What's next for Artificial Intelligence?

In the past 18 months it appears as if Big Data has been the buzzword of the moment, but is Artificial Intelligence (AI) about to replace it?

Did you know we have more power in our smartphones than the most powerful supercomputers did 30 or 40 years ago? It is often said that in the next four to five years the computing power of a £2000 computer will surpass that of a human brain (20 quadrillion calculations per second). So what will this all mean for the future of AI?

First of all, when discussing AI, let’s not limit ourselves to what we see and read in blockbuster films and science fiction novels – don’t limit AI to robots. A robot is merely the shell for AI. Sometimes mimicking the shape of a human, sometimes not. AI is far broader than this and it ranges from your office calculator to self driving cars to something in the future that might change the world dramatically! The latter is what we’re most interested in. Progressing to the this ‘next level’ of AI is what is proving to be technology companies’ biggest challenge right now.

To build a computer that can multiply two ten-digit numbers in a split second is incredibly easy, but building one that can determine the difference between a dog and a cat is spectacularly difficult. Create AI that can beat any human in chess? Done. Create one that can read a paragraph from a six-year-old’s picture book and not just recognize the words but understand the meaning of them? Corporates like Google are currently spending billions trying to do it.

Difficult things such as calculations, financial market strategy, and language translation are mind-numbingly easy for a computer, while easy things, like vision, motion, movement, and perception, are incredibly hard for it. Computer scientist Donald Knuth says: “AI has by now succeeded in doing essentially everything that requires ‘thinking’ but has failed to do most of what people and animals do ‘without thinking.’”

Looking at AI from a business perspective, the need to make use of large amounts of both structured and unstructured information (big data), will pose huge opportunities for AI and is something experts say we already have much of the capability to deal with.

Almost every industry imaginable could stand to benefit from an intelligent layer that tackles complex analytical tasks faster than humans could ever hope to, filling the missing links for companies struggling to get their arms around big data. Increasingly, big businesses will require AI technology to overcome challenges and handle the speed with which information is changing in the business environment.

With challenges of such scale facing UK industries, arguably humans simply can’t go this alone. Concerns are raised about the impact AI could have on our workforce, especially after a 2013 Oxford University study found that AI could soon take over nearly half of all jobs. However this isn’t likely to happen overnight, arguably there will always be work for good critical thinkers and creatives, no matter how smart technology becomes.

 

What ‘intelligence’ do you require from your data?

  • Who your most loyal customers are and what they require
  • Which marketing tactics are most successful in driving sales
  • How does information flow through your organisation and where are the bottlenecks
  • How does your businesses performance measure up against industry standards

To learn more about how Wolf can increase your business’ potential through business intelligence visit our Consultancy pages.

 

Image courtesy of: pcmag.com

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