5 Industries Machine Learning Is Disrupting Right Now

Technology is changing the business landscape for the good

One simple way to describe Machine Learning is letting artificially intelligent machines pick up information by themselves. It’s a bit like leaving a person alone with a set of Lego: give them the bricks and come back later to see what they come up with. Using machine learning techniques with AI opens up technology to a whole new host of possibilities. These have the potential to disrupt entire industries in ever changing and exciting ways. Let’s take a look at some of the industries which are being radically transformed by machine learning technology right now

1) Education

The modern classroom is definitely receptive to new technology. Smart whiteboards, tablets and laptops have all made their way into our schools in recent years, providing students with a multimedia based learning experience. Could the use of AI and Machine Learning be next on the list? AI offers a clear benefit to centres of learning, as it can easily evaluate a student’s performance, making it possible to tailor teaching styles and programmes to individual students’ needs. Importantly, its superior data analysis means that it can diagnose learning difficulties that could take human teachers many years to identify – if they manage to pick them up at all. AI might not yet have a wide uptake in state schools, but Intelligent Tutor Systems (ITS) such as AutoTutor are established ways of giving students one to one time with a teacher outside the classroom. What’s more, AI powered Learning Analytics are also being used to improve curricula in higher education in the UK and abroad.

2) Transportation

Self driving cars have been a hot topic for some time, and we are edging ever closer to unleashing them onto our roads. Autonomous vehicles will provide freedom and independence to many people currently unable to drive, and their elimination of human error in the driving process should make our journeys faster and safer. Where businesses are concerned, however, it is the traditional jobs of the transport sector such as taxis and trucking which will undergo the most change. In the US, over 70% of freight is transported by trucks, with the industry contributing $726.4 billion of gross revenue in 2015. Any kind of disruption to an industry of this size will have huge consequences for business. AI powered vehicles are about to turn many of the world’s biggest economies upside down.

3) Healthcare

While robot surgeons still sound futuristic, they have in fact been around for some time. In 2014, Intuitive Surgical Inc’s robotic laparoscopic surgery system da Vinci performed around 600,000 procedures. Operated remotely by a human surgeon sitting at a console, the robot offers greater dexterity than the human hand and allows interventions to take place through tiny incisions in the patient’s body. Whilst such robots currently act as tools to help human surgeons make treatments less invasive, powering such machines with AI would create the autonomous robot surgeons of the future. Machine Learning can also be used in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. Analysing big data with AI would make it possible for healthcare professionals to compare their patient’s symptoms and projected treatment with previous cases. This would lead to more accurate diagnoses and better outcomes for patients suffering from anything from minor ailments to complicated diseases.

4) Business and Marketing

For any business, targeting customers with appropriate products and services is a certain route to increased revenue. Machine Learning technology can suggest what kind of content marketers should cover, providing up to date insights into market forces and consumer trends. We might not be aware of it, but we’re all familiar with Google’s AI, which uses machine learning to constantly improve search results. AI algorithms power sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Netflix to match content with what they think individual users will want to see. What’s more, AI chatbots are now widely used for customer services, relieving pressure on call centres and reducing the cost of human telephone operators. It’s not only services which are making use of AI. Machine Learning technology is now finding its way into everyday items, such as the camera in Apple’s iPhone 7. This technology separates the background from the foreground in photographs, making it possible for the iPhone to create images that were once only achievable with specialist DSLR cameras.

5) Financial Services

Traditional financial services are ripe for disruption with AI and Machine Learning. Legacy banks and lenders can make use of AI algorithms to assess loan risk at a far greater accuracy than their traditional methods. AI can also help individuals to manage their finances better. Apps such as Clinic’s Finie are intelligent personal tools which can answer questions about your spending history. The apps can give precise answers about historical outgoings and incomings, assess how the monthly budget is looking, and even let customers know whether or not they can afford to take a holiday. For investors, Robo-Advisors have been developed to replace human financial advisors. A low cost alternative, AI Robo-Advisors can sort through investment opportunities to match them with an individual’s profile, including their risk tolerance and any long term goal they have in mind. AI powered investment in general is a lucrative prospect: its ability to assess the financial climate means that it can make accurate predictions about markets. Financial services take note.