The Doppler Quarterly Summer 2017 - Page 37

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic these days. We’re told everyone can use it. We all have our own ideas of what AI can do-- some very accurate, some a bit, well, paranoid. If we set aside the AI fiction depicted in the Terminator movies, what is the reality of AI, and how does it apply to today’s enterprises? Artificial intelligence is an old concept, first defined in 1959 as the ability to give computers the capacity to learn without having to be reprogrammed. Today, it’s a type of approach and technology that uses learning model concepts directly related to pattern recognition and computational learning. AI studies algorithms that have the ability to learn through patterns, and applies that learning to make predictions about patterns of data. It’s a better alternative to leveraging static program instructions, and instead makes data-driven predic- tions or decisions that improve over time, without human intervention or addi- tional programming. The applications of artificial intelligence have been widely promoted as the ultimate build systems to provide increased value to enterprises. A more prac- tical concept of machine learning, a subcategory of AI that includes neural net- working technologies, has arisen as well. The AI in Your Pocket AI is pervasive these days. We speak to Siri on our iPhones to find out who tex- ted us, or where the best burger can be had. We use Amazon Echo’s Alexa to have complete conversations about what movies are playing, or who won yes- terday’s baseball game. Indeed, we even trust our lives to self-driving systems now found in Teslas and other vehicles. Of course the downside of having AI in our pockets, cars and computers think- ing for us all the time is that we may become too dependent on them. For exam- ple, while it may not be possible to crash your car anymore due to AI fail-safes, we should watch that we don’t lose our ability to think fast enough to avoid a crash when AI isn’t available. It’s Not Applicable for Everything - At Least Not Today Artificial intelligence is best leveraged for the specific types of applications that can benefit the most from this technology, such as fraud detection, pre- dictive marketing, machine monitoring (IoT) and inventory management. Many enterprises that use AI do not effectively leverage it, and thus waste money. Keep in mind that AI technology can be costly in terms of processing time and storage, whether or not it’s in the cloud. As artificial intelligence becomes more affordable through the use of cloud platforms, one of the biggest concerns is that the technology will be misap- plied. This already seems to be a pattern, as cloud providers are promoting artificial intelligence as having wide value. However, that value won’t be real- ized if artificial intelligence is applied to systems that don’t benefit from mak- ing predictions arrived from patterns found in data. Artificial intelligence has the ability to provide tremendous value to businesses SUMMER 2017 | THE DOPPLER | 35