17th February 2020

AI trends to watch out for this year. 

AI trends to watch out for this year.

It’s no secret that technology is constantly innovating and expanding and each year we get closer to those crazy sci-fi movies from the 80’s (still waiting on my hoverboard though).

What artificial trends can we expect?

It’s no secret that technology is constantly innovating and expanding and each year we get closer to those crazy sci-fi movies from the 80’s (still waiting on my hoverboard though). This inevitably has impacted our daily lives dramatically and we’re in a time where a single generation has gone from getting all their information from newspapers and television to having a world’s worth of information in their pocket.

2019 saw the widespread use of facial recognition software for phones, 5G being rolled out across the country, drones, and countless others. Now we’re at the start of a new decade, what sort of new and innovative artificial trends can we expect? Here are a number of specifics we believe will become more prolific this year:

 

Everything will be smarter

We’ve seen the rise of ‘smart devices’ more and more over the last few years; from Alexa devices in our homes, to being able to verbally ask your fridge for ice. These devices are becoming integrated with everyday tasks and will become even more so through this year as more devices become ‘smart’ and the technology continues to evolve. As the technology becomes more efficient and more universal, this may also lower costs for the devices themselves, causing them to become much more common. Who knows when you’ll come across something like a fingerprint controlled padlock, AI controlled heating and lighting… and a shower that can play your favourite songs!

 

Apps beating stores

We’ve seen some of the most recognised high street stores close completely over the last few years as they haven’t been able to compete and/or adapt with online stores. With lower costs and being accessible anywhere with internet access, it appears the incentives are big enough to change the way we shop and consume. This isn’t specific to stores, services like Uber could very well become the main method of public transportation over traditional taxis due to its ease of use with its app. The generally lower cost properties on AirBnB are making an impact on hotel and B&B chains, not to mention the colossal change between physical media (such as movies and songs) to digital platforms, and the list goes on.

With phones and technology becoming more and more advanced, this trend is likely to only increase as we shift to controlling more and more of our life from our phones. Will furniture stores start closing down as people shift to using AR (Augmented Reality) to see where furniture they can purchase online will fit? Or will more bank branches start to close as people opt for an efficient online-only bank? Current trends would point to yes. In many areas, online is beating traditional.

"We’ve seen some of the most recognised high street stores close completely over the last few years as they haven’t been able to compete and/or adapt with online stores."
Anthony Southworth
Ads watch you sleep

The fact that this title isn’t entirely untrue is scary enough! With the increase of listening devices and social media platforms, the fight for your data and privacy is certainly a difficult one, and one we’re almost certain to see continue to develop throughout the year. Acts such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) introduced in 2018 show that people and governments are taking notice of the rapid rise of personal data being captured by companies. Certain legal proceedings also have come to pass based on the concern of what information companies are taking about us.

However, advertising could be the difference between an astounding success and a bankrupting failure in business, so along with new technologies, new methods are being developed to convince consumers to give them their attention, their data and their money. One example of this is implementing ‘Emotion AI’, where your device or a camera somewhere can use facial coding to see how consumers react to certain adverts, and then tailor their ads based on the responses.  Such as showing more of a particular part of an advertisement which received more positive responses, or to wide spread particular parts of an advert across multiple devices/locations if the response is deemed mostly good.

 

“You would love this…”

Speaking of advertisements, you may know of ‘targeted advertising’, such as when a website that shows relevant ads based on your browsing history and habits. Google does this by collecting your data when you use their services, then providing online businesses with a simple bit of code to show advertisements within.  Then when a user accesses a site with this bit of code, Google will recognise the user and provide them with targeted advertisements based on the data collected on them.

Even this isn’t considered enough by businesses, especially as it can be relatively easily avoided if someone doesn’t want their data recorded. So now companies like Amazon are looking at AI driven personalised marketing, meaning AI will be programmed to take into account as much information as it can gain from your digital footprint and use algorithms to determine and predict what products you want and what ones you will want in the future. (E.g. “This person has been looking at properties online, so I’ll show them a deal on home insurance!”) Not only that, it can also have systems in place to generate the advertisement dynamically to capture your attention and interest. Though it’s too complex to deconstruct here, the sort of examples the AI could consider in creating an advertisement specifically for you are:

–   Do you respond to limited time offers?

–   Do you like animals?

–   What are your hobbies?

–   What age are you?

–   Where do you live?

–   What TV/films do you like?

–   Do you commute for work?

And so on….

 

Chatbots are getting…chattier

A basic ‘Chatbot’ is essentially a program that is able to give and receive data based on certain commands. For example, going to a company’s Facebook page and asking “What are your opening times?” in the chat, a ‘chatbot’ would be triggered to respond and give them a predetermined, automatic response. This allows an easier way of customers getting information on a business without a human needing to monitor and respond to them.

Lately, the most popular systems that are technically Chatbots are home devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and so on. These work on a similar principle as “Receive Request” to “Provide Output”, but with much more advanced layers in between. This includes the use of AI’s to understand voice commands said in a natural way. Thus allowing a sentence such as “Alexa, I was just wondering what the time was in New York please?” to be interrupted by the Amazon system as “Current New York Time”. More AI logic will then kick in at this point to allow the system to work out what data is required. So for instance; if the system gets a request including the term ‘weather’, it will then connect to the MET offices (or a similar service) data via integrations to be able to retrieve current weather information.

 

Cyber security

As evident by everything outlined above (and much more), technology is only continuing to grow and grow exponentially, however this also means there’s also more avenues for potential cyber attacks to come from. Even a complex and sophisticated system, due to having so many processes and functions, may have an exploitable vulnerability that can lead to things such as data and identity theft.

To combat this, cyber security is also growing to match the increased risk of an ever growing digital world. The standard online safety rules apply: Never give out your password, don’t engage with unknown email addresses, always use a firewall, and so on. Additional counter measures can be applied though, utilising some modern technology practices, such as biometrics to make a fake authentication dramatically more difficult.

 

Some things you should keep in mind are:

Implementing 2-factor or multifactor login’s whenever possible. This could be requiring a fingerprint scan and entering a pin to unlock your phone.

Using a card-reader to access your online bank account.

Additionally always update your system and programs whenever prompted, yes Windows likes to pick the worst times to try and do an installation, but that update could contain critical security updates to protect you and your data!

Basically adopt any additional security measures the system you’re trying to access allows.

 

To sum up…

So that is an overview of some of the trends we can expect to see this year. There is plenty to look forward to, as well as look out for. With the constant advances in technology, we can expect better and smarter devices that change and evolve the way we interact with the world around us and with each other.

 

Author:

Anthony Southworth