If you read or watch the news these days, it seems like every other story is about artificial intelligence, or AI for short. But AI has been around a lot longer than you think. In fact, you probably use it more than you suspect. Here are four ways it’s being used in our everyday lives, plus some tips on how to use it smartly and safely.
Grammar guidance and writing review
Every time you type a text message and your phone autocorrects or suggests a word for you, that’s AI. Used an online translation tool? That’s powered by AI too – just be sure to check it’s work for accuracy.
At the same time, we aren’t the only ones whose writing skills benefit from AI – scammers can also leverage similar intelligence to improve their communications too, making it more challenging to identify threats. It isn’t enough just to spot grammar issues or typos in unfamiliar emails anymore; digital users must be vigilant in checking sender email addresses and learning more ways to identify scams.
If you use a customer service chat window online or have a smart-home assistant that recognizes your voice, you’re using AI to make your life easier.
AI can also be a useful tool when trying to generate ideas or start research for everything from homework assignments to the next big project at work. To help check the accuracy of the information the program generates, submit a prompt asking it to provide links to the sources referenced, and then double-check those sources. Students, of course, should not submit AI-generated content as their own. That would be considered a form of plagiarism and could get them expelled.
You may already be using an AI-based app to help you create and manage a budget – it may categorize your expenses, send you alerts about your accounts or provide insight on your financial situation. Some use AI to automate routine accounting tasks like entering invoices in a database, freeing up countless hours of admin for small business owners. If you’re going to use these kinds of apps, confirm that they do not violate your bank’s user agreement. If the app’s security is breached and your account is hacked, your bank might hold you liable. Also be sure to review the privacy policies and adjust the settings to keep your personal information safer.
You may be saving money with internet browser extensions or apps that find coupons or discount codes for various purchases. Navigation apps can also suggest the most fuel-efficient routes for travel, so you avoid idling in traffic. And some insurers have apps that track your driving habits in real time and offer discounts for commuting safely.
The bottom line on staying safe with everyday AI
Of course, any online tool comes with its risks. Researchers have shown that AI has many biases and may draw from false or inaccurate sources. So, it’s important to use your instincts and cross-check any information, especially if it feels suspect. There are also free digital literacy programs, such as Telus Wise, which has been providing online safety resources to people of all ages for ten years, that will help you safely navigate the online world – and avoid pitfalls in the ever-evolving world of AI.
Learn more about how to use AI and other online tools safely at telus.com/wise