“I will be there, and everywhere.
Here, there and everywhere.” – The Beatles
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the heart of technological revolution today. The world of AI is complex and vast; it is a buzzword that has been thrown around, alongside terms like “machine learning”, “deep tech”, “neural networks”, “Internet of Things” and the likes. Prima facie, it seems like a black box to many – but is it really?
One only has to take a look around to realise that it is present in many facets of our daily lives – from “Hey Siri” and face recognition on Apple devices, recommended movies on Netflix, to navigation on Google Maps. To set the stage, broadly and simply speaking, AI refers to the use of machines to replicate human intelligence. In this article, the author sets out to give five examples of AI applications in art, beauty, entertainment, fitness and healthcare, to illustrate the wide ranging applications of the technology. The potential of AI is enormous – and we are just getting started.
AI has been shaking up creative processes for years. AI was first taught to replicate art. Using a technique called style transfer, it uses “deep neural networks to replicate, recreate and blend styles of work”. A simple example will be its use in photo and video editing software. Today, the contemporary art world is taking it one step further. Portrait of Edmond Belamy created by GAN (Generative Adversarial Network) sold for a jaw dropping $432,500 at Christie’s, with the artist (AI, of course)’s signature as below1:
Yet another example is Botto – it is an AI algorithm that has made US$1.3 million for its first 6 NFT artworks. On its website, it describes itself as “decentralized artist”, “artificial intelligence” and a “generative algorithm”2. What makes it even more interesting is the human input factor – every week, Botto presents 350 pieces of art to the community for voting. Botto then uses these votes to “train the algorithm”, therefore changing the art created over time. At the end of the week, the most voted artpiece is minted as an NFT and put up for auction. While artform created using AI is “derivative” work, it can similar be argued for artwork done by humans too.
Beauty retailer Sephora has been embracing AI technology with open arms – in partnership with Modiface – a facial analysis and visualization technology company – it has rolled out an AI based application that aids consumer matching skin tone shades and choosing cosmetic products3. Over the years, many beauty giants have also jumped on the technology bandwagon – with the help of AI, augmented reality (AR) and smart devices to create more personalized shopping experiences for customers. Olay uses a deep learning algorithm and 50,000 selfies of women across different age groups, skin tones etc, to advise consumers on their skin condition with just a selfie picture4.
In the recent blockbuster movie “Top Gun: Maverick”, actor Val Kilmer was able to return to set as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky with the help of AI. He had unfortunately lost the use of his voice after having undergone throat cancer treatment in 2014. A voice synthesis company, “Sonatic”, successfully re-created his voice with machine learning technology5. The neural network machine was trained and fed hours of his archival recordings to create a vocal clone. In fact, voice synthesis is also used in everyday life such as in virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alex and Apple’s Siri.
Fiture is a fitness solution company that provides Al-driven interactive fitness mirrors. According to the website, it is a smart fitness mirror with features such as 1) live form correction; 2) advanced gesture controls, 3) accurate rep count and movement times as well as 4) performance tracking for every move6. Users can subscribe to monthly workout programs, and compete with their friends globally.
While healthcare wearables have been in the market for some time now, the technology behind wearables has undoubtedly evolved over time. For the purpose of this example, the article will focus on Apple Watch. The most commonly cited example will be Apple’s “Hey Siri”, a voice recognition personal assistant powered by AI. Another example is the sleep app – by utilizing machine learning to classify movements, the Watch is able to detect when users are sleeping to track their sleep patterns7. Recently in May 2022, a recent new application developed for Apple Watch has shown potential to monitor electrocardiograms (ECM) data to identify a life-threatening heart disease in a non-clinical setting8.
Back in 2015, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study showed that the IQ of an AI system was equivalent to that of a four-year-old child9. In 2016, AlphaGo beat 18 times Go world champion Lee Sedol10 in a stunning victory. In 2019, an AI program co-developed by Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook AI defeated world-class professionals in six-player No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker11. In the same year, AI-powered AlphaStar was ranked top 0.2% of Starcraft human players (rules of Starcraft are more complex than those of Go). Well, this “child” sure grows fast – so, what’s next?
1Source: Christies, “Is artificial intelligence set to become art’s next medium”, 12 Dec 2018
2Source: Botto, 4 Jul 2022
3Source: Retaildive, “Sephora wields AI for new wave shopping experiences, innovating in personalization”, Dec 2017
4Source: Blending AR with makeup for personalized beauty at Sephora, others (usatoday.com), 19 Aug 2019
5Source: Fortune, How AI “masterfully restored” Top Gun star Val Kilmer’s Voice, 27 May 2022
6Source: Fiture, 7 Jul 2022
7Source: Analyticsteps, How Apple uses AI and Big Data, 21 Jan 2021
8Source: Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiology, New App for Apple Watch Uses Artificial Intelligence to Detect Left-ventricular Dysfunction, 18 May 2022
9Source: BBC, Intelligent Machines: AI had IQ of four-year-old child, 7 Oct 2015
10Source: Wired, In Two Moves, AlphaGo and Lee Sedol Redefined the Future, 16 Mar 2016
11Source: Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Mellon and Facebook AI Beats Professionals in Six-Player Poker, 11 Jul 2019