#05: Digging into an AI-driven Future

Are you still having a hard time figuring out the concept artificial intelligence (AI)? What is it and which AI-solutions can we expect in the coming years? 

The commonly accepted definition of Artificial Intelligence states that AI is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.

However, AI is much more complicated than a dictionary definition. 

Founder and CEO of Iris.ai, Anita Schjøll Brede, joined the Future Forecast podcast to guide us through the complicated world of AI. Beyond her newest start up venture, Anita has four previous start ups under her belt, is a two-time TEDx speaker, and was named one of the Forbes Top 50 Women in Tech.


What is AI?

Artificial intelligence is certainly a complicated matter, simple examples can help us to understand AI concepts.

When working with traditional computer systems and calculators, one plus one always equals two. However, when it comes to AI one plus one may not be so simple.  AI comes to an answer based on the data it has already collected. In the way that human brains work off of our lived experiences, these computers work off the data they have seen, and work more like a human brain than a traditional computer. 

The term artificial intelligence is an umbrella term in the industry that applies to any technology in the field - everything from learning algorithms to artificial super intelligence that we see in science fiction movies.   

AI does not have to be ultra-complicated to be useful. In terms of application, we are already using AI technology in our everyday lives. The technology in our phones that allows us to identify faces and objects in pictures, Google predictive search, and the chatbots that allow us on demand customer service on our favorite e-commerce sites are most likely AI.

Groundbreaking AI technology is being used to help solve the world’s biggest problems. According to Forbes, BE Power is using AI to improve operations and enable predictive maintenance, while American Express is using AI to help detect fraud in real time. Recently, an AI-powered microscope has been developed that is able to identify and count Malaria parasites in blood samples. This means millions more may have access to safe and accurate healthcare in places where doctors are not always available. 

How smart is AI?

While an AI-powered microscope is certainly impressive and life changing for many, this technology is not yet able to truly function as a human brain does. This AI works off picture recognition, meaning it can scan data quickly to recognize malaria parasites. However, it lacks the ability to talk to patients and get a full picture like a doctor can. 

Many worry about an apocalyptic AI-driven future, where machines are thousands of times smarter than humans. While this may be a reality is science fiction blockbusters, it is clearly not the case in the foreseeable future. The immediate future of AI lies in using the technology to perform tasks at which computers are simply more efficient. When it comes to creative and strategic tasks, humans will always outperform machines. However, when it comes to processing huge amounts of information, machines are the clear front runner. From sifting through thousands of pages of research for a literature review to organizing legal documents and identifying cancer – the future of AI will impact every industry.  


  • Interested in learning more? Listen the Future Forecast episode with Anita Schjøll Brede for more on the future of artificial intelligence: