editors note: simple article in Forbes, and to the point, for the non-technical business person.
The field of artificial intelligence got its start at a conference at Dartmouth in 1956. Optimism ran high and it was believed that machines would be able to do the work of humans within 20 years. Alas, it was not to be. By the 1970’s, funding dried up and the technology entered the period known as the AI winter.
Clearly, much has changed since then. In 2011, IBM’s Watson system beat the best human players in the game show Jeopardy! More recently, Google’s DeepMind had similar success against Go Champion Lee Sedol. Microsoft has also opened a cognitive services division and others are sure to follow.
Yet for all the dazzling technological wizardry, we’ve seen little effect on most businesses. Artificial intelligence, much like PC’s in the early 80’s or the Internet in the early 90’s, remains little more than a curiosity for most managers. So I talked to Josh Sutton, who heads up the AI practice at Publicis.Sapient, to learn about what managers can expect in the years to come.
1. Virtual Assistance
The first and most obvious way to use artificial intelligence is for virtual assistance. Many have already had the experience of speaking into a phone to search for answers to basic questions, like who invented the paperclip or directions to the nearest gas station. It’s become so commonplace that we rarely stop to think that it would have seemed like science fiction a decade ago.