Scott McLay
Scott McLay 25 September 2018
Categories Technology

How Common is AI and Automation Within Our Daily Lives?

When we think about AI we typically imagine a scene from a sci-fi movie, yet AI is far more common than we realise. From home personal assistants like Alexa to AI in healthcare, AI and automation are quickly becoming a part of our daily lives. Join us as we take an in-depth look at the ways AI is currently being used and the industries being disrupted by the technology.

While AI and automation technology has existed for a few decades now, it has only recently become more mainstream. Thanks to advancements in machine learning, robots and AI devices have become smarter and gained new capabilities and, as a result, are increasingly more common within our homes and offices.

What’s the Difference Between AI and Automation?

It can be difficult to understand the difference between AI and automation; primarily because automation often underlies AI platforms. As such, the line between these two types of technology has become quite blurred. To help you understand the difference, we’ll break it down for you.

Sage guide to AI and automation

How Common is AI today?

AI is perhaps more common than we realise and its popularity is quickly increasing. Voicebot AI reports that in 2017 only 9% of UK households owned an Amazon Echo; a year later this figure had jumped to 40%. In addition, recent research by Narrative Science reveals 61% of businesses have implemented some form of AI. This tremendous growth is quite recent, but AI technology dates back to 1950s.

One of the earliest forms of AI was the Turing Test, which was able to fool a human into thinking they were talking to another human and not a robot. Throughout history, there have been some key milestones from the introduction of Roomba as the first smart vacuum to Jeopardy champion Watson from IBM. Check out some of the key moments from AI history below.

Everyday Examples of AI and Automation

Think you’re safe from the robot revolution? Think again. AI and automation are already pervading our lives far more than most of us realise. Whether you welcome the added convenience they provide or worry about losing your job to a robot, we’ll take a look at some of their most common uses.

Personal Assistants

Personal home assistants like Alexa from Amazon or Siri from Apple are entering homes across the world. These devices use ‘natural language interface’ so they can essentially understand human language and respond to your requests. You can ask your home assistant to do everything from setting a timer to ordering you a taxi or turning off the lights. As you work with them, they begin to learn your preferences and adapt their responses accordingly.

In time, they may be able to handle more complex tasks like ordering food when the fridge is empty, organising family schedules, or even monitoring health needs.

Self-Driving Cars

Companies like Uber are already testing self-driving taxis as well as lorries. Supporters argue that if drivers can be eliminated from the equation, our roads will become safer with fewer road casualties. On the business side, self-driving lorries could result in lower shipping costs for companies and consumers. However, scientists will need to improve this technology before it can truly become mainstream.


Chatbots have existed for a few decades and today are commonly used for customer service. Unlike human operators, chatbots can be “on” 24/7 as they don’t need to sleep and don’t come into work grumpy after a bad day. Chatbots can either be programmed to only answer set questions with pre-programmed responses or more intelligent chatbots can understand human language and respond appropriately. Today, AI integrated chatbots have even started to understand, and engage in, verbal conversations, meaning they can be used within call centres.

What Industries Currently Benefit from AI?

From streamlining mundane processes, assisting customers or analysing high volumes of sales data, AI can have many benefits for businesses. As such, it’s not surprising that many industries have already started to adopt the technology.


AI is being used within the health industry to diagnose cancers and skin diseases and has proven far more effective at diagnostics than human professionals. As such, treatment can be provided quicker leading to higher recovery rates.

Virtual Health Assistants are also being used within the health industry to help manage treatment plans, for example, by reminding patients to take their medication and providing basic medical advice.


Teachers, with the help of AI, can more effectively analyse how students process information and can then offer tailored plans to assist students in achieving the best results. This approach is particularly effective when working with students with learning disabilities.

AI and automation are also used within finance, transport, agriculture, manufacturing, and many other industries.

What are the Benefits of AI to Businesses?

Find out more about AI and its potential uses with Sage’s handy guide on the benefits of AI and automation.

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