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13 November, 2017 11:20:56 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 13 November, 2017 11:25:05 AM

Artificial intelligence and robotics

Knowledge engineering is a core part of artificial intelligence research. Machines can often act and react like humans only if they have abundant information relating to the world
Masihul Huq Chowdhury
Artificial intelligence and robotics

Saudi Arabia has recently given citizenship to Sophia, a humanoid created by Hanson Robotics  in Hong kong as a sign of openness for the Future Investment Initiative conference. “I am very honoured and proud for this unique distinction,” she told the crowd, according to the BBC “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognised with a citizenship.”  AI is a 2001 American scifi film directed by Steven Spielberg. The screenplay by Spielberg was based on a screen story by Ian Watson. The film surrounds around a boy. A robotic boy, the first programmed to love, David is adopted as a test case by a Cybertronics employee  and his wife. Though he gradually becomes their child, a series of unexpected circumstances make this life impossible for David. Without final acceptance by humans or machines, David embarks on a journey to discover where he truly belongs, uncovering a world in which the line between robot and machine is both vast and profoundly thin.The concept of artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for a long time. Science fiction unfortunately gives AI a bad rap and depicts it as an evil entity dead-set on taking over human society and dominating the world. But in reality, it can do a lot of remarkable things to make life easier. In the business world, its potential for enabling companies to work smarter and faster is being uncovered more and more by the day. Bill Gates has even referred to AI as the “holy grail” of computer science. From SIRI to self-driving cars, artificial intelligence (AI) is progressing rapidly. While science fiction often portrays AI as robots with human-like characteristics, AI can encompass anything from Google’s search algorithms to IBM’s Watson to autonomous weapons. Artificial intelligence today is properly known Narrow AI, in that it is designed to perform a narrow task (e.g. only facial recognition or only internet searches or only driving a car). However, the long-term goal of many researchers is to create General AI. While narrow AI may outperform humans at whatever its specific task is, like playing chess or solving equations, AGI would outperform humans at nearly every cognitive task.

So, how do we define Artificial intelligence (AI)? AI is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. Some of the activities computers with artificial intelligence are designed for include:
• Speech recognition
• Learning
• Planning
Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science that aims to create intelligent machines. It has become an essential part of the technology industry.Research associated with artificial intelligence is highly technical and specialised. The core problems of artificial intelligence include programming computers for certain traits such as:
• Knowledge
• Reasoning
• Problem solving
• Perception
• Learning
• Planning
• Ability to manipulate and move objects
Knowledge engineering is a core part of AI research. Machines can often act and react like humans only if they have abundant information relating to the world. Artificial intelligence must have access to objects, categories, properties and relations between all of them to implement knowledge engineering. Initiating common sense, reasoning and problem-solving power in machines is a difficult and tedious approach. Machine learning is another core part of AI. Learning without any kind of supervision requires an ability to identify patterns in streams of inputs, whereas learning with adequate supervision involves classification and numerical regressions. Classification determines the category an object belongs to and regression deals with obtaining a set of numerical input or output examples, thereby discovering functions enabling the generation of suitable outputs from respective inputs. Mathematical analysis of machine learning algorithms and their performance is a well-defined branch of theoretical computer science often referred to as computational learning theory.
Artificial Intelligence applications have been used in a wide range of fields including medical diagnosis, stock trading, robot control, law scientific discovery and toys. However, many AI applications are not perceived as AI: "A lot of cutting edge AI has filtered into general applications, often without being called AI because once something becomes useful enough and common enough it's not labeled AI anymore." "Many thousands of AI applications are deeply embedded in the infrastructure of every industry." In the late 1990s and early 21st century, AI technology became widely used as elements of larger systems, but the field is rarely credited for these successes.
The following three areas of business will get the benefits derived out of Artificial Intelligence,
1. Human resources and hiring processes
As many HR reps will agree, the entire process of recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding can be extremely tedious. The prospect of applying AI to HR has gotten many professionals in the field excited. Through the use of intelligent machines, the day-to-day tasks that typically bog down manpower can be effectively taken care of so agents can focus on their primary objective: meeting the needs of candidates and current employees. Essentially, AI can help put the “human” back in human resources. There are many ways in which Human Resources department can use Artificial Intelligence.For example, Restless Bandit is an excellent SaaS product that automates the tasks of screening applications, finding matches, reaching out, and even scheduling face-to-face interviews. In turn, the amount of busy work required just to bring a potential candidate into the office is drastically reduced. With the help of AI, this program will rate applicants against open positions and send hiring managers lists of matches, as well as their ranking. This way, all the recruiters are tasked with is taking a final look and pinpointing exactly whom they want to follow up with. For larger enterprises, this solution can save copious amounts of time and resources throughout the entire process
2. Source-to-pay operations
The road to digitising pay to source has not been easy for big enterprises. In spite of all the interest and investments made, the traditional strategies for automating such operations have yet to present a process that requires little human involvement.Big data is taking an increasingly larger role in helping businesses better understand their spend, supply market trends, supply chain risks, and more. As digital business continues to rise and AI solutions become more sophisticated, AI can shed light on valuable insights in real-time so businesses can create more precise, versatile sourcing plans.For example, SMART by GEp, a cloud-native procurement platform with AI capabilities that provides comprehensive analytical reporting on spend analysis, savings tracking, sourcing, contract management, supplier management, and procure-to-pay. From a single dashboard, businesses can get comprehensive visibility into their spend, allowing them to identify greater opportunities for savings and value creation across the board. AI enables advanced spend analytics with greater level of accuracy to help businesses make more informed decisions for effective spend management. AI-based sourcing software learns the business’s sourcing patterns and helps identify the best suppliers more quickly and efficiently. AI can also help with supplier performance management – the software can identify if and when supplier performance drifts out of alignment with the contract and alert the business to initiate improvement measures.
3. Customer service
The importance of customer service cannot be underestimated. In fact, a research conducted by Microsoft in 2016 found that 60% of consumers stopped doing business with a brand altogether as a result of a single poor customer service experience.Now, the pure mention of using machines to create better customer service experiences sounds ludicrous at first. However, if used properly, these solutions can significantly reduce the amount of frustration in terms of things like hold times, or being redirected to different agents. Let’s face it, no one likes calling a support line and navigating through a myriad of recordings only to wait to connect with a live specialist.One of the most effective ways AI can influence customer service is through the use of chatbots. Bots can begin reading and analyzing customer data from the initial touch point and provide smart insights on how to accurately assist each query. For example, solutions like Nano rep allow you to integrate your customer support with leading resources like Salesforce, Zendesk, Magneto, and more to become available on the most popular messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack, and WhatsApp.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has unveiled plans to invest $15 billion in R&D projects. The initiative is part of Alibaba’s so-called DAMO Academy (or “Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook”) and will include the opening of seven new labs: two in China, with others in Singapore, Moscow, near Seattle, and in Silicon Valley.The scope of research to be conducted in these facilities is broad, focusing on both “foundational and disruptive technology,” says Alibaba. This will include areas like the internet of things and data analysis, as well as artificial intelligence and even quantum computing.The research will be key for Alibaba to reach its goal of serving two billion customers and creating 100 million jobs by 2036.More to the point, it could help the company move beyond its roots as an e-commerce firm. Fellow retailer Amazon turned its cloud services into an extremely profitable multi billion dollar business  in just over a decade, and Alibaba has been expressing a desire to do the same. Investment in big data and machine learning could give an edge over rivals and allow it to offer off-the-shelf AI services to attract customers. Chinese search engine giant Baidu is one of the latest brands in the Asia-Pacific region to transform its customer experience through artificial intelligence (AI) technology: In October, the Chinese search engine launched Melody, an AI-powered chatbot that lives inside the search engine’s existing Doctor app. The app collects users’ medical information to help doctors make more informed diagnostic decisions.Inspiring this progression is Chinese instant-messaging platform WeChat. “WeChat has been a standout in this region due to its host of payment and utility ‘sub-applications’ within the WeChat app.  One can hail a taxi, order food, buy movie tickets, or pay utility bills through WeChat. “ However, as the technology behind chatbots becomes more sophisticated, so, too, will the application of chatbots by brands. DBS, Southeast Asia’s biggest bank, implemented chatbot technology in the second half of 2016, becoming the first in the financial services industry to do so. Outbrain’s Barbato said she is noticing other brands disrupting their respective industries by adopting the technology. Chatbots store data to develop future interactions and eventually become smarter in the process.  For example, Uber has tied up with Facebook Messenger to allow customers to request rides by simply sending a message to the Uber Chatbots without having to go through the hassle of downloading the Uber app. Facebook Inc has opened up its Messenger app to developers to create chatbots, hoping that by simulating one-on-one conversations between users and companies it will expand its reach in customer service and enterprise transactions.Chatbots are automated programs that help users communicate with businesses and carry out tasks such as online purchases.While chatbots have existed in some form for years, they have recently become a hot topic in the tech business as advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning make them far more capable and potentially able to assume a key role in the way customers communicate with businesses.Facebook launched chatbots on Tuesday with a handful of partners, including Shopify, an ecommerce site, and cable TV news network CNN.
With the Digitisation being one of the key focus area, it's not that far a reality for us in Bangladesh to see the use of Artificial Intelligence in the area of finance, health, communication. Bangladesh has got its first-ever artificial intelligence (AI)-based personal assistant application, Udoy. The smart phone application Udoy is a chat based service to get anything done across various categories like travel, shopping, booking, home services and any other legal requests. The developer of the software also said it will work on the basis of both AI and Human intelligence — 30 percent and 70 percent respectively. We can expect more initiatives in the AI in our country in the very near future.

The writer, a banker by profession, has worked both in local and overseas market with various foreign and local banks in different positions


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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