May 17th is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD).
What is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day?
In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the UN General Assembly to declare May 17th as World Information Society Day to focus on the importance of information and communications technology.
The theme of this year’s telecommunications day is “Enabling the positive use of Artificial Intelligence for all.” AI represents a new phase of technology that will pave the way for the digital revolution and make telecom providers more efficient.
As the world becomes more dependent on technology, AI will continue to transform our daily lives. We might not realize it, but AI already plays a significant role in our day-to-day routines. Here are some examples of how AI is used around the world.
We’ve all been there: stuck in traffic, frustrated that you chose the wrong route on the drive to work. To help you outsmart traffic, you’ve probably turned to Google Maps or Waze for alternative routes. Using location data from smartphones, Google Maps analyzes the speed of movement and traffic at any given time. Google Maps reduces commutes by accessing vast amounts of data fed to its proprietary algorithm, suggesting the fastest routes to and from work.
Your inbox might seem like an unlikely place for AI, but the technology is powering one of its most essential features: the spam filter. Spam filters are continuously learning from a variety of signals, such as keywords in messages and message metadata (where the message was sent from, who sent it, etc.). Through machine learning, Gmail successfully filters 99.9% of spam.
AI is constantly making our lives easy, and if you’ve used a banking app within the last year, you’ve probably noticed that most large banks offer the ability to deposit cheques through a smartphone app. Most banks rely on technology that uses AI and machine learning to decipher and convert handwriting on cheques into text via optical character recognition. It might sound complicated, but by creating this technology, banks have eliminated a need for customers to physically deliver a cheque to the bank, making it easier to access money on the go.
Whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or some other form of social media, chances are you’ve interacted with machine learning. When we upload photos to Facebook, the service automatically highlights faces and suggests friends to tag by using AI facial recognition. Instagram, which Facebook acquired in 2012, uses machine learning to identify the contextual meaning of emoji, which have been steadily replacing slang (for instance, a laughing emoji could replace “lol”).
Today, a standard feature on smartphones is voice-to-text. By pressing a button or saying a phrase (“Ok Google,” for example), you can speak, and your phone will convert the audio into text. Now that voice-to-text is accurate enough for basic conversation, Smart Personal Assistants can perform internet searches, set reminders, and integrate with your calendar. In the future, smart assistants will be the key to bridging the gap between humans and “smart” homes (here’s looking at you Google Home).
We’ve only scratched the surface of AI and ML in day-to-day life. Specific industries and hobbies interact with AI far beyond what’s explored in this blog. As Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning become deeply integrated into our day-to-day lives, it will become the new infrastructure powering the digital revolution.