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Digital Age: Machine-Learning Stage

Imagine an exclusive theme park where you could live without limits if you could afford to purchase a ticket. A park where lifelike robots would allow you to harmlessly live out your fantasies. This is the idea behind HBO’s Westworld, where the lifelike robots pass by humans called hosts, an artificially created being or a human developed mind replicated within an artificial body, some of which eventually gain artificial consciousness.

The “hosts” (robots) portrayed in the show represent what would be proper artificial intelligence, one that can learn on its own, that improves on past iterations, become smarter and more aware, and strengthen its capabilities and knowledge over time. We have made striking progress in this realm, but still have a ways to go before reaching the type of technology seeing in the show. However, levels of artificial intelligence are now part of our daily lives. We interact daily with pseudo-artificial intelligence, the likes of those powering our voice and non-voice-based interactions with the machines.

These are very useful systems that improve their skills and usefulness grounded on a large dataset. While their behavioral algorithms conform themselves to our likes and dislikes, they are not yet getting smarter in a Westworld "host" sense. Examples of commonly used systems nowadays include Alexa, Boxever, Cogito, Nest, and Siri, among others. However, much of what companies refer to as artificial intelligence today are actually machine-learning, training algorithms that perform tasks by learning from historical data rather than human commands.

Companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Tesla, among many others, have introduced transformational changes to how we interact which machine-learning technology, but many of us are ill-informed on just about how businesses in general are using artificial intelligence today. It is timely for us to reflect on how this technology will impact our future business and personal lives.

Equally timely is a reflection on how businesses can approach the adoption of such technologies. And, in a broader sense, it is interesting to gauge where is artificial intelligence headed next.

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