the country to its Echo in-home “smart speaker” with commercials featuring pop culture stars, and that’s AI powering those devices. Siri, Cortana, Alexa and other AI virtual assistants have become common and mainstream. Calling your parents, playing your party playlist, and getting Google Home to help with arduous math homework are done via help from voice recognition and natural language processing techniques that enable your conversations.

4. Getting you to your retirement quicker

Robo-advisory services have little to no human intervention; it’s the AI doing the jobs of portfolio managers and advisors. The robo advisor is more dynamic and responsive to market movements while understanding historical performances, too. There’s a good chance your 401(k) relies on AI and you don’t even know it. Welcome to the future!

5. Being the first in your group with that breaking news

Based on previously written stories and using outlines similar to templates, AI has been trained to compose and publish news stories on the fly. This is critical in a world of scoops and time to market. It’s used very often in sports or finance, so you know the moment your team wins or when your stocks enjoyed a good day. Artificial intelligence even knows how to vary words so it doesn’t come off repetitive or mundane.

6. Unique search engine suggestions

Isn’t it weird how Google and other search sites know that pressing question you need the answer to after only typing in a few letters? Chalk those few seconds you saved to AI, since search engines are leveraging AI to make better suggestions (and optimize click-throughs!).

7. Photo services that use image recognition to classify images based on people, scenes, and backgrounds

We’re not just referring to Facebook identifying what friends to tag in your new album. Nor are we mentioning how easy it is to add a location to your Instagram anymore. This is all about helping a brand understand its customers on a bigger scale: in self-driving cars, image recognition will keep you safe. An autonomous vehicle has to recognize all the images it views (signposts, people, vehicles) so the car and everyone inside it can arrive safely—and on time!

There are many more changes—some of them probably dramatic or revolutionary—but the reality is that AI is already here. You use it and rely on it in a variety of ways throughout your day. So, don’t fear AI. Recognize the role it plays and the value it provides.

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