Future perfect? How artificial intelligence is rewiring the world for good

Look around the average smart household over the next few years and chances are that artificial intelligence (AI) and its super-smart sibling, machine learning, will be behind an awful lot of what’s going on. Want to find out what the weather’s like or order a Chinese takeaway? Just ask Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, your virtual assistants. Running low on milk? Don’t worry, your hyper-connected fridge will have already ordered you some more. Need to head into town? Your driverless car will be waiting in the garage and knows exactly where to find a free parking space.

Need help translating your Spanish homework? No problem, super-polyglot Google Translate will do it in less time than it takes to get that dusty dictionary down off the shelf. Wish you’d set the heating to come on before you got home this evening? Relax, Nest has already learned all your habits and adjusted the thermostat so you can walk into a toasty living room. The dawn of domestic bliss 2.0 is here – and it’s switched on 24/7.

AI and machine learning aren’t new phenomena, of course. Mary Shelley’s vision of Frankenstein scared 19th-century readers witless, driverless cars have been on the test track since the 1980s and the Deep Blue computer famously outsmarted World chess champion Gary Kasparov two decades ago. But the difference in 2017 is that they’ve now become an everyday reality for billions of ordinary people across the world.

How is Azimo using AI and machine learning?

As a 100% digital money transfer company, Azimo has always been first in line when it comes to implementing new technology, and 2017 is no different for us. AI and machine learning are being used to improve everything we do – from customer service to compliance and security.

  • Smart pricing will allow us to offer a far wider range of customer deals and react even more effectively to currency fluctuations.
  • Dynamic delivery times will mean we can give a more realistic transaction arrival time based on a whole range of variables – from compliance status to time zone differentials.
  • Our chat bot is growing up faster than your average teenager and will be able to help customers with more targeted FAQ support and faster responses to queries – wherever they are and whatever language they speak.
  • Machine-learning algorithms will allow all payments to be scanned for potential fraud using behavioural signals and rich payments data – better for Azimo’s compliance team and better for the security and speed of our service.

What are the potential challenges of AI?

Back in 2014, physicist Stephen Hawking issued a stark warning: “Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks.” Despite the sci-fi scaremongering, though, the biggest danger we face from AI is not that Terminator-style robots will rule the world, or even that the fridge will order too much semi-skimmed milk.

No, what’s most worrying for the human race right now is that AI will advance to such a degree that many of us could become entirely redundant. The theory goes like this: while an AI global takeover will lead to improved standards of living, it could also lead to whole swathes of the global job market being ‘dehumanised’ – the Nomura Research Institute (NRI) recently predicted that up to 49% of Japanese jobs could be taken over by robots within the next two decades.

Take the example of a very real emerging AI field – driverless vehicles. It’s not too much in the realms of la-la land to believe that in 20 years’ time many vehicles will drive themselves. So the question is what happens to all the people who drive for a living – whether that be a minicab or a monster delivery lorry? In the US alone, that’s more than three million people’s livelihoods at stake.

Don’t think it’ll ever happen? It already is. Last October, Budweiser made a 120-mile commercial beer delivery using a self-driving truck – and it didn’t spill a single drop.

…and how do we overcome them?

Countries such as the Netherlands and Finland are already trialling the idea of paying every citizen a guaranteed basic income – regardless of whether they work or not – to allow people sufficient breathing space to retrain and rethink how and why they work. Meanwhile, Apple has just signed up to the Partnership on AI research group, joining the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft to ensure that AI is developed safely, ethically and for the good of society as a whole.

AI and machine learning will inevitably reshape the way we work and live in the near future, and governments and businesses worldwide need to focus their efforts on re-skilling and up-skilling through retraining and apprenticeships – and, in the case of children, future-proofing their education. This will allow people to adapt, interact and ultimately thrive in an increasingly tech-driven world.

Azimo’s market-leading platform means you can send money to more than 190 countries across the globe in just a few clicks via our website or app. Head to our homepage, check out our brilliant rates and start saving today!