What’s Artificial Intelligence and How is it Useful?

You’ve probably been using it already, even if you didn’t realise it. Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are some of the most commonly used artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, but it doesn’t stop there.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence is the term normally used to describe a machine responding in a manner that resembles the human mind. This can take shape in several ways, such as understanding human speech – as Siri does – or learning and resolving problems accordingly – such as autonomous driving.

The term artificial intelligence was originally coined in 1956 by John McCarthy, although the field of AI has been around for quite some time before that. It is based on the principle that the human mind can be fully understood to the point where a machine can emulate it. In other words, it relies on mathematics, psychology, linguistics and philosophy. More recently, it has become more common to hear about it due to its increased use in everyday objects, like smartphones.

What’s it used for?

The application of AI is very much limitless at this point. The spectrum can go from household appliances to military strategy, from online shopping to financial decision making.

One of its most interesting, recent applications is in the world of trading, artificial intelligence is already being used to detect and warn traders of biases. It can be used to help the trader compensate for human biases and innate heuristics. A machine can operate completely free from human emotion and biases, therefore assist more objective and better decision making. If we put this in an investment and financial operations context, there is an obvious advantage to it. In fact, Capital.com already uses AI at the heart of its CFD trading app.

Is artificial intelligence dangerous?

As with any technological advancement, its misuse could prove problematic. However, we don’t need to start preparing for a Terminator-styled war against the machines just yet – even if Tesla and SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk has sworn to prevent the creation of a Skynet. For the time being, risks of rising evil super machines are just science fiction. As machine learning progresses, both the market and industry will find a way to ensure the technology is used responsibly.

Can we expect it to become mainstream?

In short, it already is. All the big names in tech such as Facebook, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and Apple are heavily invested in the advancement of artificial intelligence. There are new uses for AI being developed across several industries – health, finance and agriculture, to name a few. It is being hailed as the next big thing in tech, even though it has already arrived, and there are still many more advancements to watch for in the sector.