About EcoDevo 101: The practice of economic development is vital to the advancement of any thriving community. It is also often misunderstood. In this series, we’ll dig deeper into the topics that underpin the profession, from public policy and mobility to technology and community planning, among many others.

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is by definition “the capacity of a computer, robot, or other programmed mechanical device to perform operations and tasks analogous to learning and decision making in humans, as speech recognition or question answering.” In other words, making technology of any kind think and act like humans.

AI can be broken down into various areas, but for today’s purpose we will be looking at it from the lens of an object thinking humanly/rationally and acting humanly/rationally.

The thinking portion of AI is often referred to as “Narrow AI” and these applications typically focus on doing one thing well, think Google search or Netflix recommendations. These are sometimes even better than humans at their designated task, but this knowledge can not be transferred to another task.

As we move to the acting side of AI we talk in terms of Artificial General Intelligence or “Strong AI”.  This type of AI has a broader knowledge base, and has to actually learn rules, make connections and solve problems. As IBM clarifies, “like a child, the AI machine would have to learn through input and experiences, constantly progressing and advancing its abilities over time.” Examples of strong AI would be self- driving cars needing to account for right of ways and construction detours, or even your Nest camera thermostat that learns your personal temperature preferences and adjusts based on multiple variables.

Industry Examples:

AI is not beholden to any one industry and strides are made every day that impact the world around us. Below are just a few examples of how AI affects us daily.


  • In the not too distant past patients would have a paper chart at each provider they saw. The process of tracking down medical history was a laborious and lengthy task and could result in delays or duplication of care. Now, with electronic health records, healthcare providers are using AI to help organize, sort, and communicate health information when needed at the touch of a button.
  • An even more hands-on example of Artificial Intelligence in the medial field is robotic surgery, like that performed at SkyRidge Medical Center. They explain, “Robotic-assisted surgery allows for small incisions and more control, creating access to detailed visuals while controlling robotic arms during procedures. This allows for minimally invasive procedures, offering fewer complications and a faster recovery.”

Aerospace and Aviation:

  • One place you will certainly encounter AI is on your next flight out of town. Autopilot is a key part of every modern airliner according to Data Science in Aviation. “Systems like the autopilot or auto throttle, in addition to others, do not only take workload off the pilots, but can basically fly the plane for the greater part of the flight. Apart from takeoff and landing, which require more active intervention of the pilots, modern aircrafts fly nearly completely on their own. Some airliners are equipped with software that is even capable of managing flight through severe turbulence completely autonomously.” So essentially, the plane flies on its own unless something out of the ordinary happens and a human needs to step in.

Big Data and Cyber Security:

  • How long would it take you to read the internet? Denver South based Turbine Labs can do it 54,000 times faster than a human.. There is so much information available at any minute, how is someone supposed to know what is quality and pertinent to their needs and interests? Turbine Labs uses an AI-powered platform to read all the data for you and only provide you with what you want and need with accurate analysis and insights.
  • DNS, DSPs, SSPs, UTM, OEM. Do you know what these all mean? Companies like AI powered Zvelo, headquartered right in Denver South, makes it so you don’t need to. Platforms have been created to help your networks and systems be safe, secure, optimized and supported, all using AI based data.

While Artificial Intelligence can feel overwhelming, it is all around us. It helps us get where we need to go, entertains us, heals us and keeps us safe. It is hard to imagine the strides AI will take in the upcoming years, but we can be sure, it will make a big impact.

Check Out: How Artificial Intelligence can Improve Our Quality of Life