AI in Context: What Is Contextual Awareness?

How Contextual Awareness Is Changing Our Lives

Over the last few years, we’ve seen some astronomical developments in the fields of deep learning and artificial intelligence. Pioneering technologies like self-driving cars and natural language processing are set to transform the ways we live our lives, interact with companies, and even perform basic tasks.

Whether it’s changing the way that businesses run or ensuring that everyday people have access to greater conveniences, it seems that AI is everywhere today. Of course, this technology is nothing without context. Contextual awareness describes the ability of AI systems and IT components to respond to requests based on their knowledge of the situation. For instance, imagine an app that uses geographical data to suggest where you should go for lunch, or an AI bot that responds to a chat request by recognising specific terms.

Why Does Context Matter to Artificial Intelligence?

Today, the vast potential of AI is supported by complex neural networks and digital algorithms that help robots to determine how they should respond to different tasks and challenges. The more contextual information an AI gathers, the more effective it becomes.

Contextual awareness is about making AI more compelling in the sphere of customer experience. Contextually-aware bots can respond to the needs of customers by comparing their requests or problems to huge databases of layered neural information.

You’ve probably already seen examples of contextual awareness in your smartphone or wearable apps. These AI solutions make use of the data they collect to guess what you need and automate responses daily. For instance, a wearable app might learn your best running pace and suggest when you need to pick up your speed to lose weight. Your smartphone might remind you that you usually call your mother at 7 pm after work, or that you need to re-order the printer ink you usually buy each month.

Contextually-Aware AI and Big Data

Essentially, contextually-aware AI and applications are a response to the huge amounts of data human beings generate each day. As we already know, narrow AI transforms and learns by studying huge amounts of information. A contextual AI simply narrows the data it learns from down to insights about each specific user. This means that everyone gets an experience that’s tailor-made to suit their needs.

In the years ahead, contextually-aware apps could be an important part of how you run your life and even your business. In the enterprise world, contextual apps and virtual assistants are already reminding business-owners when they need to repeat-order resources for the company, or when they might need to set up a new video call with a client.

How Contextual Awareness Will Help Us

The possibilities for contextually-aware computers are practically endless. Smartphones and tablets aren’t the only things that could learn about your behaviour patterns over the years. Everything from wearable devices, to internet-connected machines like your refrigerator or virtual assistant, will become more connected to your contextual information.

As IoT becomes more prevalent in our societies, there’s a good chance that these digitally-enabled devices will be infused with contextual intelligence to help make them more relevant for each customer.

In the consumer world, a contextual computer could remind you to make phone calls, stock your fridge, or check your social media feeds. Imagine a washing machine that can order a replacement part and technician to your door long before you notice a fault, just because it’s contextually aware of common problems with the hardware, or a fridge that orders milk because it knows you’re probably running out. Who knows what the future might bring?

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