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With the capability to replicate or surpass human-like cognitive functions, artificial intelligence’s (AI) impact can be felt across multiple industries, helping to drive innovations, enhance consumer experiences, and address complex challenges. The Internet of Behaviors (IoB), another evolving field, will be greatly impacted by continued advancements in AI. The integration of AI with IoB amplifies the potential to understand and predict human behaviors, ushering in enhanced personalization, rich insights, and transformative impacts on service delivery and societal challenges.

Virginia Tech’s online Master of Information Technology program, or VT-MIT, is equipping students with the tools and knowledge needed to take their careers to the next level by preparing them for a future incorporating AI and IoB.

Housed in Pamplin College of Business, the VT-MIT program was created to provide aspiring and experienced IT professionals with the interdisciplinary knowledge needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world, without having to sacrifice their current jobs to do so. The program, ranked #3 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2023, offers 10 graduate certificates that can be earned with a graduate degree, many of which specialize in areas impacted by advancements in AI and IoB.

What is the Internet of Behaviors?

The Internet of Behaviors captures, transmits, and analyzes behavioral data from various sources, using these insights to understand and influence human behaviors. Simply, it is a data-driven attempt to understand how, when, and why humans use technology to make decisions. IoB encompasses the comprehensive aggregation of behavioral data, the integration of physical and digital data streams, and the ethical application of this information, ensuring privacy, transparency, and individual agency.

IoB originates from numerous sources, including:

  • Personal devices like smartphones and smartwatches
  • Online platforms that include information about social media activities and online shopping behaviors
  • Smart home devices
  • Public records that include information about medical history or finances
  • Environmental sensors, including things like traffic cameras

AI’s role in IoB

AI technologies serve as the foundational pillars of IoB, enabling nuanced data interpretation and predictive insights. Machine learning provides the groundwork, allowing systems to learn and adapt from vast behavioral datasets. Deep learning dives deeper with neural networks that simulate human brain processes to derive intricate patterns. Further enriching IoB's capabilities, natural language processing interprets textual data while computer vision deciphers visual inputs.

Students are exposed to all three components in the VT-MIT course, Innovation Pathways in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. “The course helps technical leaders not only understand artificial intelligence algorithms with hands-on experience developing neural network solutions but also do a due diligence assessment for sociotechnical risks such as ethics, bias, fairness, and privacy in AI systems — knowledge and skills directly relevant for developing successful IoB applications,” said Kendall Giles, collegiate assistant professor and VT-MIT Program Coordinator.

Benefits and risks of IoB implementation

The IoB brings together data, technology, and human behavior in a meaningful way. When it's implemented well, IoB can create numerous benefits, including:

  • Personalization
  • Improved decision-making
  • Public safety and efficiency
  • Health and wellness monitoring

While the benefits of IoB are promising, it's essential to balance them with considerations around data privacy, ethical implications, and the potential for misuse. VT-MIT’s graduate certificate in Cybersecurity Technologies, Management, or Policy teaches students threat data collection, assessment, policy development, administration, and coordination of all activities and personnel to protect computers, networks, and organizational information from external intrusion.

Applications of AI and IoB

Harnessing both AI and IoB promises transformative applications across industries. By melding data-driven insights with behavior modification, sectors like the medical, financial, and transportation industries are experiencing revolutions, paving the way for holistic advancements and better outcomes.

Within the healthcare realm, certificate programs like VT-MIT’s Health Information Technologies are instrumental, equipping students with the knowledge to parse medical images and derive consequential health insights for refined IoB monitoring.

Future prospects and impact of AI and IoB

Marrying behavioral data with AI's evolving prowess offers many transformative possibilities — from creating truly smart cities that respond to their inhabitants' needs to revolutionizing healthcare with predictive, personalized interventions. As technology progresses, this convergence promises advancement and a profound reimagining of our interconnected world.

Please visit Virginia Tech's online Master of Information Technology site to learn about the degree program and to discover more about the intersection of AI and IoB.