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AI in our daily lives

Artificial Intelligence is all around us. If you have clicked on a product recommendation from Amazon, if you have spoken with Siri, if you have taken a commercial flight or if you have navigated with google maps then you have benefited from AI.

One of the most fascinating examples of AI that many of us interact with on a daily basis is Face ID which debuted on the iPhone X. This was a breakthrough in a number of ways. For one thing the computing power necessary to run Face ID is so high that it was thought that the only way to do it would be to relay the image over the internet to a more powerful server which would analyse the picture and then respond with a lock or unlock instruction. This was not ideal because it meant that Face ID would only work when the phone had an internet connection.

To get around this Apple designed the iPhone X to contain a new A11 bionic chip plus a new neural engine located in the hardware. This extra power means Face ID can be sophisticated without compromising the phone’s other processes. The result is that, for example, Face ID can tell the difference between a 3D face and a 2D picture of a face, thereby avoiding one potential pitfall of the technology. It is also smart enough to not unlock if your eyes are closed, thereby avoiding the risk of someone holding up your phone to your face while you are asleep.

AI is necessary for this kind of task because a single face can look very different from picture to picture or from day to day. You might be wearing glasses, you might have grown a beard, you might be standing in a dark room. The machine has to be smart enough to see patterns in the complexity. The same is true for investing. The machine must be able to recognise the patterns that indicate certain human behaviours, even when everything else is changing around it. This is difficult but, when done correctly, it is a strategy that has continued to bear fruit since the 80s.

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