February 12, 2018

A smarter society – the artificial intelligence way

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Taneli Tikka

Head of Innovation Incubation, Data Driven Businesses, Tieto

Driverless cars, intelligent speakers, and ever evolving virtual assistants…many would argue that the smart society is already upon us. While 2017 may very well have been the year that people came face-to-face with applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI), at Tieto, we say that you have seen nothing yet.

 AI’s mainstream debut was long in the making, and it tells us that there is no other way for AI usage to go, but up. One place where we foresee it having the greatest impact is in shaping a truly smarter society. And by this, we mean helping create an AI-optimized society that makes all our lives simpler and easier to lead.  

Imagine a scenario where AI advisors are part of a city council. The AI advisor will be able to access the city’s demographic database to understand how fast its population will grow over the next few years. It could then access topographical data and suggest how and where the city should expand, giving the human councilors important information that will help them make a truly informed decision. What’s more, the human councilors could study the data and ask the AI advisor to factor in additional data like the city’s economy and environmental factors to see how they would want to execute the expansion plan.  

Helping augment human performance 

Sounds like science fiction? Not if you consider the pace at which AI has evolvedIn fact, work on the next wave of AI constructs, which can learn from being shown a few good examples - just like a human would - has already begun. 

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has, in experiments, pitted groups of people against groups that have an AI advisor on board. The experiments revealed that the groups assisted by AI performed 17% better at a minimum than the all-human groupsIn fact, the MIT research proves that AI improves decision maker teams’ understanding of their decision and options thus leading to better decision making. Tieto has even appointed an AI nicknamed Alicia T as a member of the leadership team of our data-driven businesses unit. That’s how confident we are in its potential. 

What’s crucial to note here, is AI’s ability to sift through massive amounts of data that no human can possibly do alone. Today, we have a nearly infinite amount of data coming in and being stored in so-called data lakes. Earlier, this data was only accessed for pre-defined needs, but now, AI systems constantly goes through it and trawls for patterns. These patterns form the basis to optimize various processes and even predict events based on historical data & real-time signals 

This is most visible in the healthcare sector where AI analyses patient data and family history and creates data models that can help doctors diagnose patients much faster. What’s more, by studying these patters, they can even predict if individuals are at risk of developing a particular disease and advise them to take appropriate step to prevent it. An example of this is the Tieto Intelligent Wellbeing platform, which is being used in various hospitals to provide more effective treatment. 

Providing data-driven, innovative solutions 

The oil industry and its experience with oil pumps is another case in point. Oil pumps have a tendency to breakdown often, resulting in expensive replacements and time-consuming delays. Tieto is working closely with the oil industry to have AI systems analyze data (on pump usage, vibrations generated, usage cycles, resonance, pressure etc.) and predict exactly when it might break down. This predictive analysis helps oil companies take steps to fix a potential breakdown before it happens.  

Another example that drives home the point that AI helps come up with new ways of approaching a task is Tieto’s Virtual Forest management solution. Finland’s forest ownership is fragmented, with people holding small plots that are not contiguous. The Virtual Forest management maps these plots and brings together owners of various fragmented plots, allowing them to aggregate their forest holdings, and thus attract the attention of forestry companies that want to do business with themWhat’s more, this data is also used to fight against infestations (like the bark beetle for example) and other adverse conditions that a forest might develop. 

These examples highlight how versatile AI already is. In the years ahead, we predict that the introduction of quantum computers will expand AI capabilities even furtherThe impact will be as significant to human history as the invention of the first computer. Meanwhile, governments and corporations are scrambling to access cloud-based AI services to ensure that they don’t miss out. All this means that the talent pool to create and operate new AI applications will only increase, making further AI development easier.  

Watching all of this unfold, it is clear to that AI is the critical to achieving a truly smarter future, one which unlocks not only AI’s potential but also mankind’s 

What does a smarter society mean?   

The value of the smarter society comes in many flavors. Tieto’s ambition is to utilize our expertise to continue shaping a smarter society, one which anticipates the needs of the people in every phase of their lives. For more insights and examples on how we are doing this, visit tieto.com/smartersociety  

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