Transit. Self-driving cars are on the cusp of appearing on the roads, but that is not the sign that we have achieved integrated AI. The paradigm shift will really be when we don’t have a few self-driving cars on the road but when all the vehicles are self-driving units.
When AI controls the cars in unison, instead of each one thinking for itself, the whole way that we move around will transform, and mostly for the positive; stop lights, speed limits, traffic jams, and speeding tickets are all artifacts of our human inefficiencies in reaction time, impulse control, and self-interest. A self-driving network will allow for seamless integration and interlacing of traffic to maximize efficiency while minimizing risk; faster transit times with less accidents.
Domesticity. Smart homes are more regularly advertised on the market as using AI operated devices, utilities, and appliances. Another smart home concept operates all the devices from one central device that can control the house from the security alarm and garage doors to the television, stove, and even the showerhead. All this home integration, however, comes after the house is bought, so the next level of integration will be homes built as ‘smart homes’ from the ground up.
AI built into the walls and lights and floors of our homes would alter our way of life. AI systems could provide power where we need it and cut off energy to areas we don’t, eliminating unnecessary electricity waste. These systems could monitor who is where in the house to ensure that the right room is lit and at the right temperature, turning the lights off as we leave a room. More importantly, smart homes could also use this ability to constantly monitor the health and activity of the occupants, knowing immediately if there is a medical emergency, a break in, or a teenager trying to sneak out, or in, through a window.
Retail. Smart technology is also primed to integrate into 21st century brick and mortar stores. In some ways, this is already the most advanced integration, even though we don’t see it. AI has integrated so thoroughly with our phones that stores know our locations, e.g. when we enter their establishment down to the aisle or sector we’re standing in. Stores then tailor our web browsers to views of that portion of the store, providing ads from them that appear when we access the internet.
Another level of integration will appear and replace self-checkout, which is only the first step in automation at a store. The next step will be no checkout line at all. This could happen when AI monitors our movement in the store, analyzes what we put in our cart at the time of pickup, scans our cart periodically as we go, and just auto-debits our account as we leave the store without ever having to stop at the checkout aisle.
“Meet George Jetson!”
If we throwback to The Jetsons, an old cartoon from the 80s, we see far-fetched ideas like home robots and a society transported by self-driving vehicles. Today, those concepts are coming to life. The ability for AI to integrate further into our lives is coming, altering our habits and lifestyles to become a reality only previously imagined.