In 1950, English mathematician Alan Turing proposed a question that changed the very course of history — can machines think?
Turing had already achieved quite a bit in his career, having broken several Nazi encryption patterns — most notibly, the Enigma code — that enabled Allied forces to gain intel into the movements and strategies of the Axis powers. If that wasn’t enough, he is also credited with inventing one of the earliest prototypes of the computer.
Turing was not actually searching for an answer to the question ‘can machines think?’ — partially because he found it difficult to define what ‘thinking’ even was. However, in asking the question (71 years ago), he did foresee the degree to which computers and automated technology were set to change our lives.
Broadly speaking, AI refers to the ability of a machine to think and exhibit behaviour that mimics that of humans. More specifically, many engineers now define AI as the ability of a system to adapt to new circumstances and apply knowledge to unfamiliar environments.
Traits that are commonly associated with human intelligence include planning, learning, reasoning, problem solving, perception, and creativity. While some technologies currently defined as ‘AI’ (think virtual assistants) display elements of these behaviours, you can expect this to increase significantly in the near future. This exciting area of technology is already having a substantial impact on the industry of Android and iOS app development.
How does AI work?
To work efficiently, an AI machine needs data — lots of data.
There are several different ways in which AI systems use this data to mimic human thought patterns and behaviours. The main two are known as ‘machine learning’ and ‘deep learning’:
The aim of machine learning is to develop computer systems that have the ability to access and use data without human intervention. This data can be used for a variety of purposes — a simple example is Netflix showing you recommendations for shows you might like based upon your viewing history.
Considered a subset of machine learning, deep learning relies upon artificial networks that mimic the neural networks in our brain.
Deep learning machines learn by example. Filtering through layers of information, a deep learning system is trained to make decisions as humans do. Driverless cars, for example, use deep learning to recognise that they must stop at a red light.
There are several other subfields of AI that are currently being developed and harnessed to improve existing technologies. These include neural networks, cognitive computing, and natural language processing.
AI use in mobile apps
Artificial intelligence has long been touted by app developers as a technology that is set to change the way we use our smartphones forever. It is only now that we are beginning to understand the effects of this innovative technology.
AI has a wide range of applications in mobile app development, including:
Ever wondered what powers Siri? Well, the answer is artificial intelligence.
Siri relies on two forms of AI to understand mobile users and translate their words into action; speech recognition and natural language processing. Siri’s capabilities are quite extraordinary, particularly when you consider the wide varieties in accent and tone of our natural speaking voices.
For eCommerce stores, live chat acts as a substitute for real customer service representatives, checking in with browsing customers if they need any assistance or have questions. The next evolution of customer service? The chatbot.
Chatbots are already used on many websites. However, the developing capabilities of AI mean that their functionality is likely to improve significantly over the next few years. There are chatbots that can only respond to set questions and those that are more advanced, with the ability to learn via an artificial neural network.
There’s text search, there’s voice search, and very soon there will be visual search.
Spot a vase at your local cafe that you really like? Simply snap a pic and search it via Google’s visual search. While this particular technology is still in its infancy, in a few years, you can expect the search engine to pull up the exact vase you have your eyes on, complete with available stockists and best prices.
Never before has security been so important. Thanks to AI, we are able to protect our devices and privacy in an innovative and improved manner. Tools such as Face Unlock on Apple’s smartphones use AI processing to analyse facial biometrics and only unlock the phone to approved users. Biometric security is expected to play a big role in online privacy and mobile app development moving forward.
Transform your customer experience with AI
Many business owners are just starting to understand the degree to which AI can transform the customer experience. As artificial intelligence is driven by data, businesses are being granted the opportunity to completely personalise their advertising, products, and services, to meet the needs of their evolving customer base.
When it comes to iOS and Android app development, incorporating AI technology is not an easy task. Rather, it takes a trained and experienced team to identify how AI can improve app functioning and implement the required technology.
Looking to build an app that engages users and transforms the customer experience? Speak to a mobile app development team today about the far-reaching power of AI.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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