The One Costume You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of This Halloween: AI

By Elaina Ransford

Sinister artificial intelligence has dominated the news this year — from malicious bots to killer autonomous vehicles. Despite the headlines, though, most forms of AI are as harmless as the plastic spider hanging onto your front porch pumpkin. In fact, most people use some form of AI at least four times throughout their day — be it checking the weather report, unlocking their phone with facial recognition, or even checking gmail.

Indeed, AI has become so ubiquitous in the everyday functions of our lives, that we walk right past it without ever noticing how it’s helping. AI isn’t a specter of mass destruction; it’s the friendly ghost getting us through many of our daily functions.

From Healthcare to Your Friday Night Take-Out Order: Artificial Intelligence is Everywhere

AI is omnipresent in our lives. In fact, it’s critical to at least 22 different industries, including IT, Marketing, Sales, Manufacturing, Hospitality, and Customer Service. Most AI in our lives isn’t flashy; it’s used to power real-time analytics, predictive analytics, natural language processing, pattern recognition, image recognition, and machine learning. These functions aren’t always apparent to users, though. They run in the background of such mundane-seeming applications as the weather app or your Spotify Discover playlist.

For instance, the healthcare industry is heavily reliant on AI and Machine Learning for numerous functions, including image-based diagnoses. Machine learning algorithms can detect the presence or absence of TB by looking at X-rays with 96 percent accuracy, a higher success rate than any human radiologist. Similarly, Google’s DeepMind has developed an AI that uses pattern recognition/clustering to detect breast cancer by looking at mammograms.

The company’s AI can also detect diabetic retinopathy, a diabetes-related complication, as accurately as ophthalmologists. AI in healthcare promises to cut costs for hospitals and consumers by billions of dollars, while improving accuracy in the process.

AI isn’t just used to save lives, though — it’s also critical for such mundanities as pizza delivery and tracking. Many delivery services, such as DoorDash, use real-time and predictive analytics for delivery location, traffic, and food prep time to find the most efficient delivery route and to offer real-time delivery tracking and updates to customers. The service might not be as flashy as a self-driving car or an AI doctor, but the benefits that artificial intelligence delivers to customers are extraordinary.

Introducing the Business of AI and Bots Playbook

These are just two of the many, many functions and industries that AI has contributed to. To give business leaders a comprehensive go-to resource to brush up on where AI, machine learning, and bots are used across industries, Helpshift developed a Business of AI and Bots Playbook. This playbook includes brief introductions to the different types of intelligent technologies available on the market along with a number of their associated use cases.

Industry professionals can refer to this to quickly grasp the breadth and depth of the AI landscape today. Every month there will be new content in the form of written interviews, podcasts, and other visuals featuring leaders in the space. From healthcare, to pizza delivery, to sales and marketing, to hyperloops — we explore how artificial intelligence is contributing to our economy and the technological landscape.

There’s Plenty to be Afraid of This Halloween, But AI is Here to Help

Chances are, as you go door-to-door, buy candy, and plan your costume, you’ll be using AI in the process. For instance, most large eCommerce providers use AI to offer personalized product suggestions, particularly during holiday seasons. In fact, as early as 2013, 35 percent of what customers purchased on Amazon came from algorithmically suggested products.

Once you’ve bought your costume online, AI’s there to help during trick or treating as well. Google Maps, Waze, and other directions/mapping apps use predictive analytics to create optimized routes based on user data.

There’s plenty to be afraid of this Halloween, from over-eating candy to getting lost in a corn maze. But while AI is present in almost every area of our lives, it’s there to improve accuracy, efficiency, convenience, and speed. When you order your costume, check Google Maps for the best route home, or even just unlock your phone in the morning — remember, artificial intelligence is the one to thank.

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