How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing The Enterprise

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 16, 2015

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Artificial Intelligence (AI), the focus of sci-fi movies and books for a long time, is now making inroads in the enterprise. AI also known as machine learning relies on the intelligence exhibited by machines or software, is playing a beneficial role in the digital era.

A Tech Pro Research survey which aimed at finding out how AI will impact the future of IT reveals that nearly two-thirds of the respondents believe AI has immense potential and is good for their business. There were 24 percent currently using AI in their business, or planning to use it in the next year. And another 26 percent are evaluating it for potential use.

While relatively nascent, the concept is fast catching up in the business world, believe experts.

The AI power race

Perhaps one of the best known examples of how AI is revolutionizing the enterprise lies with “Watson,” IBM’s cognitive computing technology in which the company invested millions of dollars, in order to revolutionize their information system. But IBM isn’t the only organization investing money in these sorts of knowledge systems. 

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Some of the technology industry’s biggest companies are vying for more mindshare in this space. According to a latest report from Reuters, Apple is planning to hire at least 86 full-time artificial intelligence experts. The move is part of a broader effort among the technology industry’s elite to one-up each other by giving users what they want before they even know they need it.

Its rivals are not far behind. Both Microsoft and Google have research arms focused on improving machine learning, and some argue they’re ahead of Apple in this area because of their ongoing research. In May, for instance, Google  announced a major upgrade to Google Now that allows the service to “understand” over 100 million locations. Google Now not only lists basic information, but also provide users a range of suggestions, including when would be the best time to visit a local restaurant. In fact, the effort of morphing into Alphabet was mainly to give its AI wing the right push, believe industry enthusiasts.

With the launch of Windows 10 in July, Microsoft too incorporated Cortana into its operating system and improved its understanding and relevance on several tasks. Furthermore, the company’s investment in machine learning, big data and the work of its Machine Translation team has led to enhanced translation features and capabilities across Microsoft’s latest products, including Bing, Windows Phone, Windows, Internet Explorer, Office, and Azure.

Many gains from AI

The reason organizations invest or are planning to invest so much money on IT is to amplify human intelligence, where machine learning plays a crucial role. Machine learning is a technology that identifies important patterns, adjusts accordingly enables systems to speed up and intelligently scale to a degree that simple information systems cannot rival, says tech analyst Lars Hard in an article.

There’s no doubt that AI is now seen in day-to-day interactions with Siri, Apple’s personal assistant, which provides information in response to voice commands. It’s present in phone systems which listen for human input then route calls accordingly.

Read more: Why AI Is Becoming A Business Need

The future looks vibrant for AI. Different industries are looking to use AI in their day-to-day tasks. For example, Aviation relies on it for airport gate selection and simulation strategies. Financial organizations use it to maintain operations, investments and properties. Toy makers have released electronic pets and robots with simple AI capabilities. One can even find AI in space probes which go where humans cannot and make calculations as needed based on programming instructions.

However not every enterprise is cozying up to AI, finds Tech Pro Research. Nearly one third of the enterprises interviewed of the Tech Pro Research believe that they are afraid of the concept of AI. Respondents in healthcare were more likely to fear the concept of AI (44%) compared to the overall average of 34%. Business services/consulting, education and IT/technology also ranked higher than the average. It’s clear that AI is seen as a threat for employees whose careers are based in these fields, says the report.

Road ahead and long

Experts believe, 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. While machine intelligence provides 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 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, explains Hard, who believes 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.

 Read more: Human-Robots Merge Is Just 200 Years Away

Experts also opine the emergence of AI is necessitating a “new thinking” that is constructive and competitive. “We anticipate a time when the philosophical discussion of what is artificial intelligence, or otherwise, will end because there will be no such thing as intelligence—just processes. If distributed autonomous corporations act intelligently, perform intelligently, and respond intelligently, we will cease to debate whether high-level intelligence other than the human variety exists,” advises Dorian Pyle, a data expert in McKinsey.

He believes the winners will be neither machines alone, nor humans alone, but the two working together effectively, as businesses will witness by the end of the decade - and the day is not so far off!