19 March 2018 | Igor Ilunin
Using AI to Improve Our Cities and Lives
"Anything that could give rise to smarter-than-human intelligence—in the form of artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfaces, or neuroscience-based human intelligence enhancement—wins hands down beyond contest as doing the most to change the world. Nothing else is even in the same league." - Eliezer Yudkowsky, artificial intelligence theorist.
Once relegated to science fiction, artificial intelligence is now becoming a part of our daily lives, with the potential to immensely improve virtually every aspect of our cities and communities.
As the global population increases, efficient transportation becomes much harder to achieve. However, AI holds the promise to revolutionize this essential aspect of our lives. Many experts agree that self-driving vehicles will be widely adopted by 2020, and this shift will go far beyond cars to include driverless delivery trucks and autonomous delivery drones. Additionally, it's expected that a significant percentage of personal car ownership will be replaced by "cars as a service" models, with the likelihood of either removing the need for public transportation or at least having it transition to an on-demand service. These changes will reduce congestion and increase efficiency, thereby allowing commuting time to be used for relaxing or working instead of being a source of stress and a waste of valuable hours. The effect on cities will be enormous, improving liveability while massively reducing the need for parking.
AI's potential to improve healthcare is enormous. For example, artificial intelligence could be used to automate the majority of diagnostics work via patient data and scientific research. Our overburdened doctors and nurses could be relieved from many of their current duties, thereby allowing them to focus on the human dimensions of care and the more advanced analytical requirements. Additionally, elderly patients will benefit from intelligent walkers and wheelchairs combined with smart home monitoring technologies to provide them with increased independence as they age.
Home and service robots are expected to become much more common in the coming years. Perhaps one day in the not-too-distant future you will have a robot cleaning your house while another delivers a package for you. Advancements in cloud-connected robots will increase the ability to share data to accelerate learning, while perceptual technology growth will improve robots' interactions with humans.
We are on the cusp of a new world where AI combines with human intelligence to improve our cities and lives in a multitude of ways, some of which are hard to even imagine at this point, while other utilizations are already making the world a better place to live for us all.