This week, most major publications reported the death of artificial intelligence (AI) pioneer, Marvin Minsky, who died on 24 January at the age of 88. In a nutshell – and without overwhelming us all – Minsky was instrumental in laying the foundation for analysing artificial neural networks and for a lot of the work that is still being done today in AI.
For most of us, we see AI as futuristic – the fodder of the movies, where a frequent theme is the machines becoming smarter than humans and either seeking to enslave us, or threatening our continued existence. Further, we in the Caribbean, may believe that our citizens and societies are still quite removed from AI – with our ‘Third World’ and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) challenges. However, AI has permeated our societies, and is shaping not only the way we live, but how we do business. Below are just a few examples of areas that have benefited from AI technology, some of which touch our lives directly.
- Video games. Most video games have integrated some AI into their design in order to provide users with not only a highly developed and customisable experience, but also an adaptive and dynamic environment where the game itself responds, and to some degree, evolves to the gamers specifications and choices.
- Flying drones. Although much has been made over the last several months of Amazon.com’s use of drones, flying drones are commercially available and are already being used in the Caribbean. In the region they tend to be used for aerial photography and geographic information system (GIS)-related activities.