Written by: Allen Varghese
In our busy lives we are always confronted with a barrage of decision-making situations which suck up most of our productive time and then leave us fatigued from the cognitive overload. Would it not be great if we could hand these over to someone who could make decisions on our behalf and freeing us to do more with life? This is one of the ideas behind the huge push for innovation in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and huge interest in various Machine Learning Techniques. The obsession with creating a human-like interface escalated with the release of Iron Man movies where the AI assistant codenamed JARVIS (Just Another Really Very Intelligent System) interacts like a human satisfying the Turing’s test. This has caught the imagination of everyone so much that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that his personal goal for this year is to have an AI control everything at his home, which is an optimistic goal considering the fact that reusability of AI on a commercial scale based on building blocks is not yet available at an affordable price.
IBM created waves with their Natural Language Processing (NLP) dubbed Watson (shown in picture) which was the result of close to a decade of planning and engineering. The underlying principle is based on calculating the probability based on weights assigned to different options and then making a decision using a decision tree. To get a real-time response, they had to create a mini-supercomputer for the processing power which gave the illusion of a human conversation. They also added a context recognition engine which is very crucial in NLP and is an astounding feature of software engineering. The famous TV show Jeopardy was chosen as a use-case to launch IBM Watson which it won by a good margin and has since then diversified into other sectors like healthcare for providing diagnosis.
This all sounds very grand and dandy but can people who are not scientists or skilled engineers start using any form of AI or Machine Learning to improve their lives? Well all hope is not lost. If you have studied mathematics or statistics during your school years or undergrad, this is the time to brush up those skills. Companies like Google and Microsoft have released software packages like Tensor Flow and online platforms like Azure ML to provide access to everyone who would like to dip their toes in the water. Some programming experience would be helpful to get over the initial learning curve. With computing resources available on demand from Amazon, Google, Microsoft and other vendors, all it takes is your credit card and some spare time over the weekend to create a personalized system that can create a custom news feed that is curated specifically for your tastes and interests by combing through hundreds of sources online. And no, it is not as scary as it sounds! There is plenty of information available online like tutorials and community group discussions.
Another area of increasing interest is simulation. Finding the best solution in any situation based on considering all possible outcomes is a growing area. There are many applications to this field especially in Food Safety, Nutrition, Cosmetics and Health. At Creme Global our software tools enable better decisions across product formulation, health, consumer safety and innovation. Our Creme Nutrition services can help to understand and quantify the impact of a range of nutritional scenarios on consumers’ diets worldwide. Creme Care & Cosmetics is our unique software tool for consumer analysis and safety assessment of personal care and cosmetic products. To find out more about our software services and their capabilities, contact us.