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5 extremely cool new AI applications

It’s no secret that we love AI over here at Phrasee

Image credit: Warner Bros


We’ve built our business around using AI to help marketers bring in more money (really – you can watch the video here).

One of AI’s most amazing aspects (and a personal favourite of ours), is the incredible flexibility in how it can be applied. AI is used to improve processes and solve problems that, up until now, only humans (or maybe animals) have been able to tackle. These processes are in turn designed to make humans’ work and lives easier. We at Phrasee use AI to help write better, smarter, higher converting email subject lines than a person can. But, AI is currently being used in myriad other ways, from the practical to the fanciful.

And it is just getting started.

A 2016 report from Narrative Science found that 38% of companies were already using AI. That number is expected to increase to 62% by 2018. From making music to detecting human emotions and everything in between, the ways in which AI can be used are mind boggling.

Here are 5 of the most interesting and unique AI applications that have caught our eye recently.

5 extremely cool new AI applications


1) Recycling robots


There’s one more ‘R’ to be added to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”: Robots. AMP robotics builds robots to help identify and sort recyclables almost instantaneously. The scalable robotic system combines computer vision and machine learning with robots that can pick recyclables off of a conveyor belt more quickly than human workers. The system helps make recycling centres ‘smart’ and ensures products are sorted properly to be recycled. They can even pull out recyclable items from mixed rubbish headed to the landfill.

2) Google’s new kind of music

Standing for ‘Neural Synthesizer’, NSynth (which we can’t help but read as *NSYNC), is a synthesizer from Magenta that uses machine learning to produce musical sounds humankind has never heard before. As a project from Google Brain, Google’s central AI lab, Magenta grapples with the questions, “Can we use machine learning to create compelling art and music? If so, how? If not, why not?”. For NSynth, Google took a giant database of sounds and ran them through a neural network. The network then analysed the notes to learn what characteristics made them stand out. The system then used its deep neural networks to create new sounds by blending existing sounds and instruments.

3) A different kind of hamburger helper

Flippy is a ‘kitchen assistant’ that continuously learns from its experience. It improves over time to handle repetitive, dirty or risky tasks, such as cutting vegetables or frying chicken, in commercial kitchens. Flippy was rolled out a few months ago at a California burger joint to flip burger patties. The system works alongside its human coworkers (watch the video here). By lending a hand in the kitchen, so to speak, Flippy can help reduce risks for cooks while ensuring efficient and effective processes.  

4) Robo-dogs

Robots and AI are very different, but the two technologies are also often used together. The Beijing-based company, Roobo, has been hard at work developing man’s new best friend, Domgy. Domgy is a pet robot that, according to the website, “provides both entertainment and companionship”. The dog is designed to recognise family members, featuring face and voice recognition, and can navigate around a home on its own, show emotion and even obey orders. Of course, the futuristic pet will never replace a real Fido, but it’s still pretty awesome.   

5) Emotion-detecting WiFi

Image credit: Dreamworks


The smart guys at MIT are now using WiFi and an AI application called EQ Radio to determine the emotional states of human users. Using capabilities already available in WiFi routers, the scientists can detect people and measure heartbeats by bouncing RF signals off them and then running the signals through an algorithm. It may seem similar to an EKG (an electrocardiogram test that checks the electrical activity of your heart), but since the person isn’t connected to a machine the AI has to process information differently, taking many factors like the size of the room and what’s going on within it into consideration. At first, it sounds a little big brother-esque (why should a WiFi router read your emotion??), but a TNW article poses a good point; in smart homes this technology could be used to detect someone having a heart attack or how calmly a newborn is sleeping.

Yes, AI is certainly changing the game when it comes to… well just about everything.

While we use it for marketing, there’s clearly an array of other applications clever people are concocting using the versatile technology and we can’t wait to see how its adoption grows in the future.

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