Artificial intelligence (AI) was undoubtedly the buzz of the past decade; and now that we’re a few months into the next decade, it still seems to be the talk of the town.
The 2010s will forever be remembered as the time when machines could finally be perceived as intelligent, proving they can think and learn similar to how we do it. What seemed like a science fiction movie became reality and it can help us in tremendous ways.
While there is no way to know for sure what this decade will bring for the evolution of AI, we have enough information to predict what might be happening over the course of this year. Below are 6 AI trends we believe will be the highlight of 2020.
AI to help refine business processes
AI has been present in the work environment for quite some time now, but mainly to help automate manual tasks in industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and health. However, manual tasks are not the only ones that need to be automated.
This year, hardware-based robots will lose the spotlight in favor of software-based robots, which will help automate tedious tasks that we carry out on our computers as well. AI can help fill out forms, generate reports and produce documentation, simplifying the administrative work. By learning from us, AI is able to perform such tasks faster and with more accuracy, ensuring we have the time to focus on more complex, creative or strategic tasks. This is known as robotic process automation and you will start to see it around more and more, helping businesses streamline their administrative processes.
Chatbots are becoming smarter and smarter
Chatbot technology has evolved impressively over the past few years, but even so, we are still able to recognize whether we are talking to a real customer service representative or a machine. However, chatbot development is continuously improving, and at a rapid pace I might add; researchers are feeding AI with huge amounts of textual data which helps it better understand natural language.
Chatbots will become harder and harder to distinguish from a real human being, as deep learning and semi-supervised machine learning teach them our language patterns. They will be able to understand the meaning behind our words, adapt their speech to better mimic human interaction and make us wonder if we are talking to a bot, or if there is a real person behind the screen. And if you think this is not possible, just look at this experiment from a few years back, conducted by a professor at Georgia Tech. He managed to develop an AI teacher’s assistant and none of his students were able to tell they were talking to a machine and not a real human.
Improved human-AI collaboration
Machines were built to make our life easier, but not everyone saw it that way. Ever since the advent of collaborative robots in various industries, some people have been fearing machines are going to take their jobs. But now that they started to realize machines are built to help us, not to completely replace us, this human-machine war ended.
As AI-powered tools become more of a part of our daily working lives, we expect human-AI collaboration to improve as well. AI takes on those repetitive tasks, allowing us to better use our communication, creativity and strategy skills. Just imagine where we can get if we combine our human skills with powerful analytics provided by AI.
AI will play a bigger role the entertainment industry
We’ve all seen (and been amused by) the latest AI-generated musical and creative writing compositions and can agree they are far from being perfect. However, even if we don’t yet have the first AI-generated best-selling book, we can’t deny the important role AI has in the entertainment industry.
AI is used in movies to create state-of-the-art visual effects (see young De Niro in last year’s The Irishman) and this technology is likely to be seen more and more in the following year. In video games, AI is continuously used to create worthy opponents that players can challenge, as well as unique story paths that evolve together with the character.
And even if we can all agree AI-generated music is far from being perfect, AI still aids the music industry in multiple ways. Just think of the playlists you can automatically generate in music apps such as Apple Music, Spotify or Google Music. These playlists are created with the help of an AI that learns your music preferences and is able to become your own personal DJ.
Data – the fuel that powers AI
For many years, companies struggled to efficiently store and make use of all the data collected from their transactions and business processes. Archive rooms stacked with documents were certainly not efficient, but now data has become cheaper and easier to store than ever.
And what does this data do?
It helps AI learn and improve itself to then provide better analytics capabilities and aid companies in improving the way they do business. From better customer service to anticipating client needs and coming up with solutions even before problems start to happen, it’s all fueled by massive amounts of data. This aids with the development of another technology – the Internet of Things. IoT development is aided by AI, and we can soon expect to see more and more smart devices simplifying our day-to-day lives, all thanks to loads of data that are being fed to these technologies constantly.
AI, more involved in cybersecurity
As technology becomes more sophisticated, so do cyberattacks, with AI and leading prediction algorithms powering hackers’ abilities. But the same technology can be used to spot such attacks and prevent them from happening.
AI can spot signs that a certain digital activity follows vicious patterns that can result in a fraud, and give notice before a defense system is hacked. As wireless communications technology becomes more powerful, so can cyberattacks, which is why investments in cybersecurity are increasing and will continue to do so this year.