Of late, the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and truly ‘smart’ computing has been a major topic of fascination.
AI technologies are already being used in a number of different industries including online advertising services, automotive, agriculture, consumer finance, data storage, education, investment, healthcare, law, manufacturing, media, medical diagnostics, oil and gas, philanthropies, and retail.
Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t some science-fiction film fantasy: It’s already here, in the enterprise, with some forward-looking organizations using smart machines, robots and other such technologies to ratchet up efficiency and provide better service to internal and external customers.
Those on the forefront of building such technologies have little doubt about their potential. People like Google’s Ray Kurzweil speak of a not-so-distant future where man and machine are increasingly intertwined. But whatever your belief system might be as to the merits or dangers of machines that can ‘think’ like humans, there is no denying the recent leaps in achievement that are beginning to surface. While it may be impossible to accurately predict how this will all play out over the next twenty years, we can connect the dots and understand at least what might be next.
Perhaps one of the best known examples of how AI is revolutionizing the enterprise lies with “Watson” — IBM’s cognitive computing technology in which they have invested millions of dollars, in order to revolutionize their information systems, making them true knowledge systems. But IBM isn’t the only organization investing money in these sorts of knowledge systems. Another example is CyCorp, having invested 30 years in building a platform that understands common sense, which in turn can be used to extract meaning from multiple sources of unstructured data.
A.I. is poised to take off in 2016 as enterprises begin figuring some element of it into their application portfolios. By 2018, artificial intelligence will be incorporated into about half of all apps developed, according to research firm IDC, and by 2020, savings fueled by A.I. — in reduced people costs and increased workflow efficiencies, for example — are expected to total an estimated $60 billion for U.S. enterprises.
When thinking beyond simply utilizing machine intelligence to compete in this day and age, companies need to keep top of mind that it will also be a key ingredient to their future. Machine intelligence, although it exists and is providing intelligent solutions across many different industries, is still evolving and continuing to revolutionize in many different ways. Even more so, it’s important for all enterprise leaders not to ignore the fact that computers are able to process significantly more data than humans can, and machine learning will play an ever-increasing role in enterprises monopolizing on the opportunity that the data that they have at hand presents. The companies that begin to explore utilizing machine learning within their business now, will be leaps ahead of the organizations that choose to wait to employ these technologies.
Overall, the public facing applications of artificial intelligence and cognitive systems are still in their infancy. While it remains to be seen exactly how they will impact our daily lives, it is impossible to deny their potential to shape our future.
Originally published at blog.eti.ng on February 18, 2016.