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AI for Work: 3 Things to Know in 2018

Over the past few years, we’ve all witnessed the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). Devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home have made it into millions of homes around the world, and self-driving cars, smart-home security systems, and intelligent refrigerators have changed our understanding of what’s possible.

Though emerging technology has taken the consumer realm by storm, the next wave of AI is bound for something greater. No longer will the benefits of AI technology be confined to your living rooms or cars, but will enter our offices to change the way we do business for the better.

The potential for AI at work is largely untapped, and 2018 is expected to bring new meaning to this emerging technology. Looking ahead, we’ve outlined the top 3 things you should be prepared for as AI makes its way into the workplace:

AI will find its place.

Across industries, companies have been toying with machine learning (ML) without full knowledge of how exactly it should be applied. This experimental phase is coming to a close. As we move through 2018, the enterprise will work to define how AI and ML can be applied in specific industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and transportation. Vendors are starting to focus AI and ML innovation efforts on meeting the specific needs of business users, boosting the productivity of workforces and the automation of repetitive tasks currently taking up a significant amount of time and resources.

Voice and natural language interfaces will get practical.

Voice-enabled devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home have become household staples — helping people do things like check the weather or order pizza. With all the buzz around the consumer benefits of these virtual assistants, enterprises have been slow to recognize their value in the workplace. As natural language processing advances, this will change in a massive way.

Language is the most natural form of communication, which has enabled voice interfaces to pick up steam so quickly. As this level of ease moves into the workplace, the adoption of these devices among broader, business-focused audiences will skyrocket; and the benefits will be huge. MicroStrategy’s Tim Lang recently wrote an article for VentureBeat about the benefits of voice interfaces in the workplace. His main point: AI-driven enterprise technology ensures that smaller tasks won’t pile up like they used to and bigger initiatives will become a whole lot more feasible.

Metadata will turn into gold.

For years, metadata has been the missing piece of the machine learning puzzle. It’s the data that makes all the other data make sense, and improves the quality of machine learning output. As companies diligently label their metadata, we’ll start to see everyday business tasks become augmented by AI in a more impactful way than before. For instance, rather than AI algorithms pulling data about global sales into a table of numbers, it’ll display information that can be interpreted by people, such as drop percentages and pie charts onto a word map, enabling anyone to easily interpret the output and make it actionable.

Organizations are beginning to recognize that classifying metadata should be a top priority, and coming to terms with the fact that AI in it of itself isn’t magic. Looking ahead, 2018’s hyper-focus on metadata will ensure our algorithms are only fed with the best of the best information. As a result, data-driven businesses embracing AI will thrive.

For more insight into how AI is contributing to the Intelligent Enterprise, and learn more about enterprise trends for 2018, download the eBook: 8 Enterprise Analytics Trends to Watch in 2018.

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