Techopedia asked the tech industry what we should expect from artificial intelligence in 2018. We received many responses, and here is what some tech experts had to say. Do you have any other thoughts on the subject? Let us know!
"In a data-abundant world, data analytics has become a $200 billion market. Artificial intelligence is set to revolutionise how we interact with data. Too many analytics dashboards describe data without providing actionable insights, forcing users to rely on gut feeling to translate metrics into actions. AI can distill any amount of data into optimal strategies and even implement those strategies. By 2025, AI will have completely transformed the way in which we interact with data as more and more interactions between humans and data will be mediated by some form of AI."
— Sebastian Huempfer, Head of Operations at Echobox
"Before I answer the question, I would like to point out that robotics, AI, and automation are all different things.
"Artificial intelligence is still very much in its primitive stages. What we're seeing nowadays, is automation through robotics. For example, the back flipping robot from Boston Dynamics represents the advances in robotics, but people often mistake it for artificial intelligence. It's one thing for a human to operate a robot and it's another thing for a robot operate itself. We're still some time away from seeing an artificially intelligent robot do a back flip.
"With that said, 2018 will be the year of delivering efficiency through 'tedious task automation.' Wal-Mart has successfully tested a shelf-scanning robot to track inventory and now they're testing autonomous floor scrubbers by Brain Corp, which not only enable staff to be more efficient on the job, but also preps them for the workplace technologies that they'll have to operate in the coming years. On the flip side, Lowe's spent the past few years testing a robot of their own through their smaller subsidiary, Orchard. The Lowebot, formerly known as the Oshbot, is a sort of information kiosk that will be used (starting this year I believe) to enhance the shopping experience.
"Soooo, people shouldn't expect to see Rosie the Robot cleaning their house anytime in 2018."
— Edgar Rodriguez, Brain Corp
"There is a lot to be excited about as we surge forward to 2018. Companies' criteria will be straightforward. It has to be scalable. It should be something that could serve both startup and enterprise clients. It might as well be all about AI.
"From rapidly prototyping progressive web app and chatbots to engagement and predictive analysis platforms that use AI, the nature of that work already opened digital world's eyes to a new type of engagement – researching, testing, prototyping, and implementing the newest technologies.
"We’re at full capacity working with all sorts of interesting AI-based technologies – optical character recognition, progressive web apps, chatbots, and recommendation engines, all thoughtfully woven into our website and app development work, having exciting conversations with industry insiders about AI, chatbots, and new technologies.
"And 2018 is even more promising.
"The focus on new technologies will give companies an entirely new pitch. Chatbots are likely to gain a huge popularity in 2018. They open a direct line of communication to your users. They allow you to quickly test out new distribution channels like Facebook Messenger and SMS. They reduce the need for customer service resources. They create magical user experiences.
"Say you sell shoes. People can browse your shoes on your website, order them, and have them delivered to their home. You also have a store where people can come in and browse your shoes. Now let’s say you want a chatbot. What should it do? Help users find the right kind of shoe? Help users navigate your store? Help users check the status of their order and schedule a return? All three situations are well-suited for chatbots, but by trying to do all three with one chatbot, you will end up with one bot that doesn’t quite go far enough with any user flow."
— Andrew Greenstein, CEO at SF AppWorks
"As AI gets more and more advanced every year, all eyes turn to where AI will have the biggest impact in business. Currently, there are many car manufacturers that use AI to help automate their driving, but this is just the beginning. In 2018 and beyond AI is set to revolutionize the customer support industry. As of today, there are several AI messenger bots used by companies such as Asos.com, Dominos and countless others to automate customer service.
"These bots talk and act like a real human while providing users with answers to their problems. As simple as it sounds, the technology behind it is really sophisticated to the point where you can’t tell you’re talking to a robot. This type of AI technology has the potential to save companies millions a year. Imagine having one AI robot that takes care of all your customers' questions and feedback? With customer service currently requiring hundreds of employees per company, AI is set to completely transform the industry."
— Maria Hugh, Systems Manager at PPC Protect
"When it comes to AI, we're going to see it rapidly makes its way into the phone call. The first place that we'll see AI will be in the call center tech stack, where customer service and support professionals will be aided with information to help keep the conversation going towards a favorable outcome for all parties on the call. We'll begin to see the next generation of decision support systems that don't only provide pre-canned answers, but actual intuitive, relevant and contextual guidance for the call center worker. The second wave will come into play surrounding collaborative services like conference calling. Instead of having to bring up the slide, the AI interface that's listening will bring it up for you, along with other relevant files that would be supporting the conversation.
"Another area will be insightful responses to questions or needed actions based on situational context. For example, let's say you're on the way to the airport and there's a flight delay. Beyond getting the call to tell you about the delay, the AI-based calling agent will be able to access your calendar, see the implications of rescheduling your flight and give you options. Let's say that you had an in-person meeting, but due [to] the delay you can't make it. The AI agent will offer you the ability to schedule a conference call, send the notifications, make sure everyone knows what's up, all while you decide to rebook or cancel your flight. This is all coming, making the future of voice a very exciting area to be involved in."
— Craig Walker, CEO of Dialpad
"My biggest prediction from my own experience is that AI will have an incredible and unprecedented penetration in small and medium enterprises in 2018!
"Three months ago we started using AI to distinguish between good and bad candidates for our company.
"In the past, we spent 67.2 percent of each person's time in HR to read the CVs of each candidate who came to us through our own website and third parties.
"We are sincerely surprised with the results and very happy, because boring, manual and repetitive tasks today can be performed automatically thanks to AI. And we can invest more time to interview the best candidates.
"This is why I personally think other businesses will incorporate in 2018 similar AI technologies."
— Cristian Rennella, CEO & CoFounder of MejorTrato.com.mx
"Chatbots will slowly replace most customer service and provide quicker access to pertinent information without the wait times. Apple, Facebook, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and Amazon have already started introducing chatbots to their business strategy to save time and money. Chatbot pilot programs have seen up to 80 percent resolution of customer problems while handling higher call volumes."
— Katy Roby, Marketing Assistant at Arcusys
"With AI, I'm most interested in generative adversarial networks, because of their ability to expand training data sets with synthetic data. AI will be used to [in]corporate knowledge and make it easier to capture, create, manage, and deliver products. We will see more knowledge bases cropping up that will put that knowledge into a format readable by machines to make it easy to train AI models. This will allow us to generate a better search of the corporate knowledge graph and in cases like bot development allows companies to put bots on top of any part of the knowledge base so that users can retrieve information conversationally."
— Rob May, Co-founder & CEO of Talla
"AI in healthcare is really taking off, but we’re not talking about AI-controlled surgeries or anything like that. The biggest (and most feasible) impact of AI in healthcare is all about freeing up doctors' time so they can be more patient-focused.
"How is this happening? By having patients be screened by and interact with AI in the form of chatbots. Now that may seem counterintuitive, but here’s how chatbots are already making an impact:
"The Gabby Preconception Care system is an embodied, online animated character, delivered via computer or tablet screen. She is programmed and designed to screen young black and African-American women for more than 100 general and reproductive health risks and to help them resolve those risks for before pregnancy. In a randomized control trial, Gabby identified and successfully resolved health risks by more than 25 percent compared to a control group. Almost two-thirds of participants in the trial reported they used information from Gabby to improve their health.
"Boston Medical Center also led an exploratory study to find out how older adults would react to having end of life discussions with a chatbot (depicted as a virtual 3-D person) on a touchscreen tablet. Patients’ anxiety significantly decreased during their interaction with the chatbot, their intention to complete a last will and testament increased, and in general, patients wanted to continue working with the chatbot. The whole project is supported by more than $1 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health."
— Timothy Viall, Senior Media Relations Specialist at Boston Medical Center
"With new modes of communication attempting to stake a claim in the workforce, expect to see a significant change in the traditional work dynamic. Artificial intelligence, for example, is going to transform and customize the way people communicate. Pattern and location recognition will be deployed to streamline meetings and calls for each individual employee. Further, employees will shift from communicating through their devices to having their devices communicate for them."
— Mark Sher, Vice President Product and Marketing, Cloud Voice at Intermedia
"At the current rate of adoption, it’s not about 'if' AI will disrupt every industry, but 'when.' From self-driving cars to industrial robots and digital assistants, AI will reinvent every software company in the coming decades. And paired with other new technologies like AR/VR, AI-backed devices and systems will optimize automation and redefine traditional means of distributing information. For example, students will deploy AR/VR to simulate real-life applications with their curriculum, and AI will deliver all of the relevant materials (content, videos, etc.) to augment the experience. Even more, networks powered by artificial intelligence will give homes a brain, or a nervous system, to support all connected and smart devices. With artificial minds of their own, the smart devices we own will feed into computers that will emulate a cortex, sensing our presence, learning our habits, and self-regulating accordingly. AI is here, and it’s only a matter of time until it becomes a part of our everyday lives."
— Gary Weiss, SVP and GM for Security, Analytics, and Discovery at OpenText
"The future of business requires artificial intelligence. In 2018, I expect AI techniques to be applied to solve more of the complex engineering problems organizations face in design, testing, and certification of engineering products. By utilizing knowledge management platforms to amplify and augment human decision-making, AI can take historical data to make sense of problems that otherwise may not have been solved with traditional engineering.
"Moreover, while neural networks have existed for decades, only now is massive computing power available at a reasonable cost, which in turn has helped increase the number of layers in these networks. Each layer adds more intelligence but also consumes enormous computing power, which used to be prohibitively expensive. More layers mean better outcomes. Over time, AI and machine learning will become smarter about analyzing data and making discoveries quickly that can positively affect businesses’ bottom lines."
— Mohit Joshi, President and Head of Banking, Financial Services & Insurance, Healthcare & Life Sciences at Infosys
"Manufacturers, logistics companies and military forces will make huge investments in robots in 2018, as robots will increase their ability to perceive and navigate complex environments using AI. Basically, robots are going to get better at the complex tasks humans still take for granted, like walking around a room and over objects. They'll also get better at mastering boring, normal things, making them much more useful in factories, warehouses and on the battlefield.
"Self-driving cars are another area where we will see the impact of increased investment. Waymo's level 4 autonomous vehicles are deployed on the road now, and vehicles with AI capabilities will become more and more commonplace in the coming year.
"Lastly, investment in AI will lead to algorithms getting better at processing natural language. Chatbots currently have limited applications, because human language is mostly too complex for them. But advanced algorithms will learn to better engage humans through language, and that will make some products, like Alexa, much more useful."
— Chris Nicholson, CEO of Skymind
"According to a study by the American Bankers Association, 77 percent of millennials constantly have their mobile phones with them. Banks should recognize the rapid change to digitization and shift their customer communication channels to mobile. Millennials expect quick and seamless answers from their primary bank via their phone, and chatbots are the perfect fit. Implementing chatbots can reduce labor costs by as much as $15 billion, according to Business Insider. Monotto is a great example of a startup collaborating with financial institutions. They are an early-stage AI personal finance platform that provides millennials with automated solutions to better manage their money. Through a machine learning algorithm, the platform analyzes each account’s monthly spending habits to predict how much money should be saved. The user can also issue a smart goal setting that helps you budget and save for large purchases, such as a Porsche Cayenne or a vacation to Hawaii."
— Ashlene Ramadan, Content Marketing Manager at Plug and Play
"2018 will be the year of marketing intelligence: 2018 will be the year that marketing intelligence enables marketers to take control of their data. By deploying solutions that leverage AI, flexible data modeling capabilities and automated insights, marketers will be able to connect and unify, analyze, and act on all of their respective marketing data immediately.
"AI will be a creativity enabler: The role of the data analyst is changing thanks to AI. AI is allowing marketers to focus once again on the creative art of marketing. With studies indicating that up to 80 percent of an analyst's daily routine was relegated to data cleansing and preparation, 2018 will be the year where that 80/20 rule gets flipped upside down.
"MarTech platforms will continue to evolve to provide marketers with insights to strengthen the marketing department's ROI: If we were to take a snapshot across the MarTech landscape today, many solutions are merely providing a business intelligence-like approach – they provide visualizations and a rearview mirror look into data. For 2018, there will be a bigger move to the application of accurate, predictive analytics as well as elevated insights that can actually empower marketers in ways that were not clear before."
— Leah Pope, CMO of Datorama