Artificial Intelligence – Some applications

There has been much talk about Artificial Intelligence and how it will have consequences in our lives. Under the influence of science fiction films, we begin to imagine that computers, robots and machines in general will take over power and enslave us, the humans. But it is not like that.

AI is defined as the ability of a processor to perform cognitive functions that we associate with the ability we have to think. Those are functions such as recognising a face, understanding when someone is pointing at something with gestures and perceiving trends from the examination of available data. Technological advances in electronic circuits resulted in computers capable of processing huge amounts of data at very high speed. And it keeps moving forward. That is why there have been developed algorithms that are capable of performing increasingly complex functions, such as cognitive functions. But, no matter how complex the task, it is still a computer processing data through a program written by human people.

For example, the computer driving an autonomous vehicle must have the ability to recognise in the image taken by its camera that there is a policeman on the street. From the image processing, you have to recognise if it is a policeman who is signalling something so that the car advances, deflects or stops, or is not pointing at anything, or even if it is a policeman who is nothing more than crossing the street going to work somewhere else. And all that recognition process has to take fractions of seconds, as our brain does. We do it intuitively, based on our ability to recognise and reason. A machine has to do it based on a program it has loaded. Image recognition has many applications, and it is not necessary to wait for cars to drive alone to check them. Quality control in a production line, internal security in companies, recognition of documents such as invoices and remittances, control of absences and employee performance, improvements in logistics, the list seems endless. Think about how a computer can optimise the load of a truck based on the recognition of the available space, the travel plan and the knowledge of the dimensions of the packages that have to be distributed.

Another example but that has nothing to do with image recognition is in the processing of large volumes of data. In the classes on how to make a Business Plan, we have a chapter on projections, which we use to estimate the market and therefore the potential for future sales. Very important to make projections is to understand the correlations between the variables of a business. For example, participants are asked if there can be any correlation between economic growth and wine consumption, to which they answer, intuitively, that it is very likely that there is a positive correlation, that is, that people consume more wines as the economic results of the business are good. The same intuition is not so direct when participants are asked about the correlation between economic growth and salt consumption. Intuition is difficult because the answer has to do with more variables, which would be customs, types of food, products that can replace salt and others. Well, a computer can process a huge amount of historical data on the subject and weave the correlations between the variables much more efficiently and quickly than our brain in order to help us with the answer. It is the Artificial Intelligence used to improve business decisions. The result is that our market and potential sales projections will be more accurate by taking into account more variables and more correlations. Artificial Intelligence helps to improve business plans when you have historical data on which estimates can be made.

In the area of ​​human resources, AI can help a lot in the selection of personnel to be hired in addition to the choice of which employees should be assigned to a project based on their knowledge, education, results, preferences and availability. And, in addition, accompany their performance in each of their tasks. In Marketing, the applications are many. The portable computer, that is, the smartphone, may suggest that its owner should go to eat something in a certain restaurant based on its location, agenda for the rest of the day, means of locomotion, food preferences and comments from previous customers. The smartphone also notifies its owner when he must finish his meal and leave for the next commitment as well as the route he must take based on traffic, streets cut by maintenance.

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