Debates on the benefits of and threats from artificial intelligence are moving on. Projections of mass unemployment due to the loss of routine work are becoming more balanced by realisations that maybe 65% of children in primary school today are going to have jobs that don’t exist yet!
The roles of Governments are being seen less as subsidising declining business sectors and mass unemployment and more as preparing and retraining people with new skills to implement breakthroughs in all sectors of industry and services. The reduction of drudgery in the workplace allows the integration of AI with HI – combining it with human intelligence to develop a hybrid augmented intelligence and release a tidal wave of human creativity and innovation.
The more predictable areas where AI is going to make a swift difference is anything that involves scrutiny of a mass of information. In some aspects of this, the ability to identify patterns, trends or links among the mass of so much data that is available these days is becoming beyond the scope of individual humans. We’ll look at some examples of this, and also take a look at a more humanitarian example where AI is beginning to make a positive difference in areas that were once thought to rely on the “human touch.”
The future of work
Perhaps the first thing to do, though, is to educate tomorrow’s workforce about AI. Career opportunities are being created everywhere in new tech and multi-disciplinary hybrid AI. As an example, Canada’s need for qualified AI workers is growing exponentially, and most of the country’s educational institutions are struggling to keep up with the rapidly evolving market.
The Canadian government has part-funded the AI Pathways talent development programme to inform and educate Canada’s youth about the learning pathways and career strategies that are available to them. Much of this is done by encouraging them to provide AI-based solutions to open innovation challenges posted by the Agorize platform relating to three core sectors of Sustainability, Work and Education, and Social Equality.
The use of AI by Fintech startups is disrupting the financial services sector almost beyond recognition. Major consumer brands that have taken hundreds of years to establish their reputation are being eclipsed by a whole number of new kids on the block.
One vulnerable finance sector is mortgage loans for people to buy homes. The UK’s £270bn mortgage market is still heavily dominated by the “big six” consumer banks. In 2018 they accounted for nearly 70% of all mortgage lending, though mortgage decisions can still take weeks to process and cause some fallout due to deals and buying-chains that collapse in that time.
Startup M:QUBE plans to use AI to shake up the UK home loans market from early 2020 by using artificial intelligence to extract data about borrowers more quickly, and from more sources, than conventional lenders and the credit agencies they use. Co-founders Stuart Cheetham and Richard Fitch have already raised a £5m seed round of investment from institutional backers.
DigitalStreet is a service being pioneered by the UK’s HM Land Registry that holds the records of all property ownership in the country. They are using Al to provide a comprehensive service to homebuyers and the professional advisors they turn to. Many people find moving home a daunting process. DigitalStreet claims over 50% of UK homebuyers in 2018 were ill through stress and damaged relationships with their partners. There are plenty of pain points to help people navigate.
Early in the moving process DigitalStreet will be able to address a number of important issues, particularly when people are moving to a new area they are unfamiliar with. Maybe the movers want to maintain a lifestyle, and require the locations of gyms and fitness centres, theatres, galleries, cinemas or sports clubs. Perhaps they want to check environmental issues such as local air pollution levels; the level of participation in community matters and activities; maybe they have personal safety concerns and want to know about crime statistics; or the cost and reliability of public transport to commute to their workplace. This will all be sourced through AI to be available from a single provider.
According to figures from technology investment company Atomico, healthtech is the third most dominant industry in European technology, with around $2.6bn invested in 2018, up from $1.6bn in 2017.
Healx, is a UK startup co-founded by one of the inventors of Viagra. It has raised $56m in Series B funding to expand the rollout of its artificial intelligence technology that hunts for new treatments for rare diseases by making predictions about how those diseases might respond to drugs that already exist.
Historically, literature reviews are a critical part of the scientific process. By reading as much of the available literature as possible, researchers may reach conclusions that are more reliable than those from individual studies. There is a risk of missing something relevant if a topic is not well-studied, or, conversely, being utterly overwhelmed by the number of potentially relevant studies if a topic is well-studied. AI can help to solve this problem because computers can sort through science papers much more quickly.
In a test, a manual search and an AI search for articles relevant to a particular skin condition produced similar results, with a 77% duplication of articles found by both methods. However, the manual search took a researcher four hours a week for four months, and the AI search was completed in three hours.
In October 2019, Authenticity.AI, a US global leader in AI solutions for legal and compliance industries, announced the launch of an automated court transcription service. By using AI and natural language processing (NLP), the application analyses the sounds captured by digital court recording software and transcribes them from audio or video to court formatting approved transcript files.
This brings immense cost and time savings to a historically labour-intensive process, and also allows court reporters to review, modify and approve their final transcripts for accuracy before publishing them.
AI for social service provision
Since 2012, StreetLink has run a UK nationwide system to provide members of the public with a way to notify local authorities when they see a rough sleeper so that support teams can be alerted. But there’s frequently a recurring problem of incomplete information that makes it hard to locate each rough sleeper, and on average only one-in-seven are found by response teams.
By using information from past decisions, data scientists have created a machine learning model to automatically categorise alerts, giving StreetLink an immediate ability to prioritise them. With rough sleeping in London currently hitting record highs, the AI-based solution will be implemented for the first time during the coming winter months.
BOLD Awards 2020
All of these startups would make strong claim in the BOLD Awards AI category. Or maybe you have worked on an alternative AI-based initiative that promises to make an outstanding breakthrough.
Entries are currently open to 31 December 2019. After a January round of public voting followed by an assessment by a panel of international judges, the final black-tie award ceremony takes place 27 March 2020 on the campus of H-Farm, a major startup accelerator and digital educator, near Venice in Italy. Make your entry here, if you think you’re BOLD enough.
Main image source: Authenticity.AI