The maturing of AI, coupled with the abundance of data and computing power, has some major implications for society.
Artificial Intelligence, nowadays often simply referred to as ‘AI’, is making waves. During the event CIODAY2017, an annual networking event for more than five hundred CIOs and IT directors in the Dutch market, Fujitsu’s Pascal Huijbers (CTO Large Accounts EMEAI) discussed the impact of AI on people and enterprises. Huijbers made the statement that, with the transition to Industry 4.0, our society is reaching the Smart Machine Age. Typical for this period in time is the fact that all kinds of applications become intelligent. Often, machines are indistinguishable from people. For example, they pass tests such as the Turing test and show that they can mimic human intelligence.
AI, the many-faced technology
There are quite a lot of misconceptions about AI. For one, it’s impossible to speak about ‘a single form’ of AI. Put simply, AI is formed by several components, which are all currently in different stages of maturity. These components – the building blocks of AI – fall into three main categories:
- Sensing & recognition, such as image recognition and processing speech-to-text
- Knowledge processing, for example structuring and classifying data
- Decision & support, including the prediction of scenarios and process optimization
At this moment, it is mostly the big tech companies who are developing the core technology of AI, such as Fujitsu does through its Zinrai platform or AI-optimized CPUs. The maturing of AI, coupled with the availability of large volumes of data and computing power, ushers in the Smart Machine Age. This is reflected in developments such as Tesla’s autonomous vehicles or robots that collect orders independently in warehouses.
What is happening with AI?
There are many big tech players, startups and even governments on the AI market with patented technologies. This indicates a lot of movement in the area. But what can we do with AI today? At CIODAY, Huijbers gave various examples of interesting use cases. For example, setting up a smart infrastructure for governments and transport companies. Typical Smart Society applications such as predicting and analyzing traffic flows, discovering patterns, detecting incidents and even finding specific people are already possible. Use cases are also prevalent in industrial enterprises, such as early detection of faltering equipment and predictive maintenance. An industry that is already miles ahead in AI, is financial services. Chinese banks in particular, but also American and European banks have launched major AI programs. These include measures against money laundering and fraud, automated trading, compliance management, credit decision and the improvement of customer-facing self-service platforms.
The impact of AI will continue to grow. Just think about linking social media profiles to image recognition software and cameras that can register our presence everywhere. Even more drastic are the changes in the labor market that intelligent machines bring. Production jobs are already disappearing. The same applies for administrative work and – although it will probably take longer – sales functions. This trend will fuel discussions about new social models, for example basic income. Enterprises must ask themselves how they are to approach the big themes, such as mobility or quality of life, and work together to develop new solutions. More often, they will make use of other companies’ technologies and data. A good example of this is the Dutch airport of Schiphol, which makes APIs available for third parties to develop new solutions.
Huijbers: “This collaboration model is also possible with AI applications. The most important question that companies have to ask themselves is what AI means to us and what we can do with it. Because that is where the opportunities are for cooperation, for co-creation to integrate the technology in new solutions.”
If you want to discover more about Fujitsu and Artificial Intelligence, check our latest e-magazine about AI.