Artificial Intelligence: The Future Is Here!


Artificial Intelligence is the hot topic of the season! Networking events, conferences, business magazine cover stories, newspaper special reports, LinkedIn posts – you name it and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is there! I have even started receiving ‘Hire AI Expert @ $15’ emails from Indian companies!

Forget the hype. AI is real. AI is the new mobile. AI is the new IOT. AI is the new digital.

AI is the disruption with capability to redefine the world around us! Businesses and organizations will need to understand AI and its application in their business. If you do not adopt AI, you may be missing on opportunities.

The increasing availability of data, cheaper storage costs, fast processing power and rise of talent have acted as a catalyst for the growth of AI. AI is making its presence felt around us – Self-driving cars, robots, Siri-Alexa (speech recognition), Automatic translation, Facebook photo tagging (image recognition), Spam detection, Netflix recommendations, MRI analysis etc. are all examples of AI applications. Organizations across the world have started making investments to leverage AI.

AI is not sci-fi as we see in Hollywood blockbusters. AI is smart computing (algorithms) to gather insights from data and monetize it. The AI as a technology is maturing and so are its related technologies of Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Neural Networks etc.

AI is going to impact different sectors in different ways. Retail and Finance have been the early adopters of AI. Shopping assistance, better banking, customer engagement etc. are key objectives for the initial AI implementations. Companies like North Face, Macy’s, Uniqlo and Shop Direct have virtual shopping assistants and store companion apps. Olay’s skin adviser help to identify best personal skincare products while GSK uses AI to dispense advice. Just Eat provides customized recommendations. Legal firms are leveraging core AI techniques and machine learning algorithms.

Oil companies like Shell and BP have embraced AI to improve oil exploration, well development and other processes. Shell has installed sensors in wells and analyses them via AI. BP collects information on oil rigs to enhance and optimize its analysis and related processes. One of the strongest potential of AI is in healthcare. The potential for using AI powered advancements are immense – drug discovery, research, medical imaging, diagnostics, surgical robotics, health Chatbot etc. AI will help us to predict disease and take preventive steps. The future is not distant when human beings will have to learn to deal with devices and machines that are powered by AI. The world around us will be driven by AI powered Bots.

Digital is creating new businesses and new victors. AI will also create a paradigm shift and create new opportunities. Businesses need to develop a business centric understanding of AI and its impact on them. It needs to be followed by a roadmap and creation of initial pilot projects to demonstrate the power of AI. Once successful, AI thinking can be industrialized in the organization to give it a great competitive advantage.

However, it is a fact that AI is creating economical, ethical, social and political questions. The most common fear is AI will create job losses. Indeed, AI may affect mundane tasks and repetitive jobs forcing employees to learn new skills. The question is can we help people migrate to new jobs? Can we create new jobs? Is Universal Basic Income the answer? Privacy? Risks? Are large corporations owning huge data becoming monopolies? The best way out is to involve different voices and different stakeholders in AI discussions. These discussions should be transparent, understandable and explainable to all – as stakes are high and trust cannot be discounted.

AI will ultimately augment human beings. It will change the world as internet and electricity.

Image Credit: Alex Knight

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