Wireless network, Connection technology concept, Information communication network, abstract line connection on night city background

The influence of artificial intelligence and big data on society

Posted on: January 26, 2024

In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology, two buzzwords have come to dominate discussions: artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. These forces are reshaping the way we live, work and interact with the world around us.

This blog delves into the profound influence of AI and big data on various aspects of society, exploring their applications, implications, and potential future developments.

The power of big data

Big data is the fuel that drives AI systems. It encompasses massive datasets, often in the terabytes or petabytes, that are too complex to be processed by traditional methods. Through advanced data science techniques, AI systems extract patterns, trends, and insights, providing valuable information for various industries.

Data-driven decision-making

In both the public and private sectors, decisions are increasingly being guided by data. 

Whether it’s in forecasting market trends, optimising supply chains, or developing new products, data analytics provides tailored and specific business insights for organisations. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM have adopted AI-powered systems to optimise their business models and customer experiences.

The rise of artificial intelligence

AI, often referred to as the pinnacle of modern computing, encompasses a wide array of technologies and approaches that enable machines to mimic human intelligence.

From simple rule-based systems to complex deep learning algorithms, AI has come a long way.

Machine learning and deep learning

Machine learning, a subset of AI, involves training algorithms to learn from data and make decisions or predictions without explicit programming. Deep learning takes this a step further, using neural networks to process vast amounts of data and discover intricate correlations. 

These technologies have revolutionised sectors like healthcare, finance, and information technology.

The global reach of AI research and innovation

The influence of AI on societies is not confined to a single region. China is emerging as a powerhouse in AI research and development, with companies like Baidu and Alibaba leading the charge.

In the United States, the tech hubs of Silicon Valley and New York continue to drive innovation, alongside the prestigious academic institution Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which has played a significant role in the development of many areas of modern technology and science.

In Europe, initiatives from the European Union are striving to create a democratic and regulatory framework for the responsible use of AI. The University of Oxford in the UK is conducting groundbreaking research and is one of the world’s leading centres for research and development in AI.

The research work being done in industry and academia covers areas such as natural language processing, robotics, and neural networks, and has far-reaching implications, not only for its development but also for its responsible deployment.

AI public sector investment

Government initiatives around the world are recognising the potential benefits of AI in delivering public services. From predictive policing to real-time traffic management, AI systems are being implemented to enhance efficiency and responsiveness. 

Countries like Germany and the UK are increasing investment in AI research. Germany is promising to spend €500m on supercomputing infrastructure, skills development, women-led research groups, and 150 new professorships, while the UK is investing in supporting the AI and data science workforce to develop trustworthy and secure AI.

Transforming healthcare with AI

One of the most promising applications of AI lies in healthcare. The integration of AI algorithms in medical practices enhances decision-making processes, allowing for more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans.

With access to extensive datasets, AI systems can identify patterns and anomalies in patient data, leading to improved outcomes, more personalised care, and even disease prediction.

Real-world impact: AI case studies

To understand the real-world impact of AI and big data, let’s consider some case studies from both the non-profit and the private sector.

American Red Cross: Improving disaster response

The Red Cross has been working with Microsoft Philanthropies to develop an AI tool that will reduce the time spent on disaster assessment.

In a project which has spanned years of effort, the AI model can look at satellite imagery after a disaster and provide assessment on damage to infrastructure. It allows the teams to know which areas to prioritise in response, which can save lives.

Deloitte: Enabling companies to have more precision

Deloitte partners with businesses to ‘leverage the power and versatility of AI to reach new levels of organisational excellence’. 

In one use case of their AI technology, they suggest it’s possible to optimise the grid and energy efficiency by using generative AI to analyse customer behaviour and offer incentives for more effective energy usage and by using AI models to generate a more optimised grid design.

The ethical quandaries of AI

As AI technology becomes more prevalent, questions surrounding its ethical use and impact on human rights have gained prominence.

Issues like privacy and data protection are paramount, especially in the age of social media where vast amounts of personal data are collected and analysed.

Additionally, AI algorithms with internal workings that are invisible to the user, often referred to as ‘black boxes’, can sometimes make decisions that are difficult to explain or understand which poses challenges for transparency and accountability.

The future of AI and big data

Looking ahead, AI and big data will continue to shape the technological landscape, with advancements in areas like facial recognition, the Internet of Things (IoT), and natural language processing further extending the capabilities of AI. 

As stakeholders such as policymakers, data scientists, and businesses collaborate to navigate regulatory challenges, we can likely expect a future where AI and big data play an even more integral role in our lives.

Be at the forefront of new technologies

The development of AI is in relatively early stages, with a way to go before complete automation by a machine that can effectively replicate a human being is a cornerstone of our day-to-day lives. 

As an exciting and fast-growth sector, the career opportunities are immense as more and more employers and AI providers seek professionals with knowledge and skills in AI. Put yourself in a good position for your future career and join the AI revolution by studying the University of Wolverhampton’s 100% online MSc Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence

On this degree you will study various elements of AI including data mining and informatics. This will outline how information systems control data collection and assess data quality, how deep machine learning applies a variety of AI models and what they all mean, and how AI can be applied to a range of real-world problems.

No. 1 Ranked in the UK For Teaching first generation students
85% of research 'world-leading' or 'internationally important' (latest REF)
Online Psychology Master’s accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS)
22,000 A university of 22,000 students
1827 Providing education and opportunity since 1827