In the 1950s, the definition of artificial intelligence (AI) was simply the training of computers to do specific tasks. Today, Google AI researcher Francois Chollet states that AI is a machine’s capability to adapt to a new environment, improvising by using its stored knowledge. It is also a machine’s efficiency in learning new skills as it performs tasks in unfamiliar scenarios. Technology executive Boris Kontsevoi wrote in Forbes that machine learning (ML) identifies patterns in data and draws conclusions from these. ML develops AI and both need specific datasets to apply to specific tasks.
Any industry can use AI to increase efficiency, production quality, volume of output, and revenue in the modern world. Companies that leverage AI are outperforming their competitors.
AI in Medicine
AI was instrumental in the quick development of vaccines against the Covid-19 virus. Usually, it takes years to develop a vaccine against a specific disease. This time, it took only a few months after the start of the pandemic for several vaccines to be presented.
In February 2020, Baidu’s LinearFold AI algorithm predicted in just 27 seconds the secondary structure of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA sequence. This is 120 times faster than other methods and was used in developing messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. Later, Baidu’s LinearDesign AI algorithm was used to eliminate unstable and unproductive mRNA sequences in vaccines. In June, AI technology completed within 10 hours the genome sequencing of the coronavirus strain. In December, Baidu released PaddleHelix, an AI bio-computing framework for drug discovery, vaccine development, and precision medicine.
Likewise, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering released in February 2021 an AI vaccine design framework that can pinpoint the best vaccine options among many possibilities within seconds. In less than a minute, it can create a new vaccine for a new virus. In less than an hour, it can validate the quality of the vaccine.
USC Viterbi used raw data from the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB) that has more than 600,000 known epitopes from about 3,600 species. Scientists worldwide have been gathering data about Covid-19 and other diseases into this database. The study also included data from the Virus Pathogen Resource.
With AI technology, more pharmaceutical firms will hopefully develop new Covid-19 vaccines that are effective against mutations. To be able to meet the demand for vaccines worldwide, companies must also maximize the use of AI to hasten production and delivery.
AI in Industry
There are many uses of AI in manufacturing, from product development to delivery. AI can design prototypes, test these virtually, and reengineer these, if necessary, without production cost. Customized versions of the design can also be quickly created virtually.
In the production line, robots do tasks that humans cannot do or are dangerous for humans. They are also used for tasks requiring absolute precision, eliminating the possibility of human error, and repetitive tasks. Robots can learn to do rigorous quality control on products. Adding AI to robots gives them the ability to continue learning as they perform tasks. In other words, experience enhances their initial programming, and they progressively get better at what they are doing.
There are also collaborative robots or cobots that work beside humans in factories. These AI-equipped cobots can do various tasks and their spatial awareness enables them to detect and avoid obstacles.
Adding AI to equipment enables the prediction of breakdowns through sensors that continually monitor all parts of the machine. This, in turn, enables preventive maintenance that saves time and cost. A fully AI-automated factory is also cost-effective because it can function without lights and work continuously around the clock with no breaks, weekends, or holidays off.
Applying AI to inventory and logistics enables a company to accurately predict needs and avoid shortages in raw materials. It can automate its supply chain based on predictive analytics. Similarly, a company can automate its delivery system to avoid delays.
You may not have realized it, but AI is almost everywhere in the modern world. With the Internet of things (IoT), AI connects many gadgets and devices. There are currently smart versions of almost any home appliance that you can control even when you are away from home.
If you are using the Internet, your online behavior is being tracked by websites. AI learns your habits and provides the ads that are related to your interests in various platforms you visit.
Any business, big or small, can benefit from the use of AI. Through data gathered from customers, AI can provide targeted and customized marketing campaigns that are more effective in triggering purchases. As it learns more about each customer, it becomes even more accurate in predicting needs and wants. Indeed, artificial intelligence is getting smarter and smarter.
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