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Are we ready for AI Assistants or is it a dream too far?

We’re interacting with smart assistants every day without even knowing that we’re a step closer to meeting Jarvis in real.

What’s the one thing that comes to your mind when is someone is talking about Artificial Intelligence or even mentions it in a conversation -the character Jarvis from Iron Man that always has a solution for just about everything?

Yes, we relate to the movie reference a lot ourselves. But let’s face facts, Jarvis is going to take another decade to come into being. Now that definitely doesn’t mean we are not using Artificial Intelligence in our day-to-day lives already.

Simply put, we’re already accustomed to using AI assistants in automation. Be it 1:1 or 1:many, we’re interacting with these smart assistants every day without even knowing that we are a step closer to meeting Jarvis in real.

If you have been following developments in AI closely, you must have definitely heard about Andrew Ng - a computer scientist who led Baidu’s Artificial Intelligence group until recently and who firmly believes that AI will become a necessity in no time, just like electricity.

Yes, Artificial Intelligence is the fourth industrial revolution. There is going to be no industry - be it marketing, healthcare, travel, automobile and others, that is not going to be impacted by the development of these smart assistants.

What defines a good AI Assistant?

Someone who understands the context of your needs, find the right solutions for it and presents it to      you in no time. For example, you input a flight’s details, and an assistant books you a cab based on security wait time and traffic. Send alerts to your family when you are in the air.

- Automation without any input from the user - an assistant that simply remembers what you need based on when and where you are.

Now come to think of it, aren’t these assistants already around us?

Now before you question our sanity, here’s how you’re interacting with artificial intelligence already in a 1:1 and 1:many scenario.

Examples of 1:1 AI assistants

Health apps

Health is increasingly becoming a concern amongst us. Reaching the right doctor at the right time is a challenge many face. Apps like HealthTap make it easier for people to post queries and concerns, and get instant replies from professionals without following them up yourself.

Travel apps

Apps like Instalocate require only one input from you - your flight details. It then enables you to track this flight in real time, book a cab so that you reach the airport on time, estimate the security check-in time and, also lets you inform your friends and family about your whereabouts. The AI powered technology also helps you file for compensation if a flight is delayed or cancelled whenever you are eligible.

Dating app

Online dating is no longer a taboo. While you see hundreds of websites offering dating services, AI is set to take over this industry as well. Foxsy is an AI powered matchmaker that let’s you find and connect with likeminded individuals over popular chat apps like Facebook and Viber

Foxsy, a dating Assistant 
Foxsy, a dating Assistant 

Examples of 1: many AI assistants

Let’s give you the most common example of a smart AI here - someone that you have been working with closely - the Slackbot of course!

Slack is a smart app that lets you coordinate with a team, without having to move from desk to desk and even makes remote working efficient. But it is the bot here that actually lets you check-in and inform your group about your whereabouts, what you’re working on, remind you of tasks and more. It even assists you in finding information that aids to your work.

Snapshot of Slack 
Snapshot of Slack 

These are just a few examples.

Here’s another one that always amuses us - the one that you interact with in your local language, asking various questions. The best part is that the assistant comes back with a relevant answer in exactly the language you used.

Now it’s not a person who is talking to you. Nor can an app be powered to answer in all the languages that people speak in, across the world. That’s AI for you!

See, Jarvis is already around you. It’s only a matter of time that is shows up in its full form. 

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CEO, Instalocate (www.instalocate.com) | Stanford alum | MIT Media Lab | Made products at @WalmartLabs, Kosmix