Artificial intelligence in everyday life

Artificial intelligence bot
18 Apr 2024
5 min read

A look at the beginning of a revolution that will transform technology and, possibly, humanity. 

Everything. That’s what artificial intelligence (AI) will change, according to Mikko Hyppönen, Principal Research Advisor at F-Secure. He thinks AI will be bigger than the internet revolution. And really, what hasn’t been altered in some way by computers, and then phones, and now almost anything that can access the internet? 


What we’re seeing is unparalleled in human history

 The advances of AI in replicating and enriching human thought and creativity have been remarkable. But the speed at which this technology has been adopted may be unparalleled in human history. The first web browser came out in 1991. Then, it took almost twenty years, until January of 2009, for there to be a billion monthly internet users. ChatGPT was released on the last day of November in 2022. Less than a year later, it had more than 1.7 billion monthly users.


When you add together the number of people using bots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL·E, which quickly produce sophisticated text or images based on simple prompts, billions of people are already using generative AI. And this is only one subset of this technology. Whether or not you’ve taken the time to purposely try out AI, it’s almost certain that AI will have touched your life in some way, whether you realize it or not.


How AI looks today

 Machine learning, another subset of AI that allows computer models to improve themselves based on data, has been used to power search and social media recommendation engines for years. When people criticize ‘the algorithm’ for feeding them posts they don’t like, they’re in fact complaining about what many now call AI. 


There are a wide number of ways that machine learning engines process content and then serve it up to people. If you’ve used an image filter or face recognition on Facebook or a photo app, those are also algorithms. So are the recommendations on YouTube, the contextual ads that may follow you from one website to another, and the notifications that try to lure you back to check a social network you haven’t visited in a few minutes. 


AI also makes it easier to navigate reality. It enhances satellite images to sharpen GPS directions available to most locations on earth. Instant text and audio translations have made a quantum leap over the last decade thanks to deep learning, an AI method that tries to mirror the human brain. A ‘universal translator’ of a sort that only existed in the sci-fi of the last century now resides in billions of pockets. 


What are the risks surrounding AI?

 Criminals, of course, never miss a trend. And they’ve quickly adapted to use the popularity of ChatGPT to trick consumers into downloading bad software. WormGPT, an AI bot sold on a hacking forum for malicious purposes, promises the power of an AI bot without the safeguards that have been built into ChatGPT and other mainstream tools. But notably, even the creator of that tool has said that some guardrails have been added since launch. 


Perhaps the most worrying use of AI that you may come across in your daily life comes from deepfakes – bots that produce lifelike images, audio, and videos of imagined events. Using just one minute of an individual’s voice, AI can create audio of that voice saying almost anything. Scammers can use this to pose as family members or a representative from your bank. Similar technology is being used to create fake nudes that may be used to extort targeted individuals.


What does an AI-enabled future look like?

 AI will only get more powerful, to the point where it may begin to rewrite its own code to improve itself. Over just the last year, the power of generative AI has increased radically as the large language model (LLM) that powers OpenAI’s bots released an upgrade from GPT-3.5 to GPT-4. The pressure to improve the already impressive results to keep up with competing LLMs from Google, Meta, and a variety of other tech leaders will only grow.


Eventually AI will enhance any form of technology if you believe the hype. When combined with AI, the wearable on your wrist suddenly becomes a medical device that can automatically connect you to a first responder if your vital signs show distress. AI-powered virtual assistants like Alexa may be able to tell what’s wrong with your faltering dishwasher by just listening to it run. Electrical grids will get smarter to automatically react to fallen trees. 


Mikko Hyppönen believes AI could eventually help solve climate change or cure cancer. If this revolution will affect everything, it won’t be long before it’s harder to find a part of your day where AI isn’t involved than when it is. And soon, it may be impossible to tell the difference. 


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