What is artificial intelligence and how is it used?
It is the present and the future of technology. But what exactly is artificial intelligence (AI) and how is it already influencing our lives?
Definition of artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the ability of a machine to display the same capabilities as human beings, such as reasoning, learning, creativity, and the ability to plan.
The IA allows technological systems perceive their environment, relate to it, solve problems and act with a specific purpose. The machine receives data (already prepared or collected through its own sensors, for example a camera), processes it and responds to it.
AI systems are able to adapt their behavior to a certain extent, analyze the effects of previous actions and work autonomously.
Why is AI important?
Some technologies with intelligence have been around for more than 50 years, but advances in computing power, the availability of huge amounts of data, and new algorithms have enabled great advances in AI in recent years.
Artificial intelligence plays a central role in the digital transformation of society and has become a priority for the EU .
Its future applications are expected to bring big changes, but AI is already present in our lives.
Find out more about the opportunities and challengesof artificial intelligence and how Parliament wants to regulate it .
Software: virtual assistants, image analysis software, search engines, voice and face recognition systems
Integrated artificial intelligence: robots, drones, autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things
Artificial intelligence in everyday life
Below are some artificial intelligence applications that you may not have been aware of using this ability.
Internet shopping and advertising
Artificial intelligence is widely used to create personalized recommendations for consumers, based, for example, on their previous searches and purchases or other online behavior. AI is very important in commerce, to optimize products, plan inventory, logistics processes, etc.
Searches on the web
Search engines learn from the vast amount of data that their users provide to deliver relevant search results.
Personal digital assistants
Smartphone mobile phones use AI for a product that is as relevant and personalized as possible. The use of virtual assistants that answer questions, give recommendations and help organize the routines of their owners has become widespread.
Language translation software, either based on written or spoken text, relies on artificial intelligence to provide and improve translations. This also applies to functions such as automated subtitling.
Smart houses, cities and infrastructure
Smart thermostats learn from our behavior to save energy, while smart city developers hope they can regulate traffic to improve connectivity and reduce traffic jams.
Although self-driving vehicles are not yet widespread, cars already use AI-powered safety features. For example, the EU helped finance the vision – based driving assistance system VI-DAS , which detects potential dangerous situations and accidents.
Navigation relies heavily on AI.
Artificial intelligence systems can help recognize and fight cyberattacks and other online threats based on the data they continuously receive, recognizing patterns and preventing attacks.
Artificial intelligence to fight Covid-19
AI has been used in thermal imaging cameras installed at airports and elsewhere. In medicine, it can help recognize a lung infection from a test called a CT scan. It has also been used to provide data to track the spread of the disease.
Some AI applications can detect fake news and misinformation by extracting information from social media, searching for sensational or alarming words, and identifying which online sources are deemed authoritative.
Find out more about how MEPs want to regulate data law to promote innovation and ensure security.
Other examples of AI applications
AI is intended to transform almost every aspect of life and the economy. These are other examples:
Researchers are studying how to use AI to analyze large amounts of health data to find patterns that could lead to new discoveries in medicine and other ways to improve individual diagnoses.
For example, researchers developed an AI program that responded to emergency calls and claimed it detected cardiac arrests faster than a doctor could.
Furthermore, KConnect , co-funded by the EU, is developing search and text services in multiple languages that help people find the most relevant medical information available.
Artificial intelligence could improve the safety, speed and efficiency of rail traffic by minimizing wheel friction, maximizing speed and enabling autonomous driving.
Artificial intelligence can help European producers to be more efficient and power factories in Europe again by using robots, optimizing sales routes or with timely predictions of necessary maintenance or breakdowns in “smart factories”.
The EU co-funded research project SatisFactory uses collaborative augmented reality systems to increase job satisfaction in “smart factories”.
Food and agriculture
AI can be used to build a sustainable food system : it could ensure healthier food by minimizing the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation; improve productivity and reduce environmental impact. Additionally, robots could remove weeds and reduce herbicide use.
In the EU, there are already many farmers using AI to control the movement, temperature and feed consumption of their livestock.
Public administration and services
By using vast amounts of data and recognizing patterns, AI could anticipate natural disasters, enable adequate preparedness, and reduce their consequences.