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Artificial intelligence (AI) has become one of the world’s most pervasive technologies in recent years, and many tech pundits are issuing gentle reminders that we are only beginning to see the true rise in its capability and global adoption. We have already witnessed the introduction of AI into our everyday lives, and for most people interacting with it on a daily basis is as natural as breathing. But we are now entering the age of AI’s refinement. Things are about to get more subtle and seamless, more refined and creative, and most of all – even more pervasive.
Trying to keep track of AI trends in today’s digital landscape is as cumbersome as trying to dodge raindrops in a thunderstorm, as new tech and iterations are released every day. But our seasoned tech geeks at WeAreBrain, who like to find order in chaos for fun, are beginning to see patterns emerging in global tech trends.
So here is our list of top 5 AI trends that will continue to dominate in 2020 and beyond. Unsurprisingly, many of these pieces of tech you will already come into contact with in your everyday life but we’re looking forward to seeing how all of these technologies will continue to evolve.
AI in the workplace
AI is present in almost every digital touchpoint we interact with, and for good reason – it just makes things easier, simpler and faster. AI has been assisting businesses with office and administrative automation for years, from repetitive rules-based tasks to more high-level data synthesising – you name it.
But 2020 (and beyond) will see AI become more sophisticated in the workplace, offering us time to handle more complex tasks while the machines take care of the time-consuming remedial processes through robotic process automation (RPA). AI can now help us create websites, complete forms, create documents and find information needles in gargantuan-sized data haystacks in far more sophisticated and streamlined manners than ever before.
What is most important about AI in the workplace is that while in the last few years much of the list above has been supposition, theories and prototypes are moving out of the lab and being run in world scenarios by organisations large and small. The figurative training wheels are coming off and we’re beginning to see if, as expected, RPA technology is saving organisations time and money. Many companies heading into their financial year-ends between April and July will be able to see dollar and cent results on their AI innovation
Although facial recognition technology has been subject to much controversy and debate recently, its popularity among global enterprises and governments will see the tech’s refinement and roll out at scale in 2020. Facial recognition technology will get better at doing what it is designed to do: tracking nodal points on a human’s face to match to an image database. The tech is relatively new, so its accuracy has come under fire from opponents., However, with improvements to our deep learning and machine learning capabilities, facial recognition software will become far more reliable.
But facial recognition technology has come a long way from being able to auto-tag you and your friends in photos on social media. 2020 will see a shift in its goals, opting for a more personalised approach. Advertisers will soon be able to target marketing efforts to individuals through our phones and laptops – even in public spaces such as airports and shopping malls. As an example, Walgreens, a pharmacy and convenience store chain in the USA, have installed smart cooler doors with sensors and cameras. They, “connect to face-detection technology that can pick out a customer’s age and gender, as well as external factors like if it’s hot or raining outside and even pick up on your emotional response to what you’re looking at.”
This tech will also be used for more robust security measures, for payment processing and security verification, and various other instances where our faces will allow us to gain access to sensitive information.
This year we will also see improvements which will result in far less invasive biometric technology or what’s more commonly known as contactless biometrics which will allow robots to be able to identify us in a sea of faces from afar. As it suggests, it is a technology that doesn’t require any action from a user to be identified. When you put some research time into the concept, words like effortless and time-saving pop up quite frequently. Selling the idea of contactless biometric authentication as a real boon for companies but it still feels a little jarring knowing the limited control you have over your physical identity.
Thanks to global organisations such as Amazon and Google, people around the world are used to having more personalised interactions with brands online. With further advancements in 2020 of machine learning and AI’s predictive capabilities, businesses will be able to get more reliable insights into each user by tracking and monitoring their online activity. Each time users interact with a platform, such as websites and mobile apps, they are feeding machines personalised data for AI algorithms to collect and store. The aim is to get a deeper insight into users’ buying trends, preferences, and online activity in order to accurately provide personalised experiences – ‘if you liked that then you might also like this’.
The accuracy of this tech will be improved in 2020 and users can expect more personalised touches at each interaction. Businesses will get a more complete picture of the personalities behind their users in order to predict and suggest products better, and consumers will appreciate far improved streamlined shopping experiences. The biggest improvement in this tech for 2020 will be businesses’ ability to achieve this kind of personalisation at scale.
As mentioned in a recent article on this topic, most of the AI the average person interacts with operates in ‘the cloud’ – a geographically-specific location housing high-powered data centres in server rooms. Basically, each time you search for something online, make a purchase or even stream the latest television series, the information is sent from these server rooms directly to your device, which are often located on opposite sides of the globe. This, of course, puts heavy strain on our global bandwidth highway and with the increased rollout of internet-ready devices (IoT), we need to find new ways of freeing up bandwidth. Enter edge computing.
The idea is that we bring computation to ‘the edge’. Smart devices will run the power-heavy processing in isolation close to the source and only important information is sent back to server rooms across the world, freeing up our global bandwidth. With the rollout of 5G looming, we will see the adoption of edge computing at scale.
This is a clearly important and sensitive area and so 2020 will see scaled-up cybersecurity efforts through the use of the latest AI technology. It’s not surprising that as AI becomes increasingly sophisticated, so too are hackers and nefarious agents operating in the digital world. This has increased the need for better and more advanced cybersecurity precautions and technology. Smart technology in 2020 will play a major role in protecting us from hackers trying to gain access to not only our personal information but the information of government agencies across the world.
AI will be used to fight cyber threats by being able to spot and track any inconsistent activity occurring on information-sensitive platforms such as banking and healthcare. Early identification and warning of threats will be streamlined, allowing us to be quicker to thwart any cyber attacks.
Of course, none of the technologies on our list are new. However, they will all see significant improvements in accuracy and sophistication in 2020, with improvements to operating abilities and scalability efforts. Just like any baker’s most recent cake is their best yet due to trial and error and iterations that came before, AI’s contribution to society is going to be more refined in 2020, with the best possible versions of each piece of tech being used in the right way.
The hard part of technology adoption is over, we are now embarking on a future where the technology works for us in more ways than previously imagined.