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Blog Sep 09, 2016
Leverton
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Can AI Algorithms Outperform Humans?

A chilling concept on one hand and an essential part of modern society on the other, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of technology’s hottest topics – ushering in plenty of fervent debates. Easy-to-grasp examples of AI are now commonplace, as it’s become a practical reality: from Google Translate and speech recognition tools like Apple Siri, to robot journalism and big data analytics, to smart cars and smart homes. The applications are boundless.

No matter what you call it — deep or machine learning, cognitive computing or just smart machines – Artificial Intelligence is an important technology and an incredible step forward. But at some point, you may have found yourself wondering: can the algorithms that drive AI eventually outperform humans?

It’s a serious consideration. While humans can stay up working the whole night, their overall performance and accuracy level is affected. AI has no such problem. Machines don’t need to waste time on sleep.

In the future laid out in science fiction, Artificial Intelligence overpowers humans and takes over the majority of their tasks. Real life, however, is a lot different. AI is limited to a narrow set of tasks and still needs humans to provide context, frame problems, generate hypotheses, and decide which types of algorithms apply.

But AI investments nearly reached $1.2 billion in 2015, signalling rapid growth of the sector and equally rapid advancements in technology. How will humans and technology play together? While some are quick to posit that technology will overtake humans, for the time being it seems that AI is more suited to do certain tasks more efficiently. In other words, it won’t take over human jobs, but rather take over some of the work.

Looking at the legal or real estate industries as an example, we see that Artificial Intelligence is allowing for greater efficiency and transparency on a larger scale. Work is not completely taken over by AI algorithms but processes are significantly enhanced and simplified with the help of intelligent technology. The market for Enterprise AI systems is likely to increase from $202.2 million in 2015 to $11.1 billion by 2024, as more businesses understand the value of algorithms and big data to their operations.

One thing is for certain: humans, whether at work or leisure, no longer have to deal with unintelligent devices that require frequent input and supervision. Artificial Intelligence is creating a higher level of technological performance across a variety of industries. Anything beyond that – like a robotic apocalypse – is still pretty far off on the horizon.

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