This week saw Google launch its latest range of products, including the Google Home and the latest iteration of its smartphone, the Pixel 2. The launch starkly drove home the point that machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be the drivers for future growth.
So what basically is Machine learning? It basically means the computing device is able to learn things by itself without being explicitly told (programmed) to do so. One of the biggest advertisements for machine learning came in the 90s, when Deep Blue, an IBM machine, beat the then reigning chess champion Garry Kasparov. Now, with further progress in technology, virtual assistants are now fast becoming part of our everyday lives. The launch offered a peek into just how much our lives have become entwined around various AI devices.
The first such assistant was Apple’s Siri, which made its debut with the iPhone 4S. Now, it has a lot more rivals led by Google Assistant, Alexa (Amazon), and Bixby (Samsung). The virtual assistant allows us to do a lot of things just with our voice. You don’t even need any screens to run the AI. Alexa and the Google home devices are the perfect examples of screenless AI. And the advent of AI is not restricted just to mobile phones today.
We have driverless cars (albeit in testing stage), software testing (which is causing a whole lot of job losses), robots to chatbots on social media.
The field is vast, and things are only going to get bigger.
After all, data is the new gold. As the machine learns from interactions, it also gathers data to do so. The data can be used for targeted advertising, for starters. After all, Google is a company, which runs on data, and the more, the better.
Now comes the vital concern: privacy. Just how much of our lives are we going to put online? The question of data security is very vital. Last month saw two major data breaches.
As our world goes increasingly digital and we become more dependant on virtual assistants, more and more parts of our life (and data regarding it) are now online. The capabilities of the technologies are limitless. Unfortunately, so is the risk of its misuse.