IBM Think 2018: Big Blue Looks to Help Companies Adopt Their First AI Project

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

• During IBM Think, IBM made several AI-related announcements, some designed for enterprises with complex requirements, and others geared towards helping businesses deploy their first AI solution.

• Although IBM’s new capabilities and tools in support of deep learning are impressive, and position IBM as a thought leader, it’s the steps IBM is taking to help companies just getting started with AI that truly move the market forward.

IBM Think was promoted as an event that would bring together the greatest minds in AI. It featured technologies such as virtual assistants, machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL), and also touched on hot button issues such as ethics and AI. During her keynote, CEO Ginni Rometty discussed the transformational role that AI will have on the IT market going forward, and she introduced Watson’s Law, describing it as a follow on to Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law. Continue reading “IBM Think 2018: Big Blue Looks to Help Companies Adopt Their First AI Project”

Job Displacement And Privacy Were Yesterday’s AI Hot Buttons; Today, Ethics Issues Are Even More Important and Controversial

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • Businesses looking to adopt AI must not only evaluate the technology’s implications on job displacement and data security, but also consider that algorithms may unintentionally undermine the organization’s ethical standards.
  • Customers are quick to pass judgement; if unintentional biases become public, a company’s brand reputation may suffer significantly.

Much has been written about ethics and artificial intelligence (AI), and rightly so.  With many organizations looking to adopt some form of AI technology in 2018, business leaders are wise to stay on top of emerging ethical concerns. 

Job displacement is still a key consideration, as is safeguarding data. In a recent GlobalData survey, 23% of organizations indicated they had cut or not replaced employees because of AI; 57% indicated security as a top concern.

However, looking ahead, the question of ethics is the real challenge the AI community will need to tackle. And it is a challenge that is far more controversial than security or privacy.  What happens when a self-driven car needs to decide between hitting a child that has run into the road, or swerving and risking the injury of its passenger?  How proactive should a personal assistant be when it detects wrongdoing?  What should be done when a personal assistant believes that a user’s usage pattern points to having committed a serious offense – should it alert authorities?

Probably more relevant to business leaders is the concern that they may not know if an AI infused application will perform up to their organization’s ethical standards.  It may contain unintentional racial bias – say a financial algorithm that is biased against a specific race, or an application that demonstrates a preference towards one gender over another.  What should be done when a phrase that is acceptable when said by one demographic is completely unacceptable when uttered by another – can an algorithm be trained to reliably make this distinction?  Maybe, but what happens when it makes a mistake?

On the one hand, unintentional results are not the fault of the organization using the AI solution.  The responsibility may lie in the data used to train the underlying machine learning model. However, customers are quick to pass judgement.  If and when these unintentional biases become public, customers will quickly assign blame to the company using them, potentially with enormous impact to a brand’s reputation.

Just as CEOs may take the blame for customer data breaches, and as a result may lose their jobs, senior leaders are also at risk of taking the fall when an AI solution implemented by their organization crosses an ethical line.  It’s in their best interest to ensure that doesn’t happen – their reputation depends on it.


The Unity and IBM Partnership Is as Much About Business Apps as It Is About Gaming

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • The announced IBM and Unity partnership has the potential to expose a larger audience to the world of AI.
  • The implications of the deal go beyond gaming; it could change both the way consumers expect to interact with software – at home and at work – and the way developers design software in the future.

Last week, Unity and IBM announced a partnership that could have significant implications for the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in both consumer and business applications. The two companies launched IBM Watson Unity SDK, which enables developers to integrate Watson’s cloud-based AI features into Unity applications. Developers can include features such as Watson’s speech-to-text, visual recognition, language translation, and language classification capabilities in their programs, changing how users issue commands and how software responds to them. Continue reading “The Unity and IBM Partnership Is as Much About Business Apps as It Is About Gaming”

Looking for a Magic Pill to Realize the Potential of AI? Look No Further Than Your Good Old Telephone Company

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

• Many organizations are unsure of how to best incorporate AI to meet their industry-specific challenges – often because the use case options are so vast and so varied.

• Organizations – particularly mid-sized businesses, companies starting out on their analytics journeys, or those rolling out IoT solutions – should explore the services available from their telecom provider, many of which have built out their professional services capabilities around digital transformation.

Despite the consumer hype around AI, many organizations still have no idea how to apply AI in the corporate world. Technologies abound, but the means to apply those to business outcomes remains elusive without help from expensive third party integrators with the necessary domain expertise. But help is already at hand thanks to ever present telecom service providers, which have taken on AI as a core competency. Continue reading “Looking for a Magic Pill to Realize the Potential of AI? Look No Further Than Your Good Old Telephone Company”

New Capabilities, Not Cost Savings, Are Biggest Driver of AI Adoption

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • Recent survey results reveal that companies have high expectations when it comes to artificial intelligence; close to half expect the technology to bring new capabilities to their organization.
  • Vendors are bringing new solutions to market to help companies implement their AI vision, offering solutions that speed and ease adoption of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning in particular.

Businesses are looking at artificial intelligence (AI) as a truly disruptive technology, with the potential to change the way they run their organizations. Unlike many other new solutions, which are often adopted because of their promises to cut costs, companies are embracing AI so they can to bring new capabilities to their teams or to improve the support they provide to their customers and partners. Continue reading “New Capabilities, Not Cost Savings, Are Biggest Driver of AI Adoption”

Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Collaboration

Rena Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • Cloud collaboration brings together two of the hottest trends in the IT industry.  It marries the productivity enhancements of collaborative solutions with the benefits of a cloud-based consumption model.
  • A recent Current Analysis survey shows that 64% of organizations use cloud services; of those, 26% already use cloud collaboration and another 15% plan to within two years.

Cloud collaboration is taking off – these services foster effective communication by bringing together real time communication such as voice, chat, video, and presence with persistent collaboration such as groups, messaging, activity streams, file editing/sharing, blogs, wikis, etc.  To be most effective, solutions must be easy to use, provide business analytics/intelligence capabilities, and integrate with line of business applications.  They should support the creation of a vendor ecosystem and deliver an integrated experience across applications and workflows. Continue reading “Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Collaboration”