AI is a powerful automation tool designed to augment what people can do, says the company, and to take advantage of this technology, everyone should have a good understanding of its capabilities. Most Americans (85%) already use applications that are powered by AI, including applications like smart assistants, song recommendations from music streaming services, and email spam filters.

Here, says the company, are five practical ways AI can improve people’s lives:

  1. AI can better our health – The current COVID-19 pandemic is top of mind for everyone, and health care is an area where AI can make a real impact. Already, AI diagnostics can cheaply diagnose a whole range of illnesses with clinical accuracy. As the sensors in our phones, watches and other devices that we carry and wear become less expensive, more common and more capable, and as AI advances, it’s not a science-fictional thought to imagine a world in which everyone has access to a virtual doctor who can tell when you’re getting sick before you know you are. Imagine if a virtual doctor could then either prescribe a course of action autonomously or refer you to a medical professional when your illness is beyond the ability of the AI to help.
  2. AI can help seniors be self-sufficient longer – Autonomous delivery bots can help elderly folks live self-sufficient and independent lives longer by delivering medicine, groceries and other necessities right to their front door. And in a crisis, including the current COVID-19 situation, autonomous delivery bots could bring vital goods to seniors so they don’t have to endanger their well-being by going to grocery stores or pharmacies.
  3. AI can empower people with disabilities – AI can help the more than 1 billion people with disabilities around the world by enabling computers to hear, see and reason with impressive accuracy. For example, an app called Seeing AI empowers individuals with visual impairment by describing people, objects and text around them.
  4. AI can save farmers precious time and resources – AI-powered drones can help farmers gather information on their crops in record time. Rather than farmers walking miles, a drone can quickly fly over a farm and take pictures and videos that spotlight irrigation problems, insect infestations or other potential threats to crops. The technology can help farmers make decisions about what to plant and when, how to irrigate more effectively, how to deploy fertilizers and supplements, and when to harvest.
  5. AI can do the busy work for you – AI can handle time-consuming, monotonous, mundane tasks, freeing us to use skills that machines don’t have like creativity, ingenuity and problem-solving. Although some jobs have and will change because of new technologies, AI will create new jobs, too. It will also enhance a lot of the work we currently do by helping make some jobs safer, easier or more productive.

Combining the best of human skill with the best of automation, says the company, can enable us to be more efficient, creative, and productive — and even healthier. For more, see the new book – Reprogramming the American Dream – by Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott, which argues that AI has the potential to create opportunity for everyone and help solve some of society’s most vexing problems.


Related articles:
Microsoft invests $1B to pursue ethical AI
IBM Watson AI assistant answers COVID-19 questions by phone, text
Sony AI launches to ‘unleash human creativity’
AI’s ‘human side’ is focus of new Google initiative



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