The sensationalist hype around AI has a lot of people believing that the technology may be too advanced or too technical for their businesses to take advantage of. This is false. AI is here now and you can start using it today.
What can you do with AI today?
In casual conversation, people tend to conflate "narrow AI," where a training set is crafted to perform specific tasks, with the inevitable (but not yet created) AGI "artificial general intelligence," which (in theory) will be able to learn to do anything and possibly be self-aware. It's an easy mistake to make, but it is a mistake nonetheless.
The AI tools outlined below do specific tasks and they all have certain features in common. Almost all of them allow you to work with unstructured data. They all have the ability to assist you in data-driven decision making, and all have interfaces that let non-technical people use AI for real projects and get meaningful results. For example, today you can use AI for:
- Visual recognition tasks including face recognition, automatic tagging, metadata and video indexing
- Speech to text
- Text to speech
- Language translation
- Natural language classification and processing
- Cognitive content moderation
- Voice recognition
- Recommendation engines and semantic search
- Photo filtering and enhancement
- Sentiment analysis (social media, email, etc.)
- Automating workflows
- Pattern matching and pattern finding
These tasks can be applied to an incredibly wide range of business problems and processes. With that in mind, here are five AI clouds you can start using today.
1. Amazon and Machine Learning on AWS
Far and away the most popular suite of cloud-based AI tools, Amazon Machine Learning on AWS (Amazon Web Services) is the industry leader in several areas of AI as evidenced by the company's own use of its technology. Amazon machine learning tools help Amazon increase productivity in fulfillment centers, power its recommendation engine, enable Alexa Voice Services and even fly its drones.
2. Google AI
Google AI has some of the world's most sophisticated AI tools. Google's Brain Team is in charge of organizing the internet. All of it. And its Deep Mind subsidiary created AlphaGo, AlphaGoZero and AlphaZero, the AI system that ultimately taught itself to become the best Go, Chess, and Shogi player in the world. Google Translate not only translates, it can provide an augmented reality experience that literally transforms words on your smartphone screen from a language you do not speak to the one you do. So it should not surprise you to learn that Google AI has a large suite of pre-trained models and a service to generate your own tailored models.
3. Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services
Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services has an impressive array of AI tools you can try for free. It offers excellent vision recognition tools, a full suite of speech and natural language tools and comprehensive knowledge processing models for search, translation, spell check, content moderation and text analysis.
4. IBM Watson
Watson, famous for beating Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter (the two best human players at the time) on "Jeopardy" in 2011, now offers a full suite of cognitive computing tools and enjoys a robust developer community.
MonkeyLearn offers easy-to-use text analysis with machine learning. You can apply it to all kinds of projects such as social media sentiment analysis or finding common threads in a million email messages. The company also offers a toolset to help implement natural language processing features.
The promise of AI
In practice, AI exponentially amplifies the power of the human brain. Experts believe this increase in productivity will equal or exceed that of the steam engine, which exponentially amplified the power of human muscles and enabled us to build the world we live in today. If AI achieves a fraction of what has been promised, we are on the cusp of a massive digital transformation. At the very least, using some of these exceptional AI tools will help you increase productivity right now. And, building on that success, the knowledge you gain may help you innovate in ways you have yet to imagine.
Author's note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.