Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Hottest in IT Consulting
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While the terms Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is common, do we truly understand what it means for us? In this article, I will attempt to make sense of what these words mean beyond just their definition, which technologies are in demand and what does it mean for our future.
These words AI and ML are constantly used synonymously but there is a marked difference in that AI is a broader area of work which studies the capabilities of machines in understanding instructions no matter how complex they may be. However, this is an evolving area of study and therefore understanding it completely may not be possible at this point.
ML, on the other hand, is a branch of AI, which incorporates statistics, computer science and software programming among many others into the Algorithms to make better predictions from the complex data that we present. The exciting part about this is that as the machine is exposed to newer data, it evolves and improves.
*According to the Narrative Science Report, the National Business Research Institute conducted a survey of 235 Business Executives on the adoption of AI amongst organizations. The results show that 38% are currently using AI technologies effectively and 62% will use the same by 2018.
Top technologies in demand/Use:
# 1. Natural Language Generation: NLP, as it is called, is being considered revolutionary. It refers to computers and its ability to understand human speech and languages as it is spoken. So, it covers automation of all linguistic forms of communication i.e. reading, written compositions, correspondence, lip reading, translation and so on. Siri and Cortana (Windows) is the most obvious example where instruction spoken by you are acted upon by your device! While this is a simpler usage, Algorithmic Trading is an example of a much more complex function and this is increasingly replacing the human control in the financial markets. Decisions taken in the financial markets can be greatly impacted by news from around the world. Acting upon such news in a timely manner can be the difference between huge profits or losing your money. Since there is immense scope for human errors here, this is where Algorithmic trading comes in. For instance, **BlackRock, one of the world’s largest money manager uses Algorithms for most of its actively managed funds and they have seen a lot of success since then. Their funds have performed consistently better than even the human managed funds. Robotic Process Automation is a similar concept where robots are configured to capture information, processing transactions and communicating with digital systems. There is a huge demand for professionals with such knowledge. For instance, Infosys which has a leadership position with many of its clients in AI and Robotic Process Automation constantly advertises for such positions. ( https://www.infosys.com/careers/job-opportunities/Pages/artificial-intelligence.aspx)
# 2. Machine Learning Platforms: MLP is a branch of AI and a sub-discipline of Computer Science. This involves teaching a computer to learn and since we are increasingly dependent on computers and their processing abilities, companies providing these platforms have been steadily gaining traction. Let us take the example of advertising companies or marketing software companies, who need to make decisions about placement of advertisements every so often. Most of our interactions with brands have now become digital and therefore there are several million opportunities to connect with the consumers in a mere 60-second time frame. Using AI technologies here allows companies to place their advertisements smartly. For instance, ***Watson Discovery News (MLP) from IBM prevents placing adverts on a site where there are negative references to the brand.
# 3. Bio Metrics relates to a more natural interaction between computers and humans. So, we are talking about exchanges that relate to touch, Image, speech recognition etc. Considering that every human is unique, biometrics has become the preferred option for identity and authentication. While we have seen this technology being used increasingly in Airports and high-security offices, usage of this technology in retail industries is path-breaking. For instance, Amazon which recently took over Whole foods plans to set up a futuristic grocery store which will predict buying behavior based on your movements around the store and buying history. They are hoping that with the help of AI and MLP’s you will do the only job of selecting the products while they track payments and shipping through Amazon Go. Who said grocery shopping is a chore!
Why IT Consulting is Hottest: AI is in its nascent stages but its influence in the business cannot be ignored. While many organizations are approaching the technology with caution as it is difficult for many of them to understand how to use it profitably, the hype around AI is sure to increase the demand for engineers who understand and can apply AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning techniques. A report by KellyOCG## suggests that there will be a 60% rise in 2018 for machine learning and AI specialists.
Globally, more than ****200 AI-based companies have collectively raised more than $1.5 billion so far, this year and investors are backing AI based companies more than ever. The AI market globally is set to be worth 18 billion in the coming year. So, if your area of specialization is in any one of the above technologies, your future is brighter than ever. A unique way in which companies are attracting the right talent to their companies is by organizing “Hackathons”. For instance, Accenture organizes the Global AI Hackathon which encourages their employees (even those not aware about AI) to participate and learn about AI based platforms. To learn more about the opportunities that Accenture presents for AI specialists in IT Consulting, follow this link- https://www.accenture.com/us-en/artificial-intelligence-index
Deloitte’s study which was titled Cognitive Technologies: The Real Opportunities for Business (https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/artificial-intelligence-disruption.html), touches all the key points. By imagining that this technology can disrupt a business or an industry, we can understand and analyze it to drive up revenues while improving the production process.
Expected Growth Rate:
According to the study conducted by Research and Markets, Dublin, the AI market will be worth about $36 million by the year 2025#. The presence of key players, a sound technical base along with government funding and support will ensure that the North American region stays ahead in this industry. However, the Asian-pacific region is not too far behind and is seeing enormous growth in Automotive and the Healthcare Industries.
Considering that AI is taking baby steps right now, it will be a while before machines can perform highly complex tasks with complex decision making involved. However, the key is to incorporate ethics and morals to build more subservient and trustworthy workers rather than the “killer robots” we imagine.