Artificial Intelligence unwrapped: The key things you need to know [Part One]

May 2, 2023
The DX Team
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We hear about AI at every step, with new tools being launched daily. Of course, the cinema industry is no stranger to it. 

But, in order to understand the implications of this new technology, we first need to explore what it means.

Artificial intelligence is not a new concept – just about everyone who has ever played an electronic game has likely played “against the computer” at some point (for example, computerized chess games have existed since the 1950s!) But for decades artificial intelligence has been limited by the parameters of programming, memory, and resources. A chess program that could brilliantly play at a grandmaster level has, until recently, not been capable of doing much else.

As technology has evolved, AI has vastly improved in perceiving, synthesizing, and inferring information. 

Because, when we talk about AI, we actually talk about machine learning.

As this Zendesk article explains it:

“Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence that includes algorithms that parse data, learn from that data, and then apply what they’ve learned to make informed decisions.”

That’s why one of the most significant leaps has come from the vast amount of information available on the internet, giving AI a potentially limitless amount of data to cull from to dramatically improve its algorithm. 

As AI becomes more sophisticated, it allows automation to be faster, broader, and more disruptive than before – meaning that processes that have been done by humans can now be done quicker and more efficiently via AI.

How DALL-E and ChatGPT made AI a mainstream topic

Though AI research and implementation have been around for decades, it was largely a niche topic within the tech industry and among those interested in the field. 

It has recently become a very hot topic after OpenAI, an AI research laboratory based in San Francisco, released DALL-E in January 2021 and DALL-E 2 in April 2022, a deep learning system that can generate imagery from language prompts. (The image accompanying this article is created with it, as well)

Interest in OpenAI’s technological breakthroughs exploded in November 2022 with its release of ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that can generate articulate responses in virtually any field of study (based on a comprehensive database with information dated until 2021).

The ability to quickly generate text with a good level of accuracy has since spawned conversations and debates throughout many industries – as well as kicking off something of an AI arms race between companies seeking to develop the next generation of AI, meaning we will experience the next level of AI technology more and more rapidly.

In fact, some of that rapid progress is already here. 

There’s already a huge leap between GPT-3, the language model introduced by OpenAI in June 2020, and GPT-4, released less than three years later in March 2023. GPT-3 has 175 billion parameters – modifiers that determine weights or biases in machine learning – whereas GPT-4 reportedly has over 100 trillion parameters.

The AI advantages in the making

The advantages of AI are now obvious – chatbots like ChatGPT can allow people to produce more content faster than ever before. As AI accuracy improves, it allows for greater automation for problems that previously only human intelligence could address.

Some commentators have viewed the potential of AI as the next Industrial Revolution because the popularization and wider use of AI will certainly impact jobs, both with the elimination of jobs that can now be done automatically and also with the creation of jobs that will work with the support of AI, such as allowing quick but informed decision-making based on data.

Examples abound of how AI is being used to improve countless industries. Blue River Technology, a leading technology company in applying machine learning to agriculture, has developed technology that utilizes AI to create ‘smart farm’ technology. The program can distinguish between plants and weeds, applying herbicide only where weeds are present. This has resulted in a 90 percent reduction in the number of chemicals sprayed on viable plants.

Similarly, Siemens, a primary provider of devices and systems used for medical diagnosis, power generation, and transmission is using AI to improve technologies in the fields of energy, electrification, digitization, and automation.

Let’s not forget about the current limitations of AI

Workers in jobs that could potentially work with or be enhanced with the use of AI will need to be aware of its current limitations to ensure that, like any tool, it is being used effectively. For example, ChatGPT cannot provide real-time information and is unable to make qualitative judgments, among other issues that users have discovered.

Currently, AI content is often missing the “human touch” that would allow its content to emerge from the uncanny valley – the current gulf between human and AI-generated content has resulted in the development of several tools that can identify AI-generated content.

These limitations will be particularly important in industries such as marketing, content creation, and other such creative domains – while AI tools will get greater use in these industries as the technology improves, such as bringing more personalized encounters with brands and more sophisticated high-targeted advertising, keeping on an eye on what customers will deem “authentic” will be essential (will “created by a human” become a label, much like the common “made in” labels to indicate geographic origin of a product?)

The impact of AI on cinema

How will AI impact the cinema industry? 

This is the question we care deeply about.

We can see how it has already hit Hollywood – from visual effects companies using AI to meet the ever-growing demand for VFX content to major studios using AI to help shape film marketing and release strategy.

There is a lot that the cinema industry can learn from AI experiments in entertainment, and our next post in this two-part analysis will explore how DX is envisioning using AI to create a better experience for our customers – and how cinemas can use AI to provide better, more efficient services to their audiences.

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