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It’s not your imagination: Applications are getting smarter. Next-generation enterprise software will rely on artificial intelligence (AI) and massive amounts of high-quality data to deliver more intuitive user experiences. (Think Siri on steroids.) What can you expect? Intelligent virtual assistants that manage your calendar, book your flight, and remind the sandwich shop to hold the mayo. Chatbots that listen to what you say to provide information quickly and reliably. According to vice president and Gartner fellow David Cearley, “over the next 10 years, virtually every app, application, and service will incorporate some level of AI.”
Machine learning is the secret sauce inside intelligent apps. In the past, the knowledge inside a software application was put there by a human. The application was only as smart as the programmer. With deep machine learning, that’s no longer the case. Using algorithms that can learn from and make predictions based on data, intelligent apps get better and better at their tasks over time.
The implications are profound. Tomorrow’s applications will quickly learn each user’s likes and dislikes through natural conversation for highly personalized results. The line between online and offline will blur as Internet access becomes ubiquitous and more data resides in the cloud, allowing digital assistants to search locally and globally at the same time. As applications grow more intelligent, their inherent value increases, and that value can be exploited using the principles of digital economics.
In the same way that microprocessors have become ubiquitous in the home, AI will soon be incorporated into virtually every enterprise application, such as cybersecurity. Designers and software developers must be aggressive in looking for ways to apply AI today while developing road maps that anticipate developments in AI technology. One thing is certain: Your competitors will use AI to sharpen their edge in the marketplace—even if you don’t.
1. Gartner press release. “Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017.” October 18, 2016. http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3482617
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