Ten things impacting the world: artificial intelligence

Autonomy is the mother of artificial intelligence (AI).

AI will impact every industry as the autonomy of decision making—from self-driving cars to industrial robots like Baxter to robo-advisors in financial services. In the coming decades, its capabilities will reinvent every software company.

AI is a very real and natural progression in the evolution of computing technology. After 25 years of automating data and modeling processes, the logical next step is to apply complex algorithms to processes for insight.

The Evolution of Computing Technology

The AI and robotics market is projected to grow to $153 billion USD by 2020. Companies like Google (with DeepMind) and Facebook (DeepFace) are taking note and investing in AI companies. Startups are busy designing more flexible AI platforms.

AI’s value lies in its ability to learn from the data it collects, something also known as machine learning. AI is modeled after the ways that thoughts are processed across neural networks in the human brain. Unlike the human brain, however, AI systems are capable of processing more complex information at a faster rate. AI introduces scale and precision where the human brain falls short, giving us a greater ability to solve acute problems.

In many cases, the intelligence that AI systems deliver is more accurate and immediate. AI produces more targeted treatments in healthcare, more granular control of trading in financial services, and greater abilities to detect and prevent fraud and security breaches.

Imagine lifelong learning assistants providing our children with educational tools and programs, designed specifically for them.

AI is even more powerful when it is combined with other disruptive technologies.

In fact, AI has been identified as the next frontier for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Using the above example of school children in a classroom, VR can take students outside of the classroom and put them a simulated lab or virtual location to create an immersive experience. AI would deliver all the relevant materials—content, videos, etc., to augment the experience.

Just like AI, VR/AR will improve the way we exchange information and increase efficiency in many industries. In the manufacturing industry, technicians will perform maintenance using VR with AI image recognition, following instructions and guidelines for repair. VR glasses will be used in construction and real estate to showcase models of buildings and homes, annotating them with relevant information using AI. Retail is already leveraging both, with certain brands offering VR dressing rooms that incorporate AI to personalize products and the overall customer experience.

The combination of AI and VR results in better and faster ways to address problems. When machines talk to each other across the Internet of Things (IoT), the exchange of massive amounts of data will trigger automated responses and deliver greater insights, enabling us to solve some of the most pressing global socio-economic issues in the world, like hunger, poverty, and climate change. I’ll discuss the IoT and the impact it will have in greater detail in the next blog in this series.

Mark Barrenechea

Mark J. Barrenechea is OpenText's Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer. A prominent thought leader, he has extensive experience in information technology and his vision is to enable the digital world to help transform organizations.

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