List one way in which AI will improve quality of life for an average Joe or Jane


For those of us who are tech professionals, a peer is always telling us how XYZ will change the world. Most of that does not happe, of course. Some of it, though, does change the world. In my lifetime, communications, computer processing power, and medicine/surgery have truly revolutionized our lives.
While I recognize that there is plenty of hype about AI and definitely hype about the timing of the impact, I tend to put AI and machine/deep learning in the same group as the technologies listed above.
So based on your assessment, what do you think are some of the more realistic applications of AI for average people. Just to get started, here are my two thoughts:

  1. Autonomous vehicles -- if automobiles changed our lives, then, with autonomous vehicles, as they say, "you haven't seen nothing yet."
  2. Disease diagnostic -- imagine entering every single radiological image in a huge database with information on patients, e.g. gender, age, ethnicity, weight, height, fitness level, medications, disease history, test results, etc. and let AI learn as the database grows over time with updated information on the patients. Next time, an image is uploaded, out comes the answer, "you have a 65% probability of getting lung cancer in 3 years, and if you take this medicine, your survival rate could be 90%."
Jay Dwivedi
20 months ago

22 answers


AI is most useful since our world is growing with big data. For instance, in this world of information, we can hardly keep up with all the data that is out there for research, diagnostics, or even personal knowledge. Our initial thoughts for an average human is google first for searching anything and everything. But lets take researchers or clinicians for example, the data they have to analyze and then contribute to with meaningful information can take days. Therefore, AI being used for next generation knowledge based curation is the most useful technique in this day and age. Optra Health has created their ICW iPhronesis platform as a useful tool in this field. The fact that I have seen its functionality using deep learning amazes me. And just like a normal human being, we have to train AI the same way to become better and more useful with the constant influx of data coming in.

Stuti Desai
19 months ago
I've contributed to discussions along these lines on this very site. The general consensus is for cautious optimism. They would like AI to properly curate the papers, but they don't want the AI to take over the research. - Alexander 9 months ago

Using DNA results to make suggestions of how you can improve your quality of life, near and long-term, with regards to food, exercise, supplements based on your current age, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other KPIs deemed most relevant by machine learning.

C. Thomas (Tom) Smith, III
20 months ago
It seems that genomic evidence for these general insights is not sufficient yet. We need to wait for results from much larger population studies to teach AI anything meaningful in the genomics arena. - Veronika 13 months ago
How do you figure, Veronika? Looking at companies like 23andMe and SNPedia, I'd think we are already aggregating and generating useful information. Of course, we can always use more! ;) - Jonathan 12 months ago
My health insurer has 30+ years' of information on me and millions of other people. I'm confident they've already seen a strong correlation between a particular drug and the rise in pancreatic cancer; however, it's not in big pharma or the insurance company's best interest to disclose their knowledge. Use data to improve the quality of people's lives rather than to sell them more drugs et al. - C. Thomas (Tom) 12 months ago

One thing to recognize is that the definition of intelligence lives on a sliding scale. What seems miraculous today is downgraded rapidly and then taken for granted. A few of these may be seen as AI technologies today but not tomorrow:

  • Google maps. Incredibly powerful, flexible, and current. Now seems like an easy drag-and-drop program, but has immense impact on day-to-day travel and planning for the average person
  • Image recognition - photo software. Rapid processing of pictures to find common objects, themes, or people, allowing for easy sorting and searching
  • Education - adaptive learning and testing. Programs that provide individualized curricula and testing for students and even adults. Check out Khan Academy for a simple example
  • Voice recognition - translation and voice control. This includes Cortana, Google Home/Assistant, Echo, and Skype. Turning on your fan remotely, playing music, or translating live from French to Spanish. These innovations will penetrate much further and become staples of convenience and life
Daniel Schiff
19 months ago

One way AI will improve the quality of life for Jane/Joe is ultimately to save them time. Three specific examples;

  1. I use "Amy" and if need be a Doodle to coordinate my scheduling. This saves me time and frustration of the back and forth.
  2. I use Charlie App (and the like) to give me updates on the social media content people have posted before I meet with them. This helps foster a faster connection, makes you look current and makes them feel special!
  3. I ask Google Home to look up trivia facts to help end celebrity debates at home!
Adrienne Houghton
18 months ago

The end goal of AI is really to have a Jarvis like system from Iron Man that we can talk to and it completes tasks automatically. In the current iterations its more like Facebook automatically tagging photos with your friends faces. We are rapidly approaching Tony Stark like ability but for the near term the best AI will be out of the way and you wont even really know its there.
Some areas where it will be truly helpful:
Medicine - Analyzing our daily activities and our bodily systems to make recomendations on what to do.
Construction - A robot that can build a house in one day instead of months, well that is happening.
Legal - Analyze contracts and tell us loop holes that need to be closed or how a client can proceed.
Art - We are prob 10 years away from a computer making a song or a painting by itself.
Travel - We will not be driving or flying ourselves in 50 years.
Military - Humans will no longer fight wars which will either make Terminator a real life thing or it has the ability to end human loss to warfare.
Marketing - In 10 years every ad will be tailor made to each individual person.
There are an infinite number of ways AI will change our daily lives but this is just the beginning.

Eric Kramer
16 months ago

AI depends initially upon the initial programming efforts to provide applications that have been carefully tested and debugged with a large enough sample population to elicit an acceptable confidence level to meet its stated purpose. Unless AI apps. Have been sufficiently analyzed and researched to provide intended results, otherwise unknown and unintended consequences may ensue.
Responsible AI program development requires that at the outset of an AI development project, its management team include post-development auditing procedures including a SWOT analysis. These steps are necessary to determine whether the AI project development team’s AI program(s) have met originally intended results. Alternatively, the AI post-audit should determine whether the subsequent unintended results result in beneficial or negative aspects deriving from its unintended consequences. Such an AI post audit should include recommendations to modify or abandon the AI project as well as a potential damage risk assessment of the AI projects unintended results.

Cort M. Johns, PhD-HSG
14 months ago
For the first generation, I favor developing and using AI in situations where outcomes are known and finite; not as a test of them, but as a confirmation that we humans do or don't know what we think we know about how AI will actually work when more widely employed under more and variable situations. - Ross A. 11 months ago

More things come to mind than I can share in this brief forum.
Any time that you can eliminate repetitive and low risk tasks, you free up the individual to do more value added work, or if simply less work is the goal, provide them with more free time (not likely ever the latter in today's society though)
Additionally, AI and VR combined in a training environment can create shadow environments where people can learn new tasks and skills w/out fear of damage or disrupting the production line outputs and activity.

Michael Kotowski
17 months ago
One thing I find fascinating about the whole notion of automation freeing up humans to do more vaulable work (whatever that is), is that we always have a great idea about what to automate. But no one ever seems to talk about or do anything truly meaningful about preparing those displaced humans to do that "more value-added work". Or even what that "value-added work" actually is. - Ross A. 11 months ago

AI can help monitoring and reporting relationship between physical health (physical activity, inflammation zones in the body, metabolic state, and/or other physical health traceable conditions) with emotional/mental state of the person to then provide feedback and/or make proactive suggestions. Effectiveness of suggestions may be traced, monitored and reported as well.

Norma H. Antuñano
17 months ago
This should be done, yes, but at best it will be approximate. There are far too many variables in this equation to produce convincing evidence of any correlated relationship, or any direct "cause-and-effect" conditions. - Ross A. 11 months ago

Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence mostly gets presented as a positive vision of the future, leading to job enlargement and functions with a higher grade of human dignity. Technology as no soul, by its design it is not good or bad. Human can use it to create a better world or at least work-space, but this is no automatic decision. Technology (including exoskeletons, bots, self-driving trucks, etc.) has to be planned and implemented with knowledge, ethics and integrity!

Patrick Henz
11 months ago
How will these soul-less ancilla make judgements: judgments that rely on the fuzzy logic we ourselves employ when deciding issues of ethics, of integrity, even of law where subjective interpretation is the rule? - Ross A. 11 months ago
The implementation of AI requires at the same time to establish an adequate control. Ethics & Compliance Officers have to ensure that human employees act based on values and corporate guidelines. The same has to be done ensured for AI. The software department is one risk group for the Compliance Officer. Diversity reduces the risk. Also AI behavior has to be controlled. - Patrick 11 months ago
Agreed. - Ross A. 11 months ago
Thanks!! - Patrick 11 months ago

Without doubts, AI has the potential to improve our personal life. But this is no automatic development. Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence mostly gets presented as a positive vision of the future, leading to job enlargement and functions with a higher grade of human dignity. Technology as no soul, by its design it is not good or bad. Human can use it to create a better world or at least workspace, but this is no automatic development. Technology has to be planned and implemented with knowledge, ethics and integrity.

From a more philosophic point of view, not only a positive development. Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence will replace a certain type and number of human employees. But this only, if this high tech-solution is more effective and / or cheaper than the person. Certain job functions will not be required anymore. As result, the value of the individual’s CV will drop. The employee has the opportunity to train him- or herself for different tasks or offer the available skills for a lower salary. The less rotary (“flexibility”, “creativity”,) included inside the individual’s tasks in the factory or workshop, the higher the possibility that the human gets replaced. If the employee in a monotone position does not get replaced, but peered with an Exoskeleton or Virtual Reality glasses, voice-based interphases, etc., the equipment has a high control over the person. Most AI experts predict that AI is most effective, if it acts together with a human. The type of symbiosis determines the human value. If the individual dominates inside the relation, the salary is high. If the AI is the strong part in the relation, the salary is low. This in accordance with earlier waves of, where employers had two options:
1)      automatize production and / or
2)      ship automatization to countries with a lower level of salary.

Governments have to prepare the society to avoid such dark sides of AI. A possible solution can be the Universal Basic Income, as it lowers the risk to lose the existing job. 

Patrick Henz
11 months ago

Mixed Reality and AI combining to bring us contextually relevant data.

David Barry
19 months ago
The decision of what is considered contextually relevant must still require a human decision, and human judgment. AI may advise, but expertise is not the same as wisdom. A smart AI can never be wise. - Alexander 9 months ago

Echoing Daniel Schiff's comments: no need to be the-next-big-things or unfamiliar concepts! AI technology today can make a huge differnce on Joe or Jane's life!
Simiple things like helping low-income patients on a ride from home to hospital - Uber or Google map!

Simon Lin
18 months ago
Why limit that to low-income patients? If you think AI has that much potential in this limited use-case, why not everyone? - Ross A. 11 months ago

For our aging society, AI will be integrated into all kinds of tools and services supporting seniorsto live more full lives at home while they age.

Mo (Maureen) March Kanwischer - Business Growth Expert
16 months ago
Honestly, I would hate to see our elders be the first population upon whom we loosed AI, unless the AI was very limited in its capability and potential to go wrong. I know of no more ill-equipped population segment who would have to contend with a malfunctioning ancilla. - Ross A. 11 months ago

Some simple health care applications already in place but data remains siloed and fully optimized to make a difference.
Autonomous transportation likely to more quickly evolve as alluded to by others.

Randy Vogenberg, PhD
15 months ago

Where can AI improve health services? The short answer is, wherever Big Data lives.

  1. It is nearly impossible for doctors to stay abreast of all the new and changing rules governing their fields, on top of the constant innovations taking place therein.

In the paper, Analysis of Questions Asked by Family Doctors Regarding Patient Care, (Ely, J. W. et al. 1999) observed 103 physicians over one workday. Those physicians asked 1,101 clinical questions during the day. The majority of those questions (64%) were never answered. Among questions that did get answered, the physicians spent less than two minutes looking for their answers.

  1. Another area where AI can be hugely helpful is in presenting data and helping patients make sense of it. After all, they are confronted with the same challenge as their doctors: quantities of specialized information that can be life saving, or just the opposite. The patient’s informed consent is required in every aspect of care – from their contributing biological samples preparing for complex surgeries, to accepting a given course of treatment. How do we empower patients to make truly informed decisions, while allowing developers access to the streams of data?
Veronika Litinski
13 months ago
I also do not accept that AI is any sort of answer (beyond "approximate and tentative") to "Big Data". The ancilla we build will be no better than our own developing sense of how to analyze BD and then turn that into intelligent programs to automate doing the same thing. - Ross A. 11 months ago

I am not convinced that AI will in fact improve quality of life: meaning, I do not consider this "improvement" as a foregone conclusion. I read the answers above and find that in many it appears "assumed" that the designers and programmers will know exactly how to build these ancilla. I make no such assumption.
Point: trying to build an AI based on human thinking-reasoning-arbitration models is fine in terms of the decision making process, per se. But what about the more ethereal constraining influences of the various prohibitors, societal etiquette, and "taboos"? These will likely prove a lot harder to codify than the more pragmatic decisionmaking, but quite possibly much more important.
I am not concerned about AI's becoming the HAL-9000 paranoid killer of astronauts. Nor do I think they will one day bring "SkyNet" into lucid reality. I do think that like all other technologies, this should be tested a whole lot before we turn it loose on the elderly (in particular) or anyone else. Developing and implenting safety measures in AI's should be a very, very high priority before Marketing folks get hold of these devices and sell them on "promise" and "coolness".
I also think someone should be considering Asimov's Laws of Robotics as mandatory to be included - that may have been sci-fi when he first wrote it, but not any more. It is likewise important to consider what the increasingly sophisticated and pervasive attacks on IoT devices (which these ancilla, like the Tesla cars and biomedical devices, are) could produce in the way of impacts, and what must be done about them - BEFORE the attacks show us what can happen. And they will.....

Ross A. Leo
12 months ago

One additional thought occurs - what about the so-called "Law of Unintended Consequences"?  In complex systems, when attempting to address/solve complex problems where all conceivable outcomes are not known with certainty, there arises a probability that progressive probabilistic events will occur.  Think of the machine that is programmed by a human:  she programs the machine to respond to certain conditions and to employ deterministic logic to "learn and adapt" as conditions change (this is what happens today in IDS/IPS and other systems). Eventually, its learning and adaptation reaches beyond what was expected or foreseeable.  This is not a paranoid description of "machines gone mad" - simply a scenario of what occurs today when machines, entrusted with a limited job, are allowed to adapt and re-program themselves in that process get beyond our range of attention and control.

Man likes things to be automated to relieve certain burdens of the mundane.  Once he attains a certain comfort level, he begins to trust (or ignore) certain autonomic activities that have never gone wrong as though they never will.  Eventually they will - we have already seen cases of that.  I want AI to advance, I just don't think it is healthy for it to advance beyond our capability to manage it.

Ross A. Leo
11 months ago
To ensure negative social consequences, if we have more intelligent software, we would have to make humans smarter, too. - Patrick 11 months ago

Artificial intelligence should facilitate, and whenever possible enhance people’s life without jeopardizing security, confidentiality or personal information (unfortunately in some cases artificial intelligence is utilized to extract personal information in interest of some other entity).
Some ways where artificial intelligence can help (upon personal consent)  is with assistance of proactively  making aware and assist with actions persons with a  monitored disease   (for example  diabetes,   kidney  functioning problems, heart or circulatory system problems,  or other) about if he/she should take specific action(s) before the condition escalates or degrades. This can be achieved   utilizing the ongoing health related information (quantitative and qualitative) the patient is gathering though some device or wearable in connection to a node of a health care system..

Other use is to help identify location in more efficient ways than some of the mainstream technologies currently available. Sometimes these do not work well, especially in dense or congested areas, and/or in areas where the signal coverage is not good enough. 

Norma H. Antuñano
11 months ago

Put yourself in the position of Al and your mistrust of drug companies - if the remedy is prescribed by your physician you may well take their advice, but the advice of a computer loaded with information about you, hell no! However if you are supplied with data and case studies and are able to talk to people about the advice you may be interested.

Preventative steps may be of interest, like stop smoking because it causes cancer............

Lawrence Perry MIoD FRSA
10 months ago
Good point. For example, you can have your Personal Virtual Twin who predicts your future health status based on today's life style. - Patrick 10 months ago

The Medical Futurist believes they will ease the burden on doctors in primary care and help patients learn to take care of their health responsibly as a  new kind of doctor has entered the exam room, but doesn’t have a name. In fact, these doctors don’t even have faces.

Although we are still in the early stages of its development, AI is already just as capable as (if not more capable than) doctors in diagnosing patients. My own daughter who is a doctor, uses several dater-bases when looking for answers

Artificial intelligence algorithms are not only making our cars safer and shopping easier, but increasingly diagnose patients and we are already looking at individual designed medicines tailered to the individual

David Whiting
6 months ago

AI can help everyone achieve more of their potential.
1) Education via a personalized, talking and continually adapting tutor
2) Instant availability of almost any factual knowledge, just by asking
3) Cooperative synthesis of new knowledge by using AI prepared knowledge graphs, automatic exploration of potential routes to discovery, and exponentially growing computational power.
Already we see the average Joe and Jane have benefitted, by having free access to some of the most powerful AI in the world in the form of Google's internet search and voice recognition and translation features. Finding what you are looking for quickly and accurately is immensely valuable to everyone.

Joe Eaton
3 months ago

AI can impact every John and Jane when it is able to assist when they have need for immediate assistance by sensor monitoring of situations where assistance is likely needed. Consider the Star Trek Voyager Holo-doctor example where the helpful holo-doc on call asks you to "state the nature of your problem". You request assistance in assessing your options for a bad tooth including finding an emergency clinic or making an appointment. You find yourself on the floor and the holo-doc is asking you about your situation and evaluating the type of help you need (it is the help me I have fallen example). You are driving your car and black out only to find your car has driven you to a safe place to get help, or called the authorities based on your vitals and provided the location. For the elderly, especially those hard of hearing, perhaps the AI Virtual Personal Assistant can display text on the nearest available screen. That same VPA could remind you to take your pills at the appoint time and perhaps even open a flashing dispenser to guide you.

Right now, AI and the VPAs that are emerging such as Google and Amazon, provide useful baselines for allowing you to ask questions to get answers, order items, and to learn your patterns for shopping or appointments. AI is in its infancy, but holds great promise to be assistive, interactive, useful as a learning tool, and able to sense situations and present options.

Sandy Waters
1 month ago

Have some input?