We live in an intelligent era, at least when it comes to technology. Our watches tell us not only the time, but they also bring us our email and remind us to exercise. Our phones recommend the best places to dine and map the best routes to our destination, and our computers predict our shopping preferences, all to help us to be more efficient. Even with all of these digital assistants, the potential intelligence of the technology is barely touched.

Artificial intelligence (AI) drives and powers most of the consumer-level applications we interact with today. These apps are usually designed to search for patterns in user behavior and then to react to them in various, albeit predictable, ways. They’re also programmed to use accumulated data stored in their databases to improve a reaction to inputs, which leads to a better response within predetermined parameters.

Although there is a huge potential in what’s already been achieved with these existing models, technology geniuses are still far from developing apps capable of genuinely autonomous artificial thought or knowledge processing. Still, this may change sooner than you think. The closer we get to building truly semantic and autonomous systems, the more complex the consequences of their abuse and malfunction.

It’s one thing for a computer program to produce an error and terminate abruptly, but it’s a completely different thing to have a semantic error hidden deep within the vocabulary that could abuse the logic of the system. This could result in an undesirable action, such as becoming aggressive or behaving in other unacceptable ways. You immediately thought of Skynet in Terminator, didn’t you?

In all seriousness, how do you feel about AI in your daily work life or home life? Are you looking forward to the future where robotic helpers may become a normal part of your household? Maybe it is already there.

AI is already getting a foothold in people’s homes with devices like Amazon’s Echo speaker which links to a personal assistant, Alexa, to answer questions and control connected devices such as appliances or light bulbs. Not to mention Amazon is seeking to put AI to work in the supermarket — testing a system without cash registers or lines, where consumers simply grab their products and go, and have a bill tallied by AI.

Amazon is not the only organization looking to capitalize on this technology and it may take time for the technology to fulfill its potential. One day when technology matures these technologies will help improve our safety, our health, and our productivity.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.