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The Age of AI

Kamya Rawat

April 3, 2023

Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. Specific applications of AI include expert systems, natural language processing, speech recognition and machine vision. From Google and Amazon to Apple and Microsoft, every major tech company is dedicating resources to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. Personal assistants like Siri and Alexa have made AI a part of our daily lives. If you have ever used Apple products then you probably had a chance to ‘meet’ Siri. But have you ever been wondering how Siri actually works? Siri was the first major AI-powered voice assistant popularized on a large scale that was capable of interpreting human speech, generating responses, and performing multiple tasks. Siri can be interacted with through Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch, or HomePod. By default, Siri is assigned a female voice and although it is difficult to talk about a computer-generated agent as having a specific gender, the fact that the default setting makes Siri sound like a 'she'. After activation, Siri proceeds to ‘listen’ to the user’s spoken query. Siri’s ability to ‘understand’ is enacted through the speech recognition mechanism. During this process the words uttered by the user are converted into speech patterns and broken down into segments, segments are converted into syllables, and lastly, separate syllables are assigned to particular wave patterns individually which enables Siri to decode what has been said by the user. Siri’s speech generation is enabled through the preceding process of capturing 10–20 hours of voice recordings by a professional speaker in a studio. It is also important to note that the recordings contain varied materials ranging from manuals to jokes to cover the whole spectrum of vocal intonations. Then, the response generation is enacted through text-to-speech synthesis that is based on slicing this pre-recorded speech into basic elements and rearranging them to create new sentences. The underlying mechanisms that stand behind Siri are so complex that it would be possible to write a whole book about it and it would probably still not be enough. Nonetheless, an overview of Siri’s functionalities will enable you to better understand what is happening ‘behind the scenes’ the next time you interact with an AI-enabled voice assistant. There are numerous AI tools currently under development, and here are some of the most promising ones that are likely to be available in the near future: 1. GPT-3 successor: GPT-3 is one of the most advanced natural language processing models in existence. Its successor, which may be called GPT-4, is likely to be even more powerful and capable of generating more complex and sophisticated language. 2. AI-powered personal shopping assistants: AI-powered personal shopping assistants are being developed to help people find products that meet their specific needs and preferences. These assistants use machine learning algorithms to analyze a person's shopping history and make personalized product recommendations. 3. AI-powered medical diagnosis: AI-powered medical diagnosis systems are being developed to help doctors diagnose diseases more accurately and efficiently. These systems can analyze large amounts of medical data and provide insights that may not be immediately apparent to human doctors. 4. AI-powered virtual assistants: AI-powered virtual assistants are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are likely to become more ubiquitous in the future. These assistants can help with a variety of tasks, from scheduling appointments to providing personalized recommendations. 5. AI-powered autonomous drones: Autonomous drones equipped with AI algorithms are being developed to perform a wide range of tasks, from delivering packages to conducting search and rescue missions. These drones can navigate complex environments and make decisions based on real-time data analysis. Overall, AI tools are likely to become more powerful, efficient, and ubiquitous in the coming years, leading to a range of new applications and use cases.