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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE & TECHNOLOGY

5 TED Talks to understand how AI has changed the world

13 July 2021 · By Irene Martínez

Artificial intelligence used to be the stuff of make-believe, only to be found in the pages of sci-fi novels or on the big screen. 

Yet, in the last decade or so, AI has helped change the face of many business sectors — making it easier, and cheaper, for countless industries to operate. Chatbots are handling complex customer queries, smartwatches can detect signs of seizures, cars can drive themselves, and insurance claims can be approved in seconds. 

There are still some who doubt the importance of AI, though. And some that fear it poses a risk to humanity. This may be due to a lack of understanding of how AI can improve complex and time-consuming tasks... Or maybe they have watched one too many movies. 

Like it or not, the AI revolution is in full swing, providing value across the board.

At Bdeo, we are experts in (and big fans of) Visual Intelligence and AI, but you don’t just have to take our word for it. TED Talks are an amazing resource packed with valuable information on every topic you could ever think of, including AI. We’ve put together a collection of our favorite TED Talks to show you how AI is changing the world for the better.

How AI can bring on a second Industrial Revolution - Kevin Kelly

"The actual path of a raindrop as it goes down the valley is unpredictable, but the general direction is inevitable"

Author and digital visionary, Kevin Kelly, is the co-founder of Wired and an avid follower of technology and the culture surrounding it. Kelly took to the TED stage in 2016 to talk about how AI was primed to revolutionize the way we work. And just five years later, we’re already seeing some of the benefits he laid out.

As this talk was given in 2016, there weren’t many examples he could take from to demonstrate his point. However, he was able to use the car as a perfect comparison between the first Industrial Revolution and his predicted second revolution.

Kelly explains that the jump from horse-drawn carts to machines that can replicate the power of 250 horses is similar to the jump from a standard car to self-driving vehicles. As well as the power of 250 horses, cars gain the power of 250 minds to create a whole new utility.

How AI is making it easier to diagnose disease - Dr. Pratik Shah 

“I believe that we are poised to enter an era where artificial intelligence is going to make an incredible impact on our future”

Dr. Pratik Shah is a Principal Investigator leading the Health 0.0 research lab at MIT. One of Shah’s key research goals surrounds augmenting artificial intelligence, machine learning, medical imaging, and neural network capabilities with statistical reasoning for personalized digital medicines to improve health outcomes. 

But you don’t have to understand what that means to find his TED talk insightful.

Shah’s short, but informative 2017 TED Talk, uses his expertise to explain how AI is helping doctors diagnose diseases such as liver and mouth cancers. 

Early detection is vital to combat these diseases, but doctors still face massive challenges when using traditional methods for diagnosis. During the talk, Shah explains that his group at MIT Media Lab is attempting to create scalable, effective AI architectures that can aid doctors in making those crucial early diagnoses

How AI could compose a personalized soundtrack to your life - Pierre Barreau

“...and imagine if we could bring back Beethoven to life. And if he was sitting next to you, composing a music for your personality and your life story”

Pierre Barreau is the CEO of AIVA, an artificial intelligence that composes music and the subject of this TED Talk. Barreau has a unique take on AI and is attempting to bring it to a creative platform using data and machine learning to create beautiful, emotional pieces of music.

AIVA has learned from over 30,000 scores, representing some of history’s greatest composers such as Beethoven and Mozart. What may take talented composers decades to hone, takes AIVA just a few hours — and the AI shows off its skills during public performances. 

During the talk, Barreau explains how his AI can adapt to individual personalities to create beautiful pieces of music that reflect their values and experiences. And while that’s not world-changing in the same way as medical and industrial advancements, it just goes to show the incredible, developing, power of AI.

A bold idea to replace politicians - César Hidalgo

“You are not providing data to communicate with your friends and family that then gets used in a political system. You are providing data to a system that is designed to be used to make political decisions on your behalf”

César A. Hidalgo leads the Collective Learning group at The MIT Media Lab and is an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT. His work focuses on understanding the ways that teams, organizations, cities, and even nations learn. He also develops software tools that help facilitate learning within those organizations. 

This work led him to a fairly radical idea, what if politicians were replaced with AI?

Hidalgo’s 2018 TED Talk breaks down how governments could bypass the personal biases most politicians present and use AI to make impartial democratic decisions. He views representatives as potential bottlenecks to true democracy and sees the future of democracy carried out by effective, AI-driven entities. 

How AI can help shatter barriers to equality - Jamila Gordon

“I can tell you in the real world right now, AI is making amazing things possible for organizations and for people who otherwise would have been left behind. Language, education, and location are no longer the barriers they once were”

Jamila Gordon has had a fascinating journey from her birth in Somalia to gaining executive positions at IBM, Qantas Airways, and CIMIC. She founded Lumachain, a company that aims to bring transparency to global supply chains with an emphasis on using technology to end modern slavery. 

Gordon’s 2020 TED talk offers a fascinating insight into her journey before explaining her dream of using AI to break down barriers faced by disadvantaged people. She explains how Lumachain’s AI is currently helping producers offer improved safety and transparency while making true connections with their employees — without the need to understand the local language. 

So what do you think? Are you inspired? We certainly are.

Bdeo’s AI-powered insurance technology is revolutionizing our corner of the world: home and motor insurance. You can find out more, and get a demo, right here.

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