In this blog, we speak to our in-house data science expert Joe Norley on business adoption of AI as we move towards the last half of 2019.

In mid-2019, where are we in AI’s journey. What is the general sense of understanding in organisations than it was perhaps a year ago?

“We’re still at the start of the journey towards real AI adoption. Businesses are aware they need to start using the technology to keep up with the competition but are unsure how to start. There can be a tendency towards either hesitance until a packaged solution comes along, or forays into the unknown with fuzzy goals like “use AI” or “build me a blockchain.” This results in many writing-off machine learning, believing their business is not ready.

Is AI is understood by senior management in organisations?

“Broadly, directors aren’t particularly interested in the means, more the end, and are still trying to get a grip on the transformation that AI in the workplace will lead to.

According to Deloitte 59% of businesses are looking for enterprise software with AI as part of its offering rather than developing internal skills, and 53% are using co-development with partners.

The misunderstandings internally in businesses seem to be around ideas like “use AI, everyone else is,” without really knowing what the driving need is. Many view AI as a replacement for people rather than augmenting decision making throughout business processes.”

From your perspective, which are the best examples of AI in real life?

“Spam filtering, which is simple and effective machine learning and is everywhere; Game bots, which are more complex, but chess and go bots are helping fund more development of AI technology; and Adobe content aware fill, which is machine learning helping to create by extending tools people already use.

What AI developments are on the near horizon as we look towards the next decade?

“Call centres will be seeing more bots as part of efficiency drives. This will lead to bots taking care of the simple and mundane requests, freeing people to spend more time on the people side of customer relations.

I’d also expect bots inside companies to augment organisation of the business. For example, simple actions like managing holidays and/or expenses are already in operation via bots. Companies will use bots to help flatten hierarchy and support employees do their jobs better and faster by automating specific elements.

Businesses will buy AI in from enterprise vendors with the aim of merging it with their digital transformation projects.”

What advice would you give to tech leaders about using AI to achieve corporate goals?

“It’s not AI versus humans, rather AI plus humans versus a problem – that is why AI is a means to an end. AI cannot come up with ends to a problem in isolation.”

Ask your employees what the problems are in their day-to day roles, and then challenge them to find an AI/ML solution.

Find the people who want to automate themselves out of job, and keep giving them problems to solve.”

Joe Norley

Joe is a research engineer and data science expert at MHR Analytics.


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