The potential for artificial intelligence has, for decades, been mostly relegated to the larger-than-life imaginations of Hollywood directors. From Blade Runner to Terminator, it always seems to take place in some distant and dystopian future. And yet, if there’s one thing to be learned from Google’s recent acquisition of the artificial intelligence startup DeepMind for a reported $400 million, it’s that the heyday for this type of technology is not a century or even decades away. It’s here.
The global market for artificial intelligence was valued at $900 million in 2013, according to the market research firm Research and Markets. Meanwhile, a study out of Oxford University last year found that in the near future artificially intelligent technology could take over nearly half of all U.S. jobs. It’s scary news for some, but it’s also a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs innovating in this space. Here are a few emerging applications of artificial intelligence for the real world (fleets of artificially intelligent robots hell bent on destroying the human race, not included):
Understanding Big Data
The big data market has been maturing for years now. There’s plenty of technology out there that can crunch the numbers and spit them out in a spreadsheet or chart. The problem is, there’s a difference between having the data on hand and truly understanding it. Now, entrepreneurs are beginning to fill that gap with technology that not only synthesizes the data, but interprets it, too. One such company, Chicago-based Narrative Science, has developed a program called Quill that goes so far as to provide users with a written report of the data in story form. In addition to an $11.5 million Series C round it raised last year, Narrative Science is also backed by the CIA’s investment arm In-Q-Tel.