Every new technology inevitably faces a taxonomy problem — WTF are we talking about. Today, the most misunderstood and controversial term in technology is “Artificial Intelligence”.
The full scope of human capabilities includes touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. Importantly, it also includes reason, personality, spirit, values-based actions, instinct-based reactions, memory-based consideration, and intuition. That is a simple explanation only. What it means to emulate a human, is a subject that would take at least a small book. More likely, it would take a library of books.
Despite amazing progress, we are nowhere near silicon-based emulation of the full range of human capabilities. We have made good progress in language processing, a significant amount of “artificial intelligence” tech is aimed at image processing with some good results, and there is progress in robotics — though not as much as viral demonstrations imply. There have been major breakthroughs, there is momentum, there is promise, but the road ahead is long — very long.
The most significant breakthrough has been the discovery that tech designed to produce stunning computer-generated graphics, graphics processing units (GPU), are excellent computers for analyzing torrents of data. This is commonly referred to as machine learning, the process of creating a model for making decisions based on the observation of a large scale and scope of examples. By observing examples, machine learning processes can create artificial neural networks, much like the neural networks used in the human brain. These networks can later be used to identify whether inputted images and other data fit the pattern in the model. Basically, pattern matching.
This is a relatively new, incredibly powerful capability, that every business MUST leverage, or it will get left behind.
Pattern matching is a powerful human capability, but it is not the entire human experience. What we have today is a subset of human capability, of human intelligence, and because it is a subset, of artificial human intelligence, it is aspirationally referred to as artificial intelligence.
The most successful companies will get beyond the aspiration of Artificial Intelligence and focus on what can be achieved with today’s tech. The most successful marketers will get beyond buzz words, like artificial intelligence, and have a clear message about the business value their product or service will provide to prospective buyers.
Ultimately how terms like “Artificial Intelligence” and “Machine Learning” are used, is not important, except by those that get lost in the noise created by those using such terms.
THE IMPORTANT today is that everyone understands we have entered an era of unprecedented compute, storage, networking and data.
The most successful companies will leverage this new reality to acquire, analyze, and apply the patterns and insights hidden in the data — data is the “new oil”, and those who best find and apply the patterns inside, will be the ones who are most successful in the short-term. Doing so is the important business imperative of the current generation of business leaders.