To Boldly Go? Artificial Intelligence in Our Everyday Lives

Turn on any news program in the past year and you would be hard-pressed to miss a story featuring the rise of artificial intelligence. The stories are wide-ranging, with no consensus on where society will go with the development of AI. Predictions go from one extreme to another: Will AI provide a utopian society freed from mundane daily tasks or a “Terminator”-like scenario with machines turning on human beings?

For four decades, Clayton Wealth Partners has prioritized the use and deployment of some of the most advanced trading, planning, and research software and technology available to investment advisors. We have an entire internal team that works constantly to stay up-to-date and even ahead of many of the technological trends in the industry. However, the introduction of AI in formats like ChatGPT has us scrambling a bit to keep up with the rapid pace of development.

This article will attempt to review AI’s recent past and offer some insight into how its advance might impact our daily lives in the near future.

The Recent Past of Artificial Intelligence

Beginning in the early 1950s, scientists and mathematicians grappled with the theory that computers might be able to think and problem-solve like human beings. This was the question Dr. Alan Turing posed in his 1950 thesis, Computing Machinery and Intelligence.

Dr. Turing’s theory began with a simple question: Can computers be programmed to think? What followed was the rapid development of computer technology for the next 20 years. And while computers could store information at an incredible rate, few successes were noted in computer problem-solving.

Post 1980, AI still had a long road to reach what computer scientist Marvin Minsky described to Life Magazine in 1970: “From three to eight years we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being” (Anyoha, Rockwell, May 2017, Can machines think?)

In the 1980s, expert systems and symbolic AI dominated the landscape, with computer programs designed to mimic human expertise in specific domains. The 1990s witnessed the rise of machine learning, with research focused primarily on developing algorithms that allowed computers to learn from data and improve their performance. Who can forget the famous 1997 chess match between world chess champion Gary Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue program, marking the first time a computer could best a world chess champion?

The progress of AI pushed forward into the 2000s, fueled mostly by massive investment from the private sector. An area once almost exclusively funded by government and academic research dollars is today supported with more than $100 billion in worldwide private investment. Compare that with the relatively small investment of about $3 billion spent by our government on the development of AI just a year ago.

Today, artificial intelligence appears to be everywhere, with companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon building millions of servers storing hundreds of exabytes of data used to propel AI learning and problem-solving.

Just how much is an exabyte of data, you might ask (I had to)? One exabyte of data is the equivalent of a million terabytes, and a terabyte is a thousand gigabytes. That is an unthinkable amount of data and information being utilized to power artificial intelligence.

As we move forward, the advantages, potential dangers, and ethical questions surrounding the widespread use of AI will have to be evaluated to prevent abuse. Anyone who has seen or heard videos or audio enhanced with AI knows its ability to distort reality.

Just one example is the AI program known as Deepfake. With it, video and audio can be manipulated with near-perfect imitation to make people appear to say things that could damage reputations, create false conflict, and perhaps even lead to war.

Unfortunately, it appears the technology is way ahead of the ethical discussion and development of guardrails to protect against AI abuses. However, for better or worse, AI is here to stay, and it is being deployed rapidly in multiple areas of our everyday lives.

Where Do We Go from Here?

As AI technologies advance, they hold immense potential to transform the way we live, work, and interact with the world around us. Here are just a few areas where AI impacts our everyday lives.

Enhanced healthcare: AI’s integration into healthcare is set to revolutionize the industry, making diagnoses more accurate and treatment plans more personalized. With AI-powered algorithms analyzing vast amounts of medical data, doctors can leverage predictive analytics to detect diseases early, leading to improved patient outcomes. AI chatbots and virtual assistants can also provide instant medical advice, reducing the burden on healthcare professionals.

Smart homes and cities: AI’s integration into our homes and cities will create smarter, more efficient living environments. From voice-activated assistants that control lighting and appliances to AI algorithms optimizing energy consumption, our homes will become more intuitive and energy-efficient. AI will also play a crucial role in developing smart cities by managing traffic flow, enhancing public safety, and optimizing resource allocation.

Autonomous transportation: Self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles will become increasingly common over the next decade, transforming transportation as we know it. AI-powered systems will enhance road safety, reduce accidents caused by human error, and improve traffic management. Commutes will become more productive as passengers can work, relax, or engage in leisure activities while on the move.

Personalized education: AI will revolutionize the education sector, enabling personalized learning experiences tailored to each student’s needs and learning style. Intelligent tutoring systems can adapt to individual progress, offering personalized feedback and guidance. AI-powered tools will provide educators with valuable insights into student performance, facilitating targeted interventions and improving educational outcomes.

Improved customer service: AI-driven chatbots and virtual assistants are already transforming customer service, and their impact will only increase. Natural language processing and machine learning algorithms enable chatbots to respond instantly and accurately to customer inquiries, ensuring around-the-clock support. Moreover, AI algorithms can analyze customer behavior and preferences, allowing businesses to deliver personalized recommendations and experiences.

Automation of mundane tasks: AI will continue to automate routine and everyday tasks, freeing up human potential for more creative and strategic endeavors. From data entry and administrative work to manufacturing and logistics, AI-powered robots and algorithms will streamline operations, increase productivity, and drive economic growth. This shift will enable humans to focus on tasks that require emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities.

The impact of AI on our daily lives over the next decade will be profound. From revolutionizing healthcare and transforming transportation to enhancing education and automating routine tasks, AI technologies will reshape how we live and interact with the world. At the same time, we will have to continue evaluating the ethical and potentially dangerous issues surrounding the expansion of AI.

In closing, I would invite you to review this article a second time with the knowledge that about half of it was written over several days by the author, while the other half was generated using the AI program ChatGPT in about 5 seconds. Whether we like it or not, AI is here to stay. We live with the hope that ethics and protective guardrails will catch up with the pace of AI.

*Note: This article was written with contributions from ChatGPT.

Clint Patty, J.D.

As Managing Partner, Clint serves on the management team providing leadership, supporting business development efforts and providing client consultation.