Artificial intelligence remains a hot topic in tech and as 2020 unravels, there is much optimism and expectations about this technology. Adoption of AI is increasing as people use it in day-day life and the same applies to enterprises. Organizations deploying and implementing AI systems realize that the future of automation is starting and ignoring this wave of change could mean bad outcomes for their market competitiveness.
As China and the rest of the world battles Coronavirus outbreak, analytics and AI technologies have become our trusted ally as the Chinese government and the World Health Organization (WHO) develop measures to combat the pandemic.
In this week’s trend article, I highlight current issues in AI, debates and forecasting future trends. Welcome on board and let us review key trends for this week.
IT Budgets Falling: Is AI the much awaited solution?
With large data volumes coming from IT, Gartner research shows the number rising annually but the shift by organizations from funding IT, is a matter of concern¹. This is where #AI solutions come in handy since they can transform system events in large numbers to manageable levels. Analysis of patterns and detection of logs is critical when overlaying on the network graph by organizing them into smaller segments. By reducing event streams by an estimated 95%, it is clear that AI is essential in addressing ITOps.
Coronavirus Outbreak and Application of Data and AI
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to soar, AI is our friend right now because of analyzing data and giving researchers options for addressing the pandemic. For instance, AI is currently being used to review medical information data² to give researchers an idea of suitable drugs to stop the deadly virus. With the 2019-nCoV coronavirus taking a toll in China, measures should be put in place to avoid further spread and contain the outbreak.
From BenevolentAI and Deargen to Insilco and BlueDot, these start-ups are walking the talk by using AI technology to analyze the coronavirus. The work by Insilco in reviewing molecule compounds by AI is a great development that could generate the cure for the 2019-nCoV coronavirus.
From BenevolentAI and Deargen to Insilco and BlueDot, these start-ups are walking the talk by using AI technology to analyze the coronavirus.
Evaluating AI Gains
Confirming the real gains of AI at the moment is not realistic given the constraints that corporate organizations experienced in adoption³ of AI. Investing in AI technology is no easy road for most companies as in the short term, the return on investments might come short of expectations. But there is hope as a recent McKinsey report suggested increased cash flow rates for companies investing in this technology.
Reports about #AI losses abound and as I have mentioned, it is still too early to judge the return on investment for AI among businesses. From Waymo whose valuation was slashed by 40% to #Deepmind from Google posting losses of $571M, AI might not sound a viable option for corporations in the short run but those who are persistent, the future looks bright.
AI Governance and Regulation
Governance frameworks are critical for any industry and the same applies to AI which requires reforms for the technology to achieve its intended benefits. Given the benefits that AI could harness to our society and emerging risks, developing effective policy frameworks⁴ will not only boost the potential of AI but also help us understand the current limitations. Despite the goal of pushing towards AI regulation, the situation is not similar in all countries with Chinese tech companies focusing on competitiveness and not regulatory issues. Cities have not been left behind in the governance of AI debate as they fill the gap by leading efforts in AI regulation.
The debate on AI regulation never stops as industry stakeholders assess best practices needed to make this technology work for us. As the technological landscape evolves, the best course of action is to understand how regulations will fit in this change. As if that is not enough, top industry experts led by Google CEO @SundarPichai claim that companies have an obligation of developing and overseeing the transformation of #AI rather than leaving it to the will of market forces. Collaboration between governments and the private sector is of essence as this will pave way for engagements and find better solutions.24
Despite the goal of pushing towards AI regulation, the situation is not similar in all countries with Chinese tech companies focusing on competitiveness and not regulatory issues
Journalism is one area that AI has altered its workflow⁵ and is evident from a recent announcement by Reuters where the media company uses a summary system for news. The automated reports system for Reuters shows how prototypes are essential in changing news broadcasting.
Similar to the workings of deepfakes, this system allows news anchors to report on currently happening events thanks to the combination of data from different news segments. By using algorithms and data, which develop summaries based on text, Reuters is leading the way in digital journalism. Synthesia is a start-up from London credited with creating this technology and enables synthesis of news presenters reports.
By using algorithms and data, which develop summaries based on text, Reuters is leading the way in digital journalism.
Good and Bad uses of AI
As AI integration in society gathers steam, there are many opinions about this technology; some good and some bad. Most people still do not understand the workings of AI and with so much misinformation out there, confusion reigns.
For example, most people assume that AI is purely based on automation but that is not the case as AI continues to assist in areas including decision making by augmentation and providing intelligent information about our surroundings through the sensor technologies that relay information.
AI is already transforming enterprises by helping them stay competitive and at the same time improving human life. From this, it is clear that focusing on the good side of AI is essential in the build-up to an automated future⁶.
Most people still do not understand the workings of AI and with so much misinformation out there, confusion reigns.
AI is getting Powerful
The powerful nature of AI⁷ is becoming evident as time passes with questions arising about the extremes that this technology could bring. AI machines perform tasks based on programmed data and sometimes over-relying on them to make decisions for us could spell disasters. Despite some critics saying that such a future is not possible, AI technology is being used to achieve more than ordinary results. Companies such as Google are using AI algorithms to influence more viewership on their YouTube platform, which validates the strength of AI.
Despite some critics saying that such a future is not possible, AI technology is being used to achieve more than ordinary results
Forecasted AI and Machine Learning Trends: 2020 and Beyond
2020 is going to be a defining year for #machinelearning and #AI⁸ given the fast paced society ours has become. Sometimes it is difficult to predict the direction #AI and ML will take, hence requires a lot of careful observations and mapping trends. AI is expected to advance its role and start making smart choices by evolving from trend identification as has been the case.
Analysts predict that an automated AI future will see work pace increase with chatbots becoming our helpers in many instances such as business customer service and personal lives. Augmented reality is another interesting area that will define the transformation of AI as it becomes practical in few years’ time. Besides trends analysis, AI will utilize computational models for forecasting.
Cross-Functional Applications of AI
Adoption and implementation of AI⁹ is an event currently happening and could soon see companies positioning AI for their operations. Contrary to AI as a technology that is utilized on various platforms, AI is more than that and continues to diversify its roles while achieving desired goals. Fintech execution of AI systems attests to the acceleration of this technology in transforming service and product lines. Profitability is one benefit of using AI for business operations according to Fintech startups that believe the future will revolve around AI.
Fintech execution of AI systems attests to the acceleration of this technology in transforming service and product lines
Ethical and Unethical use of AI
The discussion on ethics of AI should not fade anytime soon as this topic is important as the AI sector evolves. Unfairness and bias brings out the bad side of AI¹⁰ as seen from hate speech algorithms that biased against African Americans compared to whites. Such an instance demonstrates the long road ahead for AI alongside the benefits of following ethical principles. Ethics and bias therefore should continue where AI stakeholders look at issues with a critical lens and achieving transparency.
GPS Navigation from AI and ML Tools
GPS navigation is about to get much better with new research developments¹¹ that will soon enable drivers to understand the nature of roads. Under this technology from MIT, it is expected that GPS technology will offer detailed, timely and accurate information during driving hence improving safety.
As such, machine-learning technology could solve the tedious process of tagging these images by working with satellites. ML technology will automatically update the maps by improving the visibility of roads and warning drivers about the impending dangers while driving.
ML technology will automatically update the maps by improving the visibility of roads and warning drivers about the impending dangers while driving
AI for Good Program
The AI for Good Program is a noble step towards using AI technology for the good of humanity as seen from latest $40M investment by Microsoft for the program. According to Microsoft, the AI for Good Program is a step forward¹² towards enabling better health around the world and mostly for the less fortunate.
Despite the complexity of a tech company initiating such a development, the benefits are incredible and could change the world for better. Thanks to the AI for Good Program from Microsoft, there is focus on using AI technology to benefit the world through improved health.
Measuring the Potential of AI
As the potential of AI¹³ emerges each day, the time when AI implementation in full scale will take place has not arrived but when it comes, change will emerge. From #machinelearning and deep learning technologies being used for controlling autonomous vehicles and downsizing large data sets into manageable amounts, it is clear that AI is coming to influence the world positively and better.
At the same time, there are good and bad uses of AI and all comes down to the choices humans make about implementation of this technology. Technology can do bad or good things because it does not care about implications and this is where the human equation comes in.
At the same time, there are good and bad uses of AI and all comes down to the choices humans make about implementation of this technology
The assumption that traction towards AI adoption by companies will be easy does not hold true because of the current skill gaps. Organizations are concerned by the increased skill shortage in areas such as deep learning despite data scientists and AI professionals entering the job market in droves. Note that not all the time will companies get the right number and skilled candidates for their operations.
The study by Peltarion best captures these insights with IT experts raising concerns about competitiveness. According to the survey results, there is an AI barrier emerging and influenced by an estimated gap of 49%. Regardless of efforts made by companies to hire data scientists, organizations complain of lack of the right candidates with the necessary skills to fill the roles.
¹ IT Budgets 2020, ²AI Startup Coronavirus, ³Startup AI Responsibility, ⁴Policy Frameworks, ⁵Journalism AI Workflow, ⁶AI Research Bias, ⁷AI for Good, ⁸AI Advancements, ⁹AI-assisted Stock Trading, ¹⁰AI Social Progress, ¹¹GPS Research MIT, ¹²FinTech for Good, ¹³AI Clinical Disruption