Artificial intelligence: The engine of growth

Artificial intelligence technology has the potential to spur growth in a wide range of fields including manufacturing robots, security solutions, customer relations and natural language perception. In 2016, an estimated $8 billion was invested on AI. That amount is likely to grow exponentially and reach at least $50 billion over the next four years

uring my years at Istanbul Technical University, a friend of mine in the electronics engineering department was writing his master’s thesis on Artificial Intelligence (AI). That was my first encounter with the subject. In 1998, Cogito, a quarterly magazine published by Yapı Kredi Publications (YKY), released an issue on AI with a special emphasis on its relationship with philosophy and art.

Over the years, AI has become one of the most popular subjects and a key to growth in the business world. From robots to smart loudspeakers, perceiving the natural language and devices that can learn quickly to adjust to the changing production conditions all have AI at their core.

According to Forrester Research, investments in AI are expected to increase by nearly 300 percent in 2017, compared to 2016 and according to estimations from the International Data Corporation (IDC), the overall investments in AI, which was $8 billion in 2016, will reach $47 billion in 2020.

Competition Gets SmarterFigures indicate that an increased use of AI in the business world is inevitable. Employing AI in each and every step of business, from production to customer relations, will be a must in order to compete with flexibility, in line with the changing customer demands.

Aside from private sector, public institutions may also benefit from AI while providing basic services to citizens such as health care, education, and justice. By using AI, a machine can engage in deep learning by using computational models known as artificial neural nets, which are inspired by the structure and functions of a living brain.

With deep learning, machines can also perform specialized tasks, such as classification of data including audio and visual materials, signals and texts, object recognition, voice recognition and translation of languages with a minimum margin of error. For instance, when a move is taught to a machine with the deep reinforcement learning method, each successful movement is given plus points while failing moves are given minus points. So, the machine learns the relevant move by aiming to increase plus points.

Robotic learning speeds up

With AI robots can learn more quickly and in detail, increasing their ability to adjust to changing production conditions quickly, make faster diagnostic checks and contribute to the development of all kinds of solutions, from smart automobiles to satellite systems.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric has developed a special, deep reinforcement learning algorithm. Thanks to this algorithm, smart equipment like industrial robots and devices will implement extra smart deep reinforcement learning, by using sensors and camera data for a quick learning process.

The optimization time that normally varies from a couple of hours to half a day with the current technologies, could be reduced to a few minutes to half an hour with Mitsubishi Electric’s Maisart, a new generation of algorithm that makes full automatic machine learning possible.

This algorithm can be used in a wide range of sectors and machines. It has also been predicted that it would enable machines to process data, containing high assumption, to increase future industrial efficiency.

Mercedes funds 50 startups

Mercedes-Benz Türk, on its 50th anniversary, held a competition titled “50 Startup on 50th Anniversary.” The winning startups, working in different fields, including education, health care and environment, received a total prizemoney of TL 500,000 ($137,446). The mobile game platform Scode, a smart fabric project and a smart refuse collecting project, which ranked in the top three were awarded TL 50,000 each.

The top three projects winning the grand prize included a wearable technology project, a gamified code learning platform, and a smart refuse collector project. Of the 50 startups, 19 came up with “smart city” projects, 15 of them presented health care projects, 11 had projects related to environment and education, and 7 were on accessibility for the disabled.

Winners come from 7 different provinces

Startups from Turkey’s 59 provinces entered the competition. Of them, 33 were from Istanbul, nine from Ankara, four from İzmir, and one each from Tekirdağ, Tokat, Yalova, and Mersin. Prior to the competition, 18 of the winning startups had not been funded. The top three was awarded 50,000 each. The seven remaining startups in the top ten were given TL 20,000, while the rest of the startups were awarded TL 5,250 each.

Supporting creative solutions

Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony, Chairman of Mercedes-Benz Türk’s Board of Directors Süer Sülün congratulated all the startups for participating in the competition.

“We invited startups that show interest in technology, create solutions to make lives easier, help society, environment, and create social influence. ’50 Startups in 50th Anniversary’ is the first project of the four or five startup we applied to, which shows its. The most distinctive aspect of our competition is that we have fully granted the prize money of TL 500,000 to the startups, without the expectations of any return. I congratulate all the participants and wish them a continued success. I hope the number of projects that make lives easier in our country will increase,” Sülün said.