by Noah D'Mello

Enterprises are thinking hard about artificial intelligence in 2016

Jan 26, 2016
Big DataBusinessCar Tech

Will enterprises take that leap of faith in 2016 and invest in artificial intelligence—a technology that some still feel is “artificial”?

It won’t be a surprise if most people familiar with artificial intelligence equate it to Watson. IBM Watson became an overnight star when it participated in the quiz show Jeopardy!, defeating former winners Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. That was some four years ago. But now when artificial intelligence is slowly climbing the mainstream technology ladder, will enterprises intelligently use cognitive computing in 2016? Well, even Watson will find it difficult to answer.

Artificial intelligence is one of the current buzzwords and technology companies “get enamoured” with such buzzwords, feels Sri Karumbatti, CIO at Stumpp, Schuele & Somappa Springs, a Bangalore-based automotive enterprise which deals with artificial intelligence for its internal processes.

“As business leaders, you have to see if there is a return on the investments. If there are good case studies, then people will start adopting these technologies. You should not adopt it just because it is the coolest thing right now,” he said.

2016 also may be the year that can make artificial intelligence big, thanks to all the government initiatives like Digital India and Make in India.

“If the economy revives and initiatives like Make in India and Digital India come through, people will use technologies like AI whenever there is a skill gap,” said Samiron Ghoshal, Partner & Leader-IT Advisory Services at EY.

However, Audrey William, head of ICT research, ANZ, Frost & Sullivan, said in a company blog post that globally cognitive computing and artificial intelligence platforms will be one of the trends that will become big across industries in 2016.

“Whilst artificial intelligence solutions will gain in adoption, it is worth noting that the human element is still important as not all services can be taken over by AI,” she said.

Intelligent personal assistants are also making their way in the market with Facebook’s M and Baidu’s Duer.

“The battleground for intelligent personal assistants will increase with nearly every large technology company investing in developing an intelligent personal assistant platform,” William added.

Furthermore, according to Worldwide Market Forecast (2013-2018), the market for natural language processing is expected to grow from $3.8 billion in 2013 to $9.9 billion in 2018, having a CAGR of 21.1 percent over the period.

2016 also may be the year that can make artificial intelligence big, thanks to all the government initiatives like Digital India and Make in India.

In IBM’s 10 Key Marketing Trends for 2016, Deepak Advani, general manager at IBM Commerce, said that in 2016 and beyond, these technologies will increasingly help companies understand customers and prospects on completely new levels by learning about their behaviour, personalities and emotions, pinpointing what tone will resonate best in brand messages, and optimizing offers and content for each customer journey based on the progressive discovery of intent.

“Through this deep level of understanding, marketers can then design and engineer perfect moments that not only establish deeper levels of customer engagement but make this engagement so memorable that it spawns a new level of intimacy with each person,” he said.

Will Machines Take Over?

“Machines will take over the world”—this phrase always makes us wonder if it is ever possible. Employees have had this fear that once AI is deployed completely in enterprises, it will take over their jobs. Won’t that horrible?

However, Dr. Kailash Nadh, CTO of Bangalore-based financial technology firm Zerodha, said that there is still time for such a situation. “A lot of industry leaders such as Bill Gates are pondering over a scenario where, not necessarily AI, but massive automation with artificial intelligence involved will cost a lot of jobs,” he said.

But Nadh said there are terms and conditions to see such a day. “There is no end to learning about artificial intelligence. The day we create true artificial intelligence and do not have to be involved at all, then yes we should be worried about unemployment. But there is still a long time for that.”

According to Narrative Science’s State of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in the Enterprise Report 2015, executives feel differently about this “doomsday,” 80 percent of the participants feel that AI will create more jobs and increase employee efficiency.

“Though artificial intelligence is capable of more, findings suggest that enterprises are aware of the potential business benefits of having consistent, on-demand information that improves decision making. According to the survey findings, embracing artificial intelligence will help to achieve this goal,” the report concluded.