Both Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are terms that evoke futuristic, sci-fi, and generally far-out imagery in us. But the truth is that AI and IoT are already our mundane reality and will continue to become prominent aspects of our lives in the near and far future. Chaney Ojinnaka, the founder, and CEO of VendorMach says in his recently published article that AI has been romanticized into this abstract concept conjuring images of robots doing our housework for us. But what do these terms really denote and what is their relation? Well, both concepts are strongly interrelated, and one can’t really exist without the other. In this article, we explain why IoT needs AI and vice versa.
Let’s start by defining both terms first. IoT is defined as a system of interrelated computing devices, machines, objects, animals, and people that have separate identifiers and an ability to transfer data over a network independently. Practical examples of IoT application today include precision agriculture, remote patient monitoring, and driverless cars like the ones being developed by Google. Simply put, IoT is the internet working of “things” that collects and exchanges information from the environment. AI, on the other hand, is the engine or the “brain” that will enable analytics and decision making from the data collected by IoT. In other words, IoT collects the data and AI processes this data in order to make sense of it. You can see these systems working together in devices like fitness trackers and Google Home.
Why IoT and AI need each other?
But why exactly can’t IoT function without AI? Well, Mark Jaffe, who is CEO of the anomaly detection company Prelert, explains this in an article published in Wired. Jaffe says that as IoT continues to expand, so will the volume of the data collected. This expansion will probably increase to an overwhelming level, and analyzing this large data may become a problem without an effective AI system. That’s exactly why, as Jaffe explains it, we need to improve the speed and accuracy of data analysis with AI in order to see IoT live up to its promise. But he also sees that developing accurate big data analysis is possible thanks to machine learning which is already in use as seen in intelligent virtual assistant technology and the like.
The problem with data volume
Collecting data is one thing, and we see it in our apps, home appliances, cars, and medical devices. But sorting, analyzing, and making sense of that data is a completely different thing. Thankfully, AI is continuing to advance, and we’re seeing AI models that are becoming increasingly superior in sorting data almost like a human brain. Just think Artificial Neural Network technology that can self-learn and solve complex problems without human input. But we’ll need to develop faster and more accurate AIs in order to keep up with the sheer volume of data being collected as IoT starts to penetrate almost all aspects of our lives.
Some concerns about this new technology
Now, with Artificial Intelligence and IoT technology constantly collecting and analyzing our private data, there comes the question of security, consumer privacy, and safety. But this is often the case with any new technology emerging. The same concerns emerged when the internet first started explains Nermin Hajdarbegovic for Toptal. Malware was the main security concern and that was successfully tackled with anti-malware technology. The same is likely to happen with IoT as researchers are already looking for ways to tackle the above-mentioned issues when trying to implement IoT technology safely.
What good does all this bring?
But on the positive side note, we can see great things happening as the IoT-AI tandem continues to develop. Research on AI and IoT is huge, and a growing body of this research is focusing on the practical application of such technology that could just make our lives better. For instance, a study that was published the journal Advances in Internet of Things explains that IoT technology as in the case of smart home setups are good for the environment. We can see similar benefits happening in the development of Smart Cities as outlined in a research article published in the Open Journal of Internet of Things (OJIOT). Let’s just hope that this kind of technological advancement will prove to be good for our environment.
While IoT is quite impressive, it really doesn’t amount to much without a good-enough AI system. Both technologies need to reach the same level of development in order to function as perfectly as we believe they should and would. Scientists are trying to find ways to make more intelligent data analysis software and devices in order to make safe and effective IoT a reality. It may take some time before this happens because AI development is lagging behind IoT, but the possibility is, nevertheless, there.