Last month, we reported on the silent run-up to the age of artificial intelligence, whose green shoots grow without fanfare only to flower a decade or two in the future.
But, but, but: As we reported yesterday, these quiet, behind-the-scenes developments are transforming modern work now.
"We don’t call them AI because they’re already here," says Berkeley’s Ken Goldberg, a robotics expert who directs the university's People and Robots Initiative.
If one dimension of the far-off AI future is autonomous vehicles, we’re living in its first stage, the age of smart cruise control: tools that use basic machine learning to take on just part of a job.
This is also the world of smart speakers and navigation apps like Waze that use human input — everyday technologies that ease specific tasks, but can’t really do anything on their own.
In business and consumer tech, this early wave of AI helpers is already ubiquitous.
Among the everyday systems driven by AI and human input: spam filtering, machine translation, search, and book and movie recommendations.
Salesforce uses machine learning to identify promising leads based on the outcome of previous interactions, a spokesperson says. It can also predict the likelihood of losing a customer based on signals about how they use a company’s services.
Sprint uses Adobe’s AI platform to dig through troves of customer data and find potentially receptive groups of people to target with marketing, an Adobe spokesperson tells Axios.
Even T.G.I. Friday’s has automated basic tasks ranging from staff scheduling to ingredient ordering and waste management, as we reported last week.