You may or may not be aware of how pervasive AI is in our everyday lives already. According to one survey of 6,000 consumers, while only 33% of people think that they use AI, over 77% use an AI-powered service or device. It’s not surprising that people are unaware of all the ways AI touches their lives. After all, the development of AI surged over recent years as researchers made strides they didn’t expect to make for another several decades.
So what are some common uses and applications of AI? You may be surprised to learn that it can be anything from advanced robotics to the voice search function on your smartphone. We’ll dive into more specific examples below.
In this article, we’ll cover:
What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence is a specific branch of computer science concerned with replicating the thought process and decision-making ability of humans through computer algorithms. There are many different branches of AI that can create and do different things. Some types complete simple tasks, while others are much more complex. Some AI programs adjust their own algorithms, and some specialized algorithms are so advanced they can beat human experts in their given fields.
Examples and applications of AI
So what are some examples of AI? Well, it can be almost anything. Your smartphone uses AI, as do services like digital assistants, chatbots, social media websites, and much more. Many home electronics also use AI, such as robot vacuum cleaners or security systems. And, of course, there are classic examples of auto-navigation and robotics.
Below, we’ve outlined applications in greater detail so you can understand how AI impacts everyday life.
Perhaps the application used by most people would be the digital assistants on our various pieces of technology. If you have a smartphone or laptop, you probably have and use digital assistant software to some degree.
Some of the most popular digital assistants include:
- Siri (Apple)
- Alexa (Amazon)
- Cortana (Microsoft)
- Google Assistant (Google)
- Bixby (Samsung)
Another common application of AI is search engines. Search engine algorithms utilize AI to refine and show better results without the intervention of programmers. You can see this in action on Google if you search a question. You’ll see a section called “People also ask” and if you open one of those questions, it will spawn two more related questions below.
An even simpler example is Google’s auto-complete answers when you type in the search bar. An AI algorithm gathers data on what people search most often and uses that to populate predictions you can use to navigate.
Popular search engines include:
Social media platforms are another common way people interact with AI. All major social media platforms run off AI-powered algorithms which are designed to serve specific purposes. Most use algorithms to determine what their users like and serve more of that content, to keep the user engaged. Many also run AI algorithms to gather and store user data to use for advertising purposes.
You can train your social media algorithms to show the content you like by creating filters, or searching carefully for what you like, and purposefully interacting (liking, commenting, sharing, etc.) with things you enjoy.
Popular social media platforms include:
- Facebook (Meta)
- Instagram (Meta)
This is probably one of the least obvious ways people interact with AI in their daily lives. Many online shopping and ecommerce platforms use AI to streamline their customer experience in a variety of ways.
As a customer, you may experience AI through:
- Personalized product recommendations based on previous shopping activity or customer profile.
- Pricing optimization based on supply, demand, or previous shopping activity.
- Chatbots to provide instant responses to customer service or technical issues.
- Shipping and delay estimates.
As a business owner, you may consider implementing AI in the following additional ways:
- Sales and demand forecasting to help you manage your inventory in the face of increased or decreased demand.
- Creating customer profiles and segmentation to boost sales.
- Smart analytics to show in real-time how your business is performing.
The word “robot” probably makes many people think of sci-fi movies like Star Wars or shows like Star Trek with their humanoid, intelligent robots. Though those may seem futuristic or even far-fetched, in reality, many robots already exist in our world. You may even own some, or something produced by one.
Robots are used in a myriad of fields to streamline production or keep workers safe. They handle repetitive tasks or anything deemed too dangerous for a human worker. Some examples of industrial robots include:
- Aerospace: You may be familiar with the Mars rovers NASA has landed over the years. These are programmed to explore, gather samples and send transmissions back to Earth to provide data from Mars that an astronaut would be unable to obtain. Most recently, NASA sent the rover Perseverance to Mars to gather samples and search for signs of ancient life.
- Manufacturing: The use of robots in assembly lines dates back to 1961, when General Motors introduced a robot to assist with welding and transporting die casings (jobs deemed too dangerous for humans). It continues to this day, streamlining production and providing safer working conditions for humans.
- Hospitality: Particularly in recent years, the hospitality industry has adopted robots to help complete simple tasks and fill in for worker shortages. These can do things like check-in guests at hotels, mix drinks at cafes, deliver meals to tables in restaurants, and more.
Transportation and Navigation
You’ve probably heard of self-driving cars, whether in a sci-fi show or in the news from recent attempts by various companies. But there are more ways that AI is utilized in transportation. Most major map software uses some kind of AI to interpret real-time traffic data and provide routes and ETAs. Additionally, many aircraft use an AI-powered autopilot that takes in weather conditions and flight data to set the course.
In fact, studies show that the application of AI in transportation has made it safer, more efficient, and more reliable.
Other examples of AI in transportation and navigation include:
- Traffic management systems take in real-time data about the road, weather, and traffic conditions to predict heavier traffic flows and congestion.
- Direction apps such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze all use location data collected from users to determine traffic, ETAs, and more.
- Rideshare apps, much like direction apps, use AI that takes in location and environmental data to give ETAs, predict road conditions, and set fare rates.
Text editing and autocorrect
Another example of AI in the palm of your hand (if you have a smartphone, anyway) is autocorrect and other text editing software. This software takes input from generalized dictionaries and common use but also learns from your specific patterns to pick up the words you use most frequently and help you spell them.
Other online text editors like Grammarly or Hemingway App take standards of style, length, and grammar, and compare them to your texts, generating reports on errors and readability stats. Some of them also analyze other online content in real-time to compare for originality.
If you have an account with any major bank, chances are they use AI in their fraud detection and prevention systems. These work by analyzing thousands of transactions, and recognizing normal patterns so they can flag suspicious activity. These programs can auto-decline anything suspicious and flag an investigation, as well as notify the individual for verification.
Since AI can process large amounts of data all at once, it’s useful in identifying patterns and using those to make predictions. Businesses can then use these predictions to make informed decisions or prevent possible future issues.
Common uses of predictive AI include:
- Maintenance: Tracking previous repairs and general wear and tear on parts in equipment allows AI to predict when maintenance needs to happen, preventing inconvenient breakdowns or possible accidents.
- Modeling: Predictive modeling uses data mining and probability forecasting to predict and estimate future outcomes.
Perhaps surprisingly, AI has been in the field of gaming for years. Over the years, many AI systems were designed to play various games as the developers worked on building software that would learn. AIs have beaten human champions in Chess, Go, StarCraft 2, and also on the game show Jeopardy.
Of course, many games also utilize AI in their development to continually increase interest and incentives for users to keep playing. Some games that use AI include:
- Minecraft: uses AI to generate unending virtual environments and adapt to the player’s style.
- F.E.A.R: uses enemy AI to allow characters to learn and adapt to the player’s movements in game.
- The Last of Us: has a dynamic AI for each non-player character allowing them to react differently to the player character depending on their specific choices.
From robotics in hospitals and clinics to predictive software used to diagnose rare diseases, AI has many uses in the field of healthcare. Doctors and medical staff work with AI-powered software to provide better care to patients of all types.
Some uses of AI in healthcare:
- Early diagnosis: AI can analyze patient and disease data to predict the likelihood of a patient developing a disease and either diagnose it early or help to prevent it entirely.
- Disease tracking: Using predictive analytics, AI can model how a contagious disease could spread over the course of time or across a specific area.
- Drug discovery: AI models can discover new applications or potentially harmful interactions between different drugs.
Like many of the above examples, AI has numerous applications in the field of advertising. From offering dynamic ads based on demographics or location to AI that can write the copy itself, AI drives the field of advertising and marketing forward.
Examples of AI in advertising:
- Ad creation: AI software can be trained to write copy or even make images based on interaction and purchase data.
- Dynamic presentation: Many ad platforms allow you to create ads that present different images or text based on customer demographics or location, personalizing the ad experience.
- Budget optimization: Some ad platforms use AI to help determine where an advertiser’s budget goes, focusing budget spending on the best-performing ad on the most cost-effective days and times it to the best-performing ad, day, and time.
Finally, another common use for AI is in the field of data science and analytics. One of the most common uses is in predictive analytics, but AI can also be useful in data analysis. Most crucially, using AI analytics helps companies to scale their analytics and allows them to have accurate data at a much quicker rate than before.
Some common uses for AI in analytics are:
- Forecasting: Taking in historical data and creating a reasonable forecast of what you can expect to see in the future.
- Predictive analytics: Predicting trends and future results based on historical data.
- Business monitoring: Real-time analytics on all key data points, from revenue to cost to customer experience.
Business and AI
While that list of examples may seem extensive, it’s certainly not all-encompassing. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of other ways AI touches everyday life for consumers.
For businesses, the application possibilities of AI may seem overwhelming. But it’s important to consider how to adopt AI to grow your business, or risk being left behind as the technology evolves. One easy way to do so is with AI analytics. Learn more about how Tableau helps our customers succeed with AI analytics today.