Artificial intelligence is mastering a wider variety of jobs than ever

How AI mastered more skills in 2018

In 2018, artificial intelligence took on new tasks, with these smarty-pants algorithms acing everything from disease diagnosis to crater counting. In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permitted marketing of the first artificial intelligence that diagnoses health problems at primary care clinics without specialist supervision (SN: 3/31/18, p. 15).

The program, which inspects eye images for signs of diabetes-related vision loss, could be a boon for people in remote or low-resource areas where ophthalmologists are scarce. Other eye-inspecting AI programs are learning to recognize everything from age-related vision loss to heart problems.

Of course, smarter artificial intelligence isn’t always good news. One AI that raised eyebrows in 2018 generates realistic fake video footage by making the subject of one video mirror the motions and expressions of someone else in a different clip (SN: 9/15/18, p. 12). In the wrong hands, this AI could be a powerful tool for spreading misinformation (SN: 8/4/18, p. 22).

Video: 71-year-old man is trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a barrel

2018 Pictures of the year – Environment