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4 Everyday Examples of How AI Is Changing Our Future

Computer science continues to shape our digital future, particularly through innovations in artificial intelligence. Examples of AI are now making real changes to our everyday lives. In 2019, companies specialising in artificial intelligence (AI) received nearly $40 billion globally in investment.  

From business to governments to the education sector, AI has become a reliable tool for organisations looking to enhance their competitiveness, efficiency and innovation. Northumbria University is at the forefront of these advances in AI, with our Computing Vision and Natural Computing (CVNC) group leading research into real-world applications of artificial intelligence technology.

AI is impacting almost every industry and is expected to reach every corner of our lives and shared futures. In light of this, we’ve examined four areas of our lives where AI is driving dynamic change:

  1. Healthcare
  2. Shopping
  3. Education
  4. Manufacturing

Read on to discover how these everyday examples of AI are behind some of the most exciting and transformational developments.

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1) How artificial intelligence is improving healthcare 

Worldwide, healthcare systems are facing strain from the growing demand for their services, rising costs, an ageing population and the damaging effects from COVID-19. To meet these challenges, AI is driving innovation in clinical environments, including the development of treatment as well as strengthening the patient-doctor relationship. 

Here are some examples of artificial intelligence innovations in healthcare: Detecting cancer – VoxelMorph, an AI algorithm devloped by MIT researchers, can examine biopsy images 1,000 times more quickly than doctors with an 87% accuracy rate. This is promising as it can lead to the detection of certain types of cancer that are harder to detect at the early stages, such as melanoma.


COVID-19 vaccine rollout –Researchers at the University of Southern California have created an AI framework that can quickly analyse COVID vaccine candidates – allowing scientists to pinpoint future mutations of the virus and find the most appropriate preventative medical therapies. 

Northumbria University researchers are also developing smart digital technologies to help vulnerable people live more independently.

The ability of AI to positively impact healthcare is welcomed, and by the end of 2021, the market value of AI in healthcare is expected to reach $6.6 billion with spending expected to rise from $463 million in 2019 to over $2 billion over the next five years.

AI delivers more accuracy and efficiency, leading to cheaper healthcare and better outcomes for patients. If doctors have more capacity and are less stretched, they can deliver the best care and ultimately save and improve more lives will be saved and improved. 

AI is also assisting in the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine. Researchers at the University of Southern California have created an AI framework that can quickly analyse COVID vaccine candidates – allowing scientists to pinpoint future mutations of the virus and find the most appropriate preventative medical therapies. 

The ability of AI to positively impact healthcare is welcomed, and by the end of 2021, the market value of AI in healthcare is expected to reach $6.6 billion with spending expected to rise from $463 million in 2019 to over $2 billion over the next five years. 

How artificial intelligence is improving healthcare

All of us come into direct contact with health services during our lifetimes, so it’s a critical area for computer science and AI to make really meaningful changes to our everyday experience. 

Read more about Northumbria’s Artificial Intelligence pathway


2) How AI is transforming your shopping experience

High street retail has been struggling for years, and the closure of non-essential stores as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic has only further hurt the industry. As everyone knows from their own everyday shopping experience we are buying more and more online. As a result, AI is optimising e-commerce platforms and even evolving the high-street experience.

Personalised shopping – retailers use AI to analyse consumers purchase history and offer personalised product recommendations based on the data collected. 

Google Cloud, for instance, recently announced the launch of a new suite of tools powered by a ‘Recommendations AI’ which draws real-time insights and enhances customer engagement to offer a more personalised shopping experience.

Customer service – augmented reality and visual search are also being driven by developments in AI to provide better customer experience. Visual search uses AI to examine real-world images and return a list of related results. 

Retailers like Amazon employ it in homeware and fashion, where search engine keywords may be less impactful due to the visual nature of those areas. Amazon’s StyleSnap, for example, allows users to replicate their favourite fashion by uploading a photo and allowing AI to suggest related products.

Northumbria University have even developed their own visual search engine technology with our AI expertise. Although not primarily focused on shopping, but instead used to launch a platform to search artwork databases, the technology can identify and match images across digitised collections. 

The V&A Museum, National Archives and University of Surrey were also involved, with the aim of using AI for another of our top transformative lifestyle goals: improving education. 


3) How AI is changing education 

A great example of AI shaping the future is where it affects the next generation. Children are now learning in ways that wouldn’t have been possible in the schooling of even 10 years ago, with computer science and artificial intelligence taking a driving role. 

The pandemic raised big questions about how we can effectively educate students, from primary all the way to tertiary education. Classes moved partially online, which raised the issue of schools, universities and parents using AI to solve challenges of remote learning and flexibility in education.

Robot learning – some psychology and AI researchers, such as Dr Michelle Tempest, believe that by 2050, machine learning will empower robots and programmes to effectively 'outsource childrearing’. This could lead to scenarios where daily parenting duties and education are entirely carried out by AI programmes.

Closer to the present day, the global AI and education market expected to be worth $5.80 billion by 2025. Practical examples of AI working to improve education include: 

  • AI-based language translation – enabling students from different language backgrounds to participate in lectures. 
  • Tailored teaching – AI can also be employed by schools to offer a personalised-learning experience that overcomes challenges around learning styles, progress and special needs. For example, AI systems can be used to provide personalised grading responses for students or to build a custom learning profile of each student and then develop bespoke training materials for them based on their ability and appropriate learning style. 
  • Cutting teaching admin – on average, teachers spend half their time on non-teaching tasks. AI can be used to automate administrative work, from grading to AI-powered chatbots which can answer questions from parents and students.
  • Northumbria is also working with other institutions to develop data analytics to support students’ mental health.

There will always be a demand and necessity for human teachers and person-to-person interaction in education settings. However, if AI can make lives and outcomes better for both educators and students, it’s a win-win. 

Once AI advances enough to respond to students directly and personally, machine learning will lead human learning to new and greater heights. This development is vital if we are to adequately face the enormous challenges the world is facing.

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4) How artificial intelligence is revolutionising manufacturing  

‘Everyday examples of AI’ might not make us all immediately think of manufacturing, but the objects, products and appliances we benefit from or use in our daily lives rely on a robust and efficient manufacturing industry.

The manufacturing sector is driving much of the innovation in AI tech and has a wide impact on society. Known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or Industry 4.0, this revolution in industry refers to how digitisation is enhancing industrial output and innovation through data analytics and machine learning. 

Artificial intelligence has a range of applications within manufacturing, which industry would be foolish to ignore:

  • Machine maintenance – using AI to predict when machines are likely to require maintenance is one of its most popular uses within the industrial world. AI can interact directly with hardware to learn and intervene more effectively than a human being to prevent outages and maximise cost-efficiency for production facilities. If you can predict precisely when a machine or part is going to need replacing, you can get the most use out of it before an unexpected breakage causes costly repairs and downtime.
  • General Motors use AI to analyse images from cameras mounted on assembly robots to spot signs of faulty robotic components before they result in unplanned outages. This is an example of robots fixing robots – the more intelligent they get, the less input AI needs from people. These advantages mean that people can concentrate on more important human tasks.  
  • Another example can be found in Nokia’s use of a machine learning video application that alerts assembly operators of inconsistencies in the production process, allowing for corrections in real time. At Northumbria, we’re involved in introducing smart technology to manufacturing too.

The more efficient and cost-saving manufacturing processes are, the cheaper products can be for the end user too. Artificial intelligence and machine learning enable processes that haven’t been possible in the past in the chemical, motor, technology and related sectors. 

This translates into everyday examples of AI where we can afford new products and services that make our lives better. 

Transform your future with Northumbria University

If you’re interested in how artificial intelligence is changing the world, Northumbria University’s distance learning Computer Science MSc will help you develop a core understanding of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Discover more about the Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence Masters course and also take a look at our Artificial Intelligence MSc for a more specific masters.


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