DWS 2018: The Acceleration of AI Is Transforming Business Practices

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As AI systems evolve; once-unthinkable features are becoming everyday realities. During the second annual Digital Workforce Summit, MIT professor and best-selling author Max Tegmark talked about AI’s potential to fundamentally change business and the world.

AI systems will fundamentally change how business is done

IPsoft Digital Workforce SummitAt this year’s Digital Workforce Summit, MIT professor of Physics and co-founder of the Future of Life Institute Max Tegmark presented a brief history of technological acceleration with an emphasis on the exponential changes of the past decade.

“Not so long ago, robots couldn’t walk, now they can do back flips. Not so long ago we didn’t have self-driving cars, now we have self-landing rockets,” Tegmark explained.  “Not long ago, AI couldn't do face recognition, now AI can generate fake faces and it can simulate your face, saying stuff that you never said. Not long ago AI could not beat us at the game of Go. Then Google Deep Mind’s Alpha Zero AI took thousands of years of human Go wisdom to became the world's best Go player.”

Tegmark discussed in detail the ethical approach to developing Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), in which advanced AI approaches the capabilities of the human brain. Concerns about AGI may seem like a far-off sci-fi scenario, but as history clearly demonstrates, technologies that are unthinkable today will certainly be a reality tomorrow. This truism is particularly apt in the enterprise space where as Tegmark put it: “Deploying AI is the difference between a company flourishing or floundering.”

Expect the unexpected

Max Tegmark, Professor of Physics at MIT

Max Tegmark, Professor of Physics at MIT

When it comes to AI, if your company is standing still, it’s falling behind. According to a survey by Vanson Bourne, 80% of enterprises are investing in AI. But AI won’t just be a facet of these companies’ operations, it will play a central piece in all their future business plans — according to the same survey, 62% expecting to hire a Chief AI Director to oversee their AI implementations and strategies.

In the enterprise technology space, AI is reinventing business processes in short order. An industry-leading digital colleague like Amelia offers a number of advanced features: 1) an advanced User Interface (UI) accessible using natural language, 2) deep, secure integration into existing enterprise systems, and 3) the ability to improve at tasks through machine learning. This potent combination of functionality is less of an iterative step than a fundamental paradigm shift.

Deploying AI is the difference between a company flourishing or floundering.

— Max Tegmark, MIT Professor

Tegmark defines intelligence as “the ability to achieve complex goals.” And this ability is what differentiates Amelia from a mere chatbot which can, at best, help customers locate existing information. Amelia, on the other hand, adds an intelligent dimension to a company’s existing digital systems with a single investment.

While Tegmark’s concerns about AGI are worthy of debate and serious contemplation, he raised a more immediate concern: acceleration. Like advances during past technological eras, AI will only develop faster and faster. Right now, much of this growth is squarely centered in the enterprise space. The only question is if your business is prepared to take advantage of it.

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