The Rise of the Machine

Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered Echo devices were by far one of the most popular items this past holiday season.  I personally own 3 of them.  The AI shift is not only happening with consumer electronics, it is also happening in the business world.  According to a blog post by OneReach in 2016, there are 10 statistics to show where the industry is heading:

  1. There was more than $300 million in venture capital invested in AI startups in 2014, a 300% increase over the year before. (Bloomberg)
  2. By 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human. (Gartner)
  3. 32% of executives say voice recognition is the most-widely used AI technology in their business. (Narrative Science)
  4. By 2018, six billion connected devices will proactively ask for support. (Gartner)
  5. 44% of executives believe artificial intelligence’s most important benefit is “automated communications that provide data that can be used to make decisions.” (Narrative Science)
  6. By the end of 2018, “customer digital assistants” will recognize customers by face and voice across channels and partners. (Gartner)
  7. 80% of executives believe artificial intelligence improves worker performance and creates jobs. (Narrative Science)
  8. By 2020, smart agents will manage 40% of mobile interactions. (Gartner)
  9. Artificial intelligence will replace 16% of American jobs by the end of the decade. (Forrester)
  10. 15% of Apple phone owners users use Siri’s voice recognition capabilities. (BGR)

I believe that these statistics can be consolidated into one phrase “Convenience”.  With the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) we are moving towards an even more connected world where devices will have the ability to request support from it’s manufacturer and maybe one day even repair itself.  In the 1984 movie “The Terminator”, there was a  computer system called “Skynet” that in the future became self aware and caused the destruction of mankind.  Some 33 years later we have factories that are staffed by robots, cars that can drive themselves and super computers that have to ability to learn from it’s human users.  Will we ultimately create a computer system that will attempt to exterminate mankind? I don’t know, but it’s exciting to think about.

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