Artificial Intelligence In The Enterprise: The AI Race Is On
Artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be on everyone’s mind. It powers natural language recognition within voice-powered assistants like Siri and Alexa, beats world-class Go players (Google AlphaGo), and enables hyper-targeted e-commerce and content recommendations across the web, as we see with Amazon and Netflix. But recently, AI has begun actively expanding its footprint within the enterprise. Executives are trying to more fully comprehend what AI is and how they can use it to better capitalize on business opportunities by gaining insights into their data and engaging with customers more productively, thereby honing a competitive edge. AI is the frontier of enterprise technology, but there remains many misperceptions about what it is and how it works.
Part of the confusion stems from the fact that AI is an umbrella term that covers a range of technologies — including machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, deep learning, and others — that are in various stages of development and deployment. The use of AI for dynamic market-based pricing and targeted marketing has been spreading through corporations for a while, but actual AI computing where machines think like humans is still years in the future. The various possibilities prompt a range of reactions from people who understand AI’s disruptive potential.
As a field, artificial intelligence encompasses three distinct areas of research and practice:
1. Artificial superintelligence is the type popularized in speculative fiction and in movies such as The Matrix. The goal of this type of research is to produce computers that are superior to humans in virtually every way, possessing what author and analyst William Bryk referred to as “perfect memory and unlimited analytical power.”
2. Artificial general intelligence refers to a machine that is as intelligent as a human and equally capable of solving the broad range of problems that require learning and reasoning.
3. Artificial narrow intelligence exploits a computer’s superior ability to process vast quantities of data and detect patterns and relationships that would otherwise be difficult or impossible for a human to detect.
The research covered in this report focused on artificial narrow intelligence (referred to herein simply as AI) that is being targeted for specific business cases in the enterprise.