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Onboarding AI and Machine Learning

Brian Pichman

Brian Pichman

Brian Pichman, Director of the Evolve Project, said that AI is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence; it is becoming more available to the masses. Machine learning is a subset of AI that uses algorithms and statistical models to allow a computer system to make decisions around a task without explicit instructions, relying on patterns and inference.

AI has 4 components: it is logic-based, rules-based, pattern-based, and includes deep learning and neural networks. It exists with self-driving cars, etc. (pattern-based); Strong AI does not exist yet.  Pattern recognition means to create an algorithm able to teach itself without any external help. Voice recognition systems can respond and remember a user based solely on their voice.  Samsung has released bots to monitor air quality, place orders, etc. We use AI for optical character recognition, to advance user preferences (recommendations), and sensory data analysis.

AI is used in healthcare to identify and notice predictable trends, read X-rays, and gather information. Here is a good article on possible manipulations.

Other applications:

  • Smart homes can issue an alert to distinguish a person vs. an animal, know that it will rain tomorrow so there is no need to water the lawn today. Robots are coming out for home use.
  • AI has the potential to replace many minimum wage jobs, especially in the service industries. There is already a burger-flipping bot.
  • ROSS can make legal research faster and easier.

Challenges include precision, context, and training. It is important to make sure that the data provided is correct and useful.

AI in libraries:  There are many skills to learn. AI can do simple tasks so you can focus on other things. There is some impact on staff. How do we handle simple reference questions? We can make jobs more meaningful and get rid of tedious work.

AI does not have emotional intelligence and cannot show empathy; decisions are based on facts.


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