During a recent visit to Los Angeles, California, I happened to stay at Residence Inn Marriott at LAX. Unable to sustain my hunger pangs in the middle of the night, I ordered some food. And I had the best, and the most surprising experience!.
The food arrived quickly and was not carried by a server, but a robot – Wally! Wally is a 3 feet tall robot that moves on wheels, can be programmed for the room number and delivers to the room. More than being served by a robot, I was fascinated by the amount of information processing and intelligence built into the machine to be able to take precise turns, get on the right elevator, reach the correct floor and then the correct door number! I was later told that the number of foot falls and the room service requests have increased since Wally has been put to service.
Piqued by my interest, I later found Hilton Hotels also deployed a robot “Connie” as a concierge at Hilton in McLean, VA. Connie can greet the guests and answer their questions about the services, amenities and local attractions. Named after the Hilton chain’s founder Conrad Hilton, Connie is powered by machines delivering Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Robots delivering a great experience to hotel guests are an example of how Artificial Intelligence coupled with devices can perform tasks that are repeatable, process-oriented, rule-based operations. AI works on the principle of analyzing data, identifying patterns and turning data into information that may be useful in decision making.
This form of AI has been very popular and has been in existence for a long time. Its populist nature and long term existence stems from the underlying principle that it is rules based and can only predict from a fixed set of probably outcomes, based on the information already provided.
This form of AI was initially seen in 1997 when IBM’s Deep Blue won a game against Garry Kasparov – Chess Grand Master. Though the computer was retired soon after, the concept of a machine adapting to a large set of rules and able to make decisions became a reality.
Later, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa enhanced the powers of AI and entered our daily lives. This form of intelligence which is primarily ability to compute is known as Applied AI or Weak AI or Narrow AI. This is developed quickly to solve a purpose.
Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft have yet not ended their quest in being your own personal assistant. They are aiming to be able to understand your emotions when you talk to them, which requires a context in which the data is provided to them. And with this, they want to develop the ability to be able to negotiate decisions for you. Tesla and Google have already tried to take it to the next level by releasing autonomous auto driving software and devices. AI in the true sense. This form of AI is known as the General Purpose Artificial Intelligence.
AI is exciting and is growing in presence and applications every day. The stories from Sci-Fi are becoming reality sooner than later. However, at the heart of its growth lies the importance of abundance of data. Data that can be managed, mined, analyzed and processed to get information.
Enterprise Information Management has an important role to play in the growth of AI in enterprises. With its ability to store, manage and present data, EIM is only bridging the gap today.