If you thought AI was dominating the tech news agenda in the previous decade, you haven’t seen anything yet, as vendors and solution providers seek to hammer AI into every service and tool we use for better, faster, smarter digital business.
Leading current uses of AI for business include hack/intrusion detection, task automation, compliance, image recognition, customer service and chatbots among others, but 2020 will bring plenty of new AI-powered twists and improvements to the table.
1 AI in Hardware
Apple (Neural Engine), Samsung (Neural Processing Unit) and other chip giants have been flinging AI processors into the system-on-chips that power our phones and devices over the last couple of years. The latest versions of these AI chips perform trillions of instructions per second, with features using it for facial recognition, image manipulation among other tasks. But, other AI tools seem thin on the ground.
That hasn’t stopped Apple and others offering developers the opportunity to use AI tools to “… build realtime, personalized experiences with on-device machine learning using Core ML 3, Create ML, the powerful A-series chips, and the Neural Engine.” While Google launched Coral hardware AI tools for Android app developers last November.
Expect developers to grab hold of this power in 2020 and start building AI apps and devices that businesses can use as part of their digital business toolkit either as part of customer engagement initiatives, mobility automation tools or in visual uses like navigation and tracking.
2 Automated Product, App and Service Development
Think of AI in apps and everyone goes Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and so on. Yet, Codeless development is already a thing, allowing anyone to build apps, chatbots and other tools. But AI-powered automated development will take things a step further, helping people build, test and deliver apps faster than before. Back in 2018, we saw that AIs could write their own code, so for the 2020s expect this as a practical service.
AI-development tools will allow the builder to focus on what the app does and not all the extra tools and peripheral requirements to get it to run. AI is already a strong part of testing, but can be used to build tools out of various parts including blockchain and other AI features like natural language understanding (NLU), automatically assigned cloud tools, dockers and storage to create the space for an app to work.
3 AI for automating and monitoring business processes
AI already helps out with chatbots and RPA tools within business processes, but expect a big push for AI to monitor more processes for quality and make suggestions for further automation improvements.
Some are already billing 2020 as a breakout year for scalable RPAs, estimating intelligent automation will provide an average cost reduction of 22% and an increase in revenue of 11% over the next three years when done well.
Intelligent automation could improve the life of almost any business, through time and efficiency savings, making it one of the most widespread technologies for the new decade. That alone should put it high on everyone’s agenda.
4 Chatbots Move Up the AI Visibility Curve
The 20-teens were good years for chatbots to get their stuff together and start delivering business benefits. So much so, many big names like Amtrak, KLM and many hospitality brands are rightly proud of their efforts. Yet, even so, many organizations run their bots under the radar or with a beta-test tag permanently attached.
The 2020s will see AI-powered chatbots launch with more of a buzz about them, as services and companies feel confident in the results and acceptance from users. And as AI helps chatbot services like SnatchBot deliver stronger bots. Newer bots have moved on from simple scripts to offer omni-channel presences across many platforms, using multiple languages and capable of changing their tone and messages, all powered by AI.
Beyond text chatbots, new avatar’s like Samsung’s Neon creations will allow businesses to create high quality characters for engagement in offices, online and in public locations.
5 AI-Driven Personalization (and Deeper Fakes)
Currents bots like Alexa, Siri and cutting-edge chatbots are starting to get to know us a little better. Soon in this decade, they will know us (every worker or family member) very well, and be able to distinguish our requests, meet our specific needs, and provide meetings, appointment and other reminders wherever we are.
AI will help the bots come across as a little more human, cheering us up when needed or offering consoling advice when needed. But will avoid trying to impersonate people for fear of crossing the line into stalking and spooky behaviour. Just because AI can do these things, doesn’t mean it should - although that won’t stop criminals using AI to build better deeper fakes to try and scam businesses out of high-value transactions (already a thing, but going to be more common in the 2020s.)
6 Greater AI in Data/Fraud Protection
Banks and finance companies already use AI in fraud prevention, audit and compliance tracking and other areas. But who, just a few years ago, would have thought that security companies would be defending businesses against an AI trying to impersonate a boss, ordering large-scale transactions, or trying to fleece an office to hand over valuable bank codes or IDs.
That’s just some of the features that protection businesses will need to be offering to keep up with hackers who are fast moving away from the usual virus/firewall/phishing attacks that current solutions protect against. The threat is real, and larger companies will need to be on their guard, helping build this market that will then head downstream through the decade to affect all business. It won’t be long until hackers can record one phone call of your boss, have an AI ring up pleading for cash and enough people will fall for it to make it a major crime.
Your business might not feel particularly high-tech, but these advances will affect every type and size of organisation in the near future, so learning how to take advantage of them (or defend against them) will be essential for survival when your customers expect every business to be a digital one that offers bots and AI services as part of the way we all work.