We will see an unprecedented technological evolution in the coming years that will leave behind those businesses that fail to adapt. The improvement of AI, technology embedded everywhere, global 5G connectivity, quantum computing and distributed ledger infrastructures – which will allow for the digitalization of assets, legal and administrative procedures or even identity – will set the bases for new business models and growth opportunities.
Since the introduction of deep learning, there have been numerous advances in the field of AI:
- In 2015, AlphaGo was capable of beating one of the best human players by pulling out a move that nobody expected, it beat its human opponent in creative thinking.
- In 2018, Google presented Duplex, an AI capable of calling a barbershop to schedule an appointment autonomously, interacting in a very human-like way with the commerce.
- In 2019, the same technology was capable of logging into a car rental website to rent a car for an upcoming trip, completely autonomously, without the website developers having to make any changes into the website code.
There are millions of users connected into the internet every day, training all these AIs, and the potential for improvement is impressive.
AI has proven successful in working with specific tasks. Now the challenge is for this technology to be aware of the context and act across applications to work as a fully functional virtual assistant. This is what companies like Google, Amazon or Apple are trying to achieve.
Along with the software advances, companies like Boston Dynamics have made great improvements on the hardware side, creating humanoid robots like Atlas that are capable of many functional tasks like running and jumping. Although the majority of robots will be directed towards functions such as manufacturing, logistics, or delivery and so, their design will adapt to those tasks. Examples of this are robots like Pick, SpotMini or Handle.
Over time, all these new capabilities of Artificial Intelligence will reshape the skills needed in every industry. Highly repetitive tasks will be 100% automated, and even in creative functions like industrial design, we see examples of how artificial intelligence can be used to create pieces that humans alone wouldn’t be capable of imagining.
Companies like Boeing are already using generative design tools powered by AI to improve their aircraft designs. Some theories even defend that soon manufacturing will be more similar to harvesting rather than traditional production. In the field of medicine, AI has proven that it can detect lung cancer faster and more accurately than the best doctors.
In this context, humans will need to learn how to work together with AI and robotics to augment their capabilities and perform tasks with a higher added-value.
Big Data and AI applied to BI and Analytics will also play an essential role in augmenting human and business capabilities. Nowadays, the most successful firms leverage those capabilities to gain operational efficiency and offer new services better tailored to user needs. One funny, yet very enlightening example is how Burger King has optimized geolocation features to provide meal deliveries during traffic jams in big cities around the world.
The use of Business Intelligence has allowed them to generate a profitable increase in sales as well as to create significant publicity for the company. The case of Burger King is only one of the thousands of examples of the application of BI and Analytics to optimize business processes and make operations more efficient. Increasingly we will also see sales or customer support people use these technologies to provide their clients with better, more compelling experiences.
All the data continually being produced by devices and individuals will serve as the fuel to train AI models. Millions of people connected through the internet are collaborating to do so, either consciously or unintentionally, and this will make the power of AI increase exponentially. Companies therefore need to be aware of this and make a more significant effort to implement it as part of their business strategy and adapt the parameters for talent selection and training to the new requirements.