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5 Industries being Transformed by Algorithms


When some technocrats claim that algorithms are making the world a better place, they are not necessarily exaggerating. Algorithms are changing the world. Some industries are better and more efficient than ever before thanks to algorithms powered by machine learning (and that’s not limited to finance). Here are 5 industries that will never be the same (for the better) thanks to effective and ingenious algorithms:

1.     Healthcare

Though computers cannot replace doctors, medical care in many developed nations has been significantly improved thanks to algorithms. Hospitals and doctors are now increasingly becoming reliant on algorithms that can sort through patient records. IBM’s Watson Health is an example of software powered by such algorithms. The advantage here is that physicians can rely on probability-based models to devise a treatment plan in advance. In addition, algorithms are making Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) possible. In England alone, RPM has managed to cut down the number of poorly controlled blood pressure levels by half.

2.     Water Treatment

For decades, factories and manufacturers used harsh chemicals to clean their process water. This cooling tower water treatment of yore is not good for people or the surrounding environment. Thanks to algorithms, there’s a “green” alternative to cooling tower chemical treatment. UET is a processed water treatment method powered by algorithms. It can be difficult to understand how this works. Basically, algorithms are used to determine certain natural attributions of water and fix them without using any chemicals by applying chemistry through electrolysis. These algorithms are coded onto a PLC, which can determine heavy metal build-up, corrosion, scaling, and bio-contamination in cooling towers.  It then adjusts the reactor system to keep the water free from scale, corrosion, and bio-contamination.

3.     Airlines

Airlines and related companies often receive massive volumes of data regarding all the aircrafts in operation. For years, airliners struggled to make sense of this data and to put it into good use. Now, thanks to algorithms, airliners can make services more efficient and cost-effective. For example, Rolls-Royce, which also makes aircraft engines, is currently using Cortana Intelligence algorithms to analyze data to seek which engines require maintenance on time. As a result, the company has managed to minimize costs and flight disruptions.

4.     Humanitarian Agencies

Humanitarian agencies, like those struggling to supply clean water to people in developing nations, can now depend on algorithms to do the hard work. Nonprofits like the Reach Initiative are now using machine learning software to optimize resource allocation. The Reach Initiative provides clean water solutions. Thanks to algorithms, the workers can develop learning models to predict water availability in dry and arid areas. That definitely beats looking for water in the desert for days.

5.     Finance

Of course, algorithms have most benefited the financial industry, which will never be the same again. While things like high-speed algorithmic trading has been somewhat controversial, there have been a number of other positive outcomes for financiers thanks to machine learning. For example, software like QuarterSpot uses algorithms to help banks assess the risk for loans without human bias.

Algorithms are, indeed, transforming the world, and it is largely for the better.

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