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Opinion: Artificial intelligence – the perfect storm

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Less than five years ago, the artificial intelligence (AI) market was valued at a few hundred million dollars. It was the calm before the storm.

By current estimates, the AI market is projected to reach about $30 billion by 2020. The rate of adoption in both product development and end-product applications has been stunning, driven in large part by machine learning and natural language processing, which have created tangible business value. It’s a classic example of exponential growth.

We are now at a tipping point. Commercial successes from the likes of Amazon, Google, Tesla and Waymo comes from a very practical application of AI. And the rapid growth is being helped along by the democratization of the toolchains, and the wealth of learning coming out of data science boot camps.

In short, everything is coming together to create a perfect storm for AI’s dramatic growth. As the technology becomes more ubiquitous, businesses need to gain a deeper, more nuanced understanding of its place in the design process. They need to apply AI thoughtfully.

What is AI?

When software can infer the best possible answer from all the available evidence and continue to get better at it over time—which is what humans do reasonably well—then we call it AI. However, AI is not a single technology. It is a collection of related capabilities that include computer vision, sentiment analysis, language translation, natural language processing / understanding and machine learning. Learning a prediction rule and the best features to use proved that deep learning makes machines recognize objects and text as super human levels. More importantly, the impact of AI is when it manifests, intentionally, in manufacturing, medicine, retail and telecommunications to achieve outsized gains.

Design for intelligence  

Customers don’t buy products; they buy experiences. AI is as much art as science. Design research is needed to uncover the needs a pain points of users and customers. That means conducting deep and thoughtful interviews and developing recommendations that address both business objectives and engineering challenges. Revealing novel insights about new ways of working is the basis for applying AI – whether that’s for prediction, personalization or optimization.  Whether AI becomes a new conversational UI or AI becomes a new way to operate a network — Companies need to ask “what problem are we trying so solve” then deliver high-fidelity engagements and interactions. And while AI is the medium for delivering those experiences, it should be invisible to the customer.

AI is changing the way we think about work by automating systems and scaling expertise, it’s a new way to interface – and augment human. AI demands new set of skills among the development community and a commitment to developing production ready, easy to use cognitive products and platforms.

 Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located AI & Big Data Expo events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more. Co-located with the  IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo so you can explore the future of enterprise technology in one place.

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