5 Ways AI Is Already Changing Our Lives
Young Sohn, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung Electronics and Chairman of HARMAN’s board of directors raised an important question at the 2018 Samsung CEO Summit in San Francisco: If data is the oil of our time, what is the engine that makes this vast and valuable raw material a productive force in our world?
The answer could be artificial intelligence (AI). At the 4th annual Samsung CEO summit in San Francisco, CA, industry leaders, technical experts, investors, and startup entrepreneurs all came together to discuss how AI will profoundly impact almost every facet of our lives.
Here are the top five takeaways from the conference about how AI will shape our future:
1. AI is changing every industry, not just tech
To kick off the conference, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Samsung Catalyst Fund, Shankar Chandran, identified the key advances made by engineers and inventors over the years that resulted in AI being one of the driving forces of innovation. “Today, we are who we are by standing on the shoulders of giants,” Chandran said.
While AI has been around since the 1950’s, today we see more than just ideas or concepts. We see the technology, capital, and enthusiasm among entrepreneurs to use AI to anchor technological evolution in practically every field. “AI is shaping our future,” said Sohn, who delivered the event’s first keynote address. “And it is changing every industry in our world.”
2. Automated driving is only possible through infrastructure improvements
When it comes to automated mobility, just as with smartphones, infrastructure matters. Without robust data networks and open platforms that allowed developers to create innovative apps, the smartphone would have never reached ubiquity.
With automated driving, “we need to address the common issues for architecture, modularity, and standardization,” explained Sohn. “We need infrastructure like 5G, V2X, and open platforms.”
3. AI for a cure
Just as AI is revolutionary for automated mobility, Sohn described how AI can contribute to better healthcare. “As we are living longer, there is a tremendous opportunity for care that has to be addressed through technology,” said Sohn.
Another keynote speaker Daphne Koller, founder and CEO of Insitro, argued that in the pharmaceutical industry, costs are going higher and higher because cures are getting harder and harder to deliver. Koller explained how the low-hanging fruit of drug discovery has already been plucked.
Today, researchers pursue and abandon 10,000 molecules before they land on one that is ready to face the gauntlet of clinical testing and regulatory approval before it can become widely available, according to Dr. Koller. In the 1970s, Koller said, drug discovery costs averaged $100 million dollars; by the 2000s, that number had skyrocketed to $2.5 billion.
Enter AI. The amount of genomic data available for analysis is growing at twice the rate of Moore’s law, Koller explained, enabling biological data scientists like her to use AI to discover important relationships between demographics, environmental factors, and medical history data, in addition to genomic data. “We’re using AI to cure more people, faster, cheaper, and better,” Dr. Koller concluded. “This is the AI for good.”
4. Cyber-attacks? AI is your best fighter
The next speaker, Eli David, CTO & Co-Founder of Deep Instinct, turned the conversation from maladies to malware. In David’s view, last year marked a turning point in the cybersecurity space as more than 350,000 cyber-attacks – including 4,000 ransomware attacks – were launched every day, according to the Online Trust Alliance’s 2018 Cyber Incident and Breach Trends Report. The challenge for cybersecurity professionals, David explained, is that many of the new malware and viruses mutated from other viruses and current cybersecurity approaches are not able to recognize these small changes so damage incurred with each attack continues to rise.
For example, a single attack on June 27, 2017, left 20 percent of the world’s shipping supply chains dead in the water and wreaked havoc worldwide. According to Wired, the total cost added up to more than $1.2 billion.
David believes the solution is to use deep learning – a subfield of machine learning – in cybersecurity. The benefits, he said, of applying end-to-end deep learning to cybersecurity, is that it allows us to do real-time detection and prevention of cyberattacks. “Because it’s instantaneous, it can stop the attack before it starts. It can perform real-time classification of what kind of malware it is and the best and most important part is that it can detect new threats, those new mutations, those new families [of cyberthreats] that render all currently available solutions useless,” said David.
5. AI needs talented people who ask the right questions
At the end of the day, new technology is designed to help people. Speaker Andrew Ng, founder and CEO of Landing AI, argued that every company and organization needs its own AI strategy, specific to its industry and business model.
“What does it take to turn a great company into a great AI company?” Ng asked. His advice was to bring talent in-house. Although working with an outside partner can build momentum faster, NG believes the most valuable projects require deep domain expertise that only an in-house team can provide. His advice? Start with a small number of AI projects to build momentum, and empower the AI team to execute on a sequence of increasingly higher-value projects.
Ng emphasized that each enterprise needs its own infrastructure to collect data, with a centralized data warehouse that makes accessing the data efficient for the engineering team, adding that companies must also take a thoughtful approach to regulations and engage in public-private partnerships.
This point was echoed by Regina Dugan, former Director of DARPA and the founder of Google/Moto’s ATAP and Facebook’s Building 8, during her fireside chat with Sohn. Dugan outlined how working with regulators doesn’t mean slowing the pace of innovation, it means being more thoughtful about the work of innovation.
DARPA has a level of agility rarely seen in government agencies, according to Sohn. Dugan described the nature of DARPA projects as use-inspired efforts, meaning they simultaneously include product development and research so as to produce breakthrough results. Speed and agility are central to good innovation, according to Dugan. Sohn concluded that he is optimistic that when leading innovators work together and engage in ongoing conversations with lawmakers and each other, they can use AI to address some of the world’s biggest issues: inequality, poverty, food production, drug delivery, climate change, safety, health, and much more.
As Sohn said at the beginning of the conference, “AI is the world’s greatest technology for answering questions. Now, how do we ask the right questions? To do that, we don’t just need hardware, software, and data. We need something else – purpose.”