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AI a Jack-of-All-Trades, From Disease Prediction to Advancing Accessibility for the Disabled

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Artificial intelligence took off last year and has left no industry untouched in its wake. It was the launch of ChatGPT that saw interest in the AI subfield, generative AI, exploding, and everyone making use of the technology both as a consumer and service provider.  

According to a McKinsey survey, the majority of organizations (55%) are now utilizing AI in at least one business function. This makes sense, given that AI is influencing everything from sales, marketing, and customer services to security, data, technology, and other processes.

A Look into AI and its Ability to Transform Industries

AI, a concept around since the 1950s, is the intelligence of machines. It is the ability of a machine to perform cognitive functions much like humans. 

Human intelligence is what sets us apart from other living beings. It is the ability to learn new things, rationalize, adapt, solve problems, plan, improvise, and take action. Intelligence is the foundation for human experience, and now we are recreating it artificially in scientific endeavors. As a result, today’s AI systems demonstrate some of these traits of human intelligence, including learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and perception.

So, AI is simply the simulation of human intelligence in machines. Machine learning (ML) is a subset of AI that refers to computer programs’ ability to learn from data and adapt without human assistance. 

Then there’s deep learning, which enables this automatic learning via huge amounts of data resources such as text, images, or video, which are too vast for humans. Deep learning uses neural networks, which is based on the ways neurons interact in the human brain — to absorb data and process it. Three types of artificial neural networks used here include feed-forward neural networks, convolutional neural networks, and recurrent neural networks.

Machine learning and deep learning allow AI to carry out more complex tasks by processing data that enables them to detect patterns, make recommendations and predictions, and then adapt to new data and experiences.

Click here for the list of 5 best AI & digital biotech companies.

AI’s Wide Use Cases, Shaking Up Industries

All the advancements in AI tech over the years have allowed it to be used across various industries, finding its application in almost every business sector. 

For starters, chatbots help improve the user experience online. Natural Language Processing (NLP) is used to make the conversation sound human and personal. These AI-powered assistants can also have real-time engagement with customers. According to Servion Global Solutions, 95% of customer interactions will be powered by AI by 2025. 

In the field of media and entertainment, AI is bringing in a new era of efficiency and creativity. From artists to filmmakers and game developers, content creators are harnessing the power of AI algorithms to generate scripts and narratives. 

AI is further being used to facilitate real-time language translation in write-ups, videos, podcasts, and other multimedia formats that make the content accessible to a broader audience. Building on this, the tech analyzes linguistic subtleties and facial movements to help facilitate lip sync translation. This enriches the viewer experience and transforms how audiovisual content is synchronized across different languages.

Moreover, synthetic actors portraying a real person within digital environments, customer-focused advertising copies, and autonomously generating news articles and summaries are other ways AI is helping the media industry.

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This technology is also influencing our lifestyle, primarily via autonomous vehicles. Companies like Tesla, Toyota, and Audi are using machine learning to build self-driving vehicles, provide driver assistance, and ultimately remove the need for a human operator. In this sector, AI is also being used for spam filters, facial recognition, and to provide customized recommendations for increased engagement. 

AI is also making its way deeper into the education sector to help improve faculty productivity by automating administrative tasks such as personalized messages, managing enrollment, and handling other routine issues. It further helps personalize learning material, create smart content, and provide Voice Assistants for extra learning material or assistance.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, though, as AI has vast usage, including in navigation for accurate and detailed information, in human resources to ease the process, in agriculture to help harvest crops at a faster pace and higher volume, in gaming to create human-like NPCs, and in finance to improve a wide range of services. 

Moreover, AI is finding its usage in data security to identify unknown threats, flaw identification, threat prevention, and recognize uncharacterized actions. Besides helping with traffic management, ride-sharing, and route planning in the travel industry, AI is also providing support in quality control, inspection, and supply chain management. 

Then there is robotics, where AI is commonly used for sensing obstacles and pre-planning journeys. Soon, artificial general intelligence (AGI) will also be a reality, which means machines will have the intelligence to perform and accomplish intellectual tasks that only humans can do currently. Organizations like OpenAI are working on creating a technology to surpass human intelligence. 

AI to Make the Internet More Accessible

As we pointed out, AI is changing almost every sector, and even then, it’s not all the extent of its usage. For instance, Ohio State University researchers are developing an AI agent to make the internet more accessible for people with disabilities. This AI agent will be able to navigate the intricate system of the web to complete complex tasks on any website using simple language commands.  

According to the study presented at the 37th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) in December, there are increasing barriers to accessing the internet, on which we rely for our daily life and work. To remove such obstacles and lessen the disparity, especially for people with disabilities, the study used information from live sites and created web agents.

These online AI helpers leverage a deep learning algorithm and large language models (LLMs) to work much like the way we humans do when browsing the internet. The model created can understand the layout as well as the functionality of different websites just by using its ability to process and predict language.  

To develop this solution, the team first created the dataset Mind2Web for general web agents. Researchers used 137 different real-world websites for more than 2,000 open-ended tasks, such as following celebrity accounts on social media, booking international flights, and scheduling tests at the DMV, to train their agents. 

According to study co-author Yu Su, who’s an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at Ohio State, it was largely because of their model’s capability to adopt the complex and dynamic nature of today’s websites and handle the constantly developing internet that their agents were a success. Su said:

“It’s only become possible to do something like this because of the recent development of large language models like ChatGPT.” 

Ever since the chatbot became public in Nov. 2022, millions of people have used it to create content. Recently, ChatGPT creator OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman revealed that the latest version of the chatbot GPT-5 will be released this year with video functionality and more accuracy. According to Altman, AI will not only change the way we work, but advances in technology will “help vastly accelerate the rate of scientific discovery.”

In addition to Mind2Web, researchers at Ohio State also introduced a framework called MindAct, which uses both small and large language models to perform tasks. By using both models, the team found their framework can outperform other common modeling strategies and understand various concepts fairly.

Once the model is refined, it could be used alongside open-and closed-source LLMs like Flan-T5 or GPT-4, noted the study, which is supported by the National Science Foundation, the US Army Research Lab, and the Ohio Supercomputer Center.

Amidst all this, the study highlighted the ethical problem of creating flexible AI, which, while it can be extremely helpful to humans in many ways, like surfing the web, can turn the internet into an unprecedentedly powerful tool by enhancing systems like ChatGPT. 

“On the one hand, we have great potential to improve our efficiency and to allow us to focus on the most creative part of our work,” said Su, adding, “But on the other hand, there’s tremendous potential for harm.” This could be in the form of spreading misinformation or misusing financial information.

According to Su, we all should be “extremely cautious” about these risks and must work together to mitigate them. He did point out that the advancement in AI through continuous research will help society experience major growth in the years to come.

AI’s Big Role in Healthcare 

Another area where AI is turning out to be a game-changer is healthcare, enhancing different aspects of this industry.  

Healthcare is an important part of our lives to prevent diseases and improve quality of life. However, the industry faces the problem of inefficient processes and surging medical costs. Here, AI can completely change the face of healthcare by streamlining processes and aiding in researching lifesaving medicines by combining historical data and medical intelligence. This way, organizations can reduce their R&D cost while increasing the output.

AI-enabled virtual assistants, meanwhile, are helping people by reducing unnecessary hospital visits and saving health professionals’ time in the process. Chatbots can also be used to schedule patient appointments, provide information, fill in patient information, and handle insurance inquiries. 

Medical establishments can further analyze patients to discover insights and suggest actions with greater accuracy to lower mortality rates and increase patient satisfaction. The patient data, such as medical history and genetic profile, can also be used to provide personalized medications and best treatment plans. Hospitals can also make use of AI for market research to optimize services and create optimal marketing strategies for brand management and marketing.

On top of it all, the technology is being used to build sophisticated machines that can detect diseases and help analyze chronic conditions to ensure early diagnosis. 

Recently, a new study funded by the Swedish Brain Foundation, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Swedish Research Council, and others used machine learning to predict severe multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that is unpredictable, with the progression varying considerably from person to person. 

It is believed to be an autoimmune disorder, meaning the immune system attacks the person’s own body. In MS, a fatty compound called myelin is attacked to damage nerves in the brain and the spinal cord. This is because myelin surrounds and insulates the nerve axons to allow signals to be transmitted, which gets affected when it is damaged.

So, to discover a way to detect the disease at an easy stage, researchers from Linköping University, the Karolinska Institute, and the University of Skövde all came together for this study. 

Researchers analyzed about 1,500 protein samples using machine learning. It was actually the first study to measure such a large amount of proteins with proximity extension assay (PEA), a highly sensitive method, in combination with next-generation sequencing (NGS). The tech used allows for more accurate measuring of very small amounts, which is particularly important as these proteins are present at very low levels a lot of the time.

The study found that a combination of 11 proteins can predict both short-term — a particular protein called neurofilament light chain (NfL) was a reliable indicator for this, and long-term disease activity and disability outcomes. This combination of proteins was later confirmed to be consisting of MS patients in a separate group. 

Moreover, these proteins must be measured in cerebrospinal fluid instead of in the blood to have a better idea of what’s happening in the central nervous system. These proteins can further be used to tailor treatments for each patient depending on the MS’s expected severity. 

Click here to learn about the growing synergy between AI & neuroscience.

Companies Leading the AI Way 

With AI becoming the norm and revenue from the AI software market worldwide expected to reach $126 bln by 2025, everyone is jumping onto this bandwagon. But some companies are making a big splash in the sector with innovative machine learning implementations:

1. Microsoft

The tech giant offers a business AI assistant, Office 365 Copilot. Microsoft, which is the biggest investor in OpenAI, recently rolled out an AI-powered tool, “Reading Coach.” 

finviz dynamic chart for  MSFT

With a market cap of $2.9tn, MSFT shares are trading at $398, up 4.74% YTD. The company’s revenue (TTM) is $218.3bln, EPS (TTM) is 10.33, P/E (TTM) is 38.14, and it pays a dividend yield of 0.76%.

2. Tesla

The company manufactures electric vehicle models with autonomous driving capabilities. Its CEO Elon Musk refers to Tesla as an “AI/robotics company” and once claimed they’re developing “the most advanced real-world AI.”

finviz dynamic chart for  TSLA

With a market cap of $673.55bln, TSLA shares are trading at $209.20, down 14.72% YTD. The company’s revenue (TTM) is $95.92bln, EPS (TTM) is 2.10, and P/E (TTM) is 68.28.

3. Luminar Technologies

The company produces advanced LIDAR-based vehicle vision products. Its sensors use fiber lasers that allow self-driving cars’ AI-based software systems to have an in-depth look at their environment. 

finviz dynamic chart for  LAZR

With a market cap of $1.095bln, LAZR shares are trading at $2.19, down 35.9% YTD. The company’s revenue (TTM) is $58.79bln, EPS (TTM) is -1.50, and P/E (TTM) is -1.44.

Final Thoughts

2023 brought AI into the mainstream, and as the popularity and use of the technology grows, its performance will also see major growth through continuous research and investment. Already, AI’s flexibility is transforming various industries, and as we advance, its applications will only drive innovation and industries further. As Su said, it will “save people time and make the impossible possible.” 

Click here to learn all about investing in artificial intelligence. 

Gaurav started trading cryptocurrencies in 2017 and has fallen in love with the crypto space ever since. His interest in everything crypto turned him into a writer specializing in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Soon he found himself working with crypto companies and media outlets. He is also a big-time Batman fan.