The news, articles, and just about everything we read these days mentions AI (Artificial Intelligence) one way or another. The topic overlaps with machine learning and robotics and as fascinating as it is, it also represents a conundrum for companies.
To Invest or not to Invest
For non-tech focused companies the application of #AI does bring potential business. Retailers can for sure benefit from a richer customer experience by having an automated system to handle initial requests. Same for financial institutes like banks who could have a virtual assistant to queue in walk-in customers. On the other hand, not being in the field, as with most technology-driven innovations nowadays, companies must weigh-in the benefits #AI brings with the cost of development; which in many cases is experimental development as the technology is far from being mature.
The AI playing field
The AI for businesses market value is predicted to reach $47bn by 2020 according to research by International Data Corp. Which is much higher than the $8bn predicted in 2016. The 100 leaders of AI in business article, breaks down key players per industry showing the usual suspects like #Google and #IBM in the fields of automotive and healthcare respectively among others naturally. However, the list also includes core companies like HP and Nvidia that pioneer in the software behind the technology. Furthermore, new players also include privately owned companies like Volume Global from the UK that is bringing AI closer to businesses by developing applications that can be used with Robotics to create new products and services for companies to leverage. See the complete list from the latest AI summit in London.
Adaptation & the Human Factor
One element that is, for sure, slowing down the AI movement is the reservation from the general public and the perception behind the job losses implications. I personally do not see this as the major challenge facing AI. I believe the risk involved with automation outweigh the fear of job loss. Cause yes the manufacturing industry is a great example of how automation made a difference, but it is also proof that new jobs and skills were created subsequently. What companies require, as with every new innovation, is to adapt the proper procedures of change management to change perceptions and increase adaption among employees who might be rigid to such major interventions.
One more adaptation issue that is also related to humans is the skills set required. AI and machine learning bring in new modelling languages and programming skills that require the current work force to train and new developers to seek to become pioneers in this field, knowing that they might not have job opportunities, at this stage, as widely available as those available for traditional programmers. However, one needs to leap, as with every new technology, to have the upper hand and ride the wave of innovation!
Have your say! Where do you stand ? Do you think companies should invest in AI now?!