We tend to underestimate the speed of how new technologies will revolutionize the Sharing and Platform Economy and society as a whole. We, shareNL, see an urgent need to start a conversation on these topics to seize all the opportunities they offer and also to address the applicable challenges . This is why we decided to dive into Artificial Intelligence. In this short series of blogposts we will take you on a journey through the world of AI with its definition, its challenges, future trends and scenarios.

In order to determine the role of Artificial Intelligence in the future of Sharing and Platform Economy, it is crucial that we first go in to the technology itself. Nonetheless it is hard to find a universal definition for this term since it is relatively new and developing all the time. To describe it, we have therefore not only looked at online sources, but have also talked to various experts in the field. Keep in mind that the following definition is a flexible and fluid one and it will be changing as long as Artificial Intelligence is.

Artificial Intelligence is the computer technology that we as humans don’t have to provide with rules in order for it to come to conclusions, instead we provide it with structured data from which it can conclude its own rules. Through getting more experience and more data, it will keep improving its conclusions which makes it a self-learning technology.

 The formula of Artificial Intelligence would therefore be the following:
Computer Technology + (DATA + I) = A

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Artificial Intelligence and its many names

AI is the abbreviation of Artificial Intelligence but that is not the only name that is being used for this development. Other terms which people also use to describe self-learning technology are Machine Learning, Deep Learning or Deep Mind. In essence, all these names fall under the same umbrella term but they stress different elements of it. If you work with AI, it is therefore always recommended to first sharpen its definition with all involved partners.

Computer Technology as a basis

Computer Technology
Artificial Intelligence is indefinitely linked to computer technology. It only works on technological devices such as a computer or a robot, and can only learn from technological algorithms. This is an important element of AI because it showcases the fact that this type of intelligence can not be compared to human intelligence. AI can only come to conclusions based on the structured data that it has received and its experience of working with it. The technology does not have a consciousness and is therefore limited to logical thinking. This has great potential because it would be able to make a lot of brainwork more efficient and possibly less biased. However, you could argue if it is a good development when computers take over our brainwork without taking emotional and creative values into account.

Data is useless without structure

For a technology to become intelligent we need to feed it with a lot of data. This data has already been collected over the last decade by multinationals and big platforms such as Google and Facebook. Unfortunately, the only way to make this data useful for AI is to structure it. This is what some companies nowadays struggle with. They want to use their data to work more efficiently but first have to spend a considerable amount of time labelling it. When they get to the point of having a structured database of information, it can be supplied to a machine technology which can learn from it.

A step by step plan

We as humans learn to recognize objects, people and behaviour by linking certain identifiable elements of it to the word and by people in our environment pointing it out to us. Artificial Intelligence does this in a similar way, by using algorithms. Out of the data that it receives, it concludes a pattern. This pattern is the algorithms; it describes a step by step mathematical plan to solve a certain problem (such as recognizing something). The more a computer works with a specific algorithm, the more data is offered and the more feedback it receives on its actions, the more accurate an algorithm will become.

This blog is the first one in our series 'A future with AI' by shareNL. We are a global agency specialized in the sharing and platform economy acting at the interface of technology and society. This means that the topics we discuss are not limited to the sharing and platform economy only, they also include new technologies such as Blockchain, IoT, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Together with our ecosystem we create impact through insights (publications), inspiration (consulting and presentations), intelligence (strategy development and concept development) and interaction (pilot projects and experiences). Are you interested in working together to discover the opportunities of Artificial Intelligence? Don't hesitate to get in touch with us! 

Special thanks from shareNL to Jasper Wognum, Peter Blomsma and Daniel Gebler for taking their time to answer questions about their personal experience with Artificial Intelligence.