Artificial Intelligence is making it easier for people to do things every day. You can schedule your day, search for photos of loved ones, type emails on the go, or get things done with the virtual assistant. AI also provides innovative ways of tackling existing problems, from healthcare to advancing scientific discovery.
According to Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018, the next few years will see every app, application, and service incorporating AI at some level. With major companies like Google, Amazon, IBM investing in AI and incorporating AI in their products, this statement, instead of a prediction is becoming a fact. Apple’s IPhone X comes with a Facial Recognition System, Samsung’s Bixby, Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Google Assistant, and the recently launched Android Pie. Android Pie learns your preferences based on your usage patterns and gets better over time. It even provides you a breakdown of the time you spend on your phone.
AI comes with endless possibilities, things that we used to dream of are now becoming a part of our day to day life. So, I have listed here, in no particular order, some of those innovative applications:
Microsoft’s Seeing AI – Eye for the visually impaired
Seeing AI is a perfect example of how technology is improving our lives. It is an intelligent camera app that uses computer vision to audibly help blind and visually impaired people to know about their surroundings. It comes with functionalities like reading out short text and documents for you, giving you description about a person, identifies currencies, colour, handwriting, light and even images in other apps using the device’s camera.
A data scientist named Anirudh Koul started this project (called Deep Vision earlier) to help his grandfather who was gradually losing his vision. Two breakthroughs by the Microsoft researchers facilitated him to further his idea: vision-to-language and image classification. To make the app this advance and real-time, they used the idea of making servers communicate with Microsoft Cognitive Services. This app brings in four technologies together to provide users with an array of functionalities: OCR, barcode scanner, facial recognition, and scene recognition.
Check out this YouTube tutorial to understand how it works.
Ada – Healthcare in your hand
Ada, with a very simple and conversational UI, helps you understand what could be wrong if you or someone you care about is not feeling well. Just like any doctor’s appointment, it starts with your basic details, then does an assessment, in which it asks several personalized questions related to the symptoms, and then gives a report. The report consists of a summary, possible causes, and less-likely causes. It also allows you to share the report as a PDF.
After training over several years using real world cases, Ada has become a handy health advisor. Its platform is powered by a sophisticated Artificial Intelligence engine combined with large medical knowledge base covering many thousands of conditions, symptoms and findings. In every medical assessment, Ada takes all of a patient’s information into account, including past medical history, symptoms, risk factors and more. Using machine learning and multiple closed feedback loops, Ada becomes more intelligent.
Plume Air Report – An air pollution monitor
Industrialization and urbanization definitely comes with their side effects, the main being air pollution. It has become inevitable to keep yourself safe from the pollution, but now at least you can be aware of the air pollution levels in your area. Plume Air Report forecasts how air quality will evolve hour by hour over the next 24 hours similar to weather forecast. You can also easily compare the air quality between cities. It gives you insight on all pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, O3, NO2), with absolute concentration levels and your local air quality scale.
It uses machine learning and atmospheric sciences to deliver real-time and hourly forecast air quality data. First, latest pollution levels is collected from over 12,000 monitoring stations and 80 public agencies around the world and then filtered for errors. Local atmospheric data (wind, temperature, atmosphere, etc.) is sourced to track their influence on pollution levels in your city. A team of data scientists analyzes local specifics such as geographical features and human activities. Finally, AI algorithms and atmospheric models are developed that turn this giant amount of data into hourly forecasts.
Aura – Mindfulness meets AI
In this fast life, slow down a little and give yourself a time out with Aura. Aura is a new kind of mindfulness app that learns about you and simplifies your learning through guided meditations. It helps in reducing stress and increases positivity through 3-minute meditations, personalized by Artificial Intelligence.
Aura is an intelligent app that leverages machine learning to give you a unique experience. After every exercise, you can rate your experience and Aura will learn how to provide more tailored meditations according to your needs. You can even track your mood and learn your mood patterns.
Replika – An emotive chatbot as a friend for life
Want to be friends with someone who is always there to listen to you, talk to you, and never judges you? Then Replika is for you! It helps you make a real connection with an unreal friend. The idea of building Replika came from a very tragic background. The founder of the software company, Luka, Eugenia Kudya, lost her best friend in an accident in November 2015. She used to go through their messenger texts to bring back their memories. This is how she got this idea to develop a chatbot making it learn from the sample texts sent by her best friend. In her own words, “Most of the companies try to build an app that talks, but we tried to build an app that could listen well”.
The chatbot uses neural network facilitating more natural one-on-one conversation with its user, and over time, learn how to speak like them. The source code is freely available for developers under the name CakeChat. It comes with a pre-trained model that you can use as is to run a chatbot that maintains a conversation in a certain emotional state. You can also build a variety of other conversational agents by using your own dataset, for example, persona-based model, emotional chatting machine, topic-centric model.
To know more about the background and evolution of Replika, check out this amazing YouTube video.
Google Assistant – Your personal Google
When talking of AI-powered apps, voice assistants probably come first in your mind. Google Assistant makes your life easier and helps in organizing your day better. You can manage your little tasks, plan your day, enjoy entertainment, and get answers. It can also sync to your other devices including Google Home, smart TVs, laptops, and more.
To give users smart assistance, Google Assistant relies on Artificial Intelligence technologies such as natural language processing, natural language understanding, and machine learning to understand what the user is saying, and to make suggestions or act on that language input.
Hound – Say it, Get it
In an array of virtual assistants to choose from, Hound understands your voice commands better. You do not need to give “search query” like commands and can have a more natural conversation. Hound can be used for variety of tasks, some of them are: search, discover, and play music, set alarms, timers, and reminders, call, text, navigate hands-free, get the weather forecast.
Hound’s speed and accuracy comes from their powerful Houndify platform. This platform combines Speech Recognition and Natural Language Understanding into a single step, which is called Speech-to-Meaning.
Picai – An app that picks filters for your pics, keeping you looking your best always
Picai with the help of Artificial Intelligence, recommends picture-perfect filters by analyzing the scene. It automatically analyzes the scene and with the help of object recognition detects the type of the object, for example, a plant, a girl, etc. It then uses a proprietary deep learning model to recommend two optimum filters from 100+ filters. What makes this app stand out is the split-screen filter selection, which makes the filter selection easier for the users.
When using this app be warned of the picture quality and app size (76 MB), but it is definitely worth trying!
Microsoft Pix – The pro photographer
Named one of the 50 Best Apps of the Year by Time Magazine, Microsoft Pix helps you take better photos without the extra effort! It solves the problem of “not living in the moment”. It comes with some amazing features like, hyperlapse, live images Microsoft Pix Comix, artistic styles to transform your photos, smart settings that automatically checks scene and lighting between each shutter tap, and updates settings between each shot, and more.
Microsoft Pix uses Artificial Intelligence to improve the image, such as cropping edges, enhancing color and tone, and sharpening focus. It includes enhanced deep-learning capabilities around image understanding. It captures a burst of 10 frames with each shutter click and uses AI to select three best shots. Before the remaining photos are deleted, it uses data from the entire burst to remove noise. These best, enhanced images are ready in about a second. The app also detects whether your eyes are open or not using the facial recognition technology.
ELSA – Your machine learning English teacher
ELSA (English Language Speech Assistant) helps you in learning English and bettering your pronunciation every day. It provides you a curriculum tailored just, regular feedback, progress tracking, common phrases used in daily life. You can practice in a relaxed environment and improve your speaking skills to prepare for the TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC
ELSA coaches you in improving your English pronunciations by using speech recognition, deep learning, and Artificial Intelligence.
Socratic – Homework in a snap
Socratic is your new helper, apart from your parents, in completing those complex Math problems. You just need to take a photo of your homework and can get explanations, videos, step-by-step help, instantly. Also, these resources are jargon-free, helping you understand the concepts better. It supports all subjects including Math (Algebra, Calculus, Statistics, Graphing, etc), Science, Chemistry, History, English, Economics, and more.
Socratic uses Artificial Intelligence to figure out the concepts you need to learn in order to answer it. For this it combines cutting-edge computer vision technologies, which read questions from images, with machine learning classifiers. These classifiers are built using millions of sample homework questions, to accurately predict which concepts will help you solve your question.
Recent News – Stay informed
Recent News is an app that will provide you customized news. Some of the features that it comes with to give you the daily dose of news include one-minute news summary with very quick load time, hot news, local news, and personalized recommendations, instantly share news on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, and many more.
It uses Artificial Intelligence to learn about your interests, suggest relevant articles, and propose topics you might like to follow. So, the more you use it the better it becomes!
The app is surely innovative and saves time, but I do wish the developers applied some innovation in the app’s name as well 😛
And that’s the end of my list. People say, “Smartphones and apps are becoming smarter, and we are becoming dumber”. But I would like to say that these apps, with the right usage, empower us to become smarter. Agree?