There has been a lot of fear and loathing around artificial intelligence (AI). The general worry is that as AI technology progresses, it will reduce the need for humans. But, while we have already seen AI replace humans, in many cases we have seen it make humans better at their jobs.
We saw this happen with the last industrial revolution. The widespread availability of power – whether driven by steam, fossil fuels, etc. – displaced many people and caused a great deal of anxiety. But it also created huge new opportunities with the creation of train systems, modern factories, electrified homes among others. The availability of power either replaced something humans didn’t do particularly well – or couldn’t do at all – with machines that could do the job better while leading to widespread innovation.
So, when we think about AI, what will be its equivalent innovation that will change our lives? We probably don’t yet know, because like the old railroad system, brand new technologies and industries will be invented. But we also know that millions of people will have access to new AI-based tools that enable them to do new things in their jobs and make them better.
Using AI Today
At Pro-Vigil we talk about AI a lot – but in the context of making employees better at their jobs. In some senses, we are ahead of the curve, using AI technology today to alert on suspicious incidents on video. The AI knows what normal looks like, and alerts when it sees something abnormal. Without it, people would have to constantly monitor video feeds to find anomalies and alert on them. That’s a bit of a losing proposition, since we upload more hours of video to the cloud than YouTube.
Studies show that the average person has an attention span of less than a minute, and it’s getting shorter. Since nothing happens on security video most of the time, and people have relatively short attention spans, having someone stare at a video feed waiting for something untoward to happen is not a winning security strategy.
Add AI to the mix, and the calculus changes. Now people are only looking at footage that the AI has already established is atypical. They can determine if the anomaly is harmless, or if there is a genuine security threat. And, if it’s the latter, they can take corrective actions like sounding alarms or visual deterrents, or in extreme cases having local authorities intervene.
AI technology is new, scary and exciting – just like electric power was 150 years ago. At Pro-Vigil we use AI as a tool to make people better. Ultimately this makes our customers safer, and that is all we care about.