The latest popular American TV show “Westworld” deals with a concept that may become a reality in another 20 years or even before. If you haven’t seen it already, it is a show where human-like AI populates a park designed to look like the Wild West America. Visitors (actual humans) pay huge money to visit the park to live out wild adventures. If a host gets “killed” it is cleaned up, its memory is wiped and starts a new iteration of the old script.

Ironically, people are still waiting for the “Robotic Era” to begin. Everybody is bracing for this “21st century big bang” that would ultimately see the rise of robots – good and evil. Here’s something for you all to think.

Who is Siri? Just a random dude who is mostly sarcastic and occasionally sensible? What do you think of your mobile app that count your daily steps, monitor your activities and show real-time analytics? How do you get a fraudulent alert from your bank whenever a suspicious transaction occurs? You browse for a product on the internet and then within minutes, an ad of the same product pops up on your tabs. Coincidence? It’s not!

Your smart phones, car, bank, and house – all use artificial intelligence on a daily basis. Sometimes it is obvious when you use navigation, voice-based instructions etc. Sometimes it’s less obvious when you get notified by your bank or e-commerce site about an exciting offer on a product that you so dearly wanted. It is safe to say that the utopia that we have all been dreaming about is already here!

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Humans are naturally programmed with observational, logical and analytical chips that allow us to acquire new knowledge and skills. Us demigods, then put similar chips inside machines to make existing processes, functions and life in general easier. While earlier computer applications made things just better but did not fully control the outcome, artificial intelligence has taken the world by storm by acting just like a human being.

Not long ago, the world twirled over the news that Lee Sedol, an 18-time world champion and one of the greatest in the ancient board game GO, was beaten 4-1 by DeepMind’s (A Google company) artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo. It happened at a time when the general belief was that an AI strong enough to beat a professional Go player would take at least a decade more to build. This totally crushed the concept that a fully-unleashed Artificial Intelligence is still beyond human reach.

Today, AI has strong presence in areas such as healthcare, logistics & supply chain, automobile and business applications. Coupled with Internet of Things (IoT) and big data, it has revolutionized the digital world and opened endless possibilities. Tech-giants such as Google, IBM, and Tesla have already made whopping investments on various R&D initiatives.

Google’s self-driving car is developed using an algorithm that lets the car to learn driving just the way humans do: through experience. Tesla’s Autopilot made autonomous driving a reality. At an additional cost of $ 4,250, the customers could buy a “technology package” that includes sensors, camera, front radar and digitally controlled brakes. Through a software update, the car could manage the speed, steer within, change the lanes and even park itself!

Dominos, in partnership with Starship Technologies, is all set to start robot pizza deliveries in Europe this summer. This six-wheeled, 18-pound little guy can carry about 4-5 medium pizzas, cross streets, climb curbs and move at a casual 4mph. The latest on this list is Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announcing new cloud-based artificial intelligence services targeting healthcare and manufacturing. The Alibaba Cloud compasses of a medical brain and an industrial brain which will deconstruct information for customers and enable large scale data mining and modelling.

On a closing note, that day is not far when a robot tells you to “put that dessert down” after monitoring your real-time sugar level which would, in all probability, be off-the-charts. Or even that day when you no longer need to hobble around looking for a parking spot as your self-driving car will return to your own car porch after dropping you off at work.

What a time to be alive!

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