The pace of change is marked by how fast IT catchphrases can come and go. It seems like a lifetime ago Marc Andreessen coined the phrase, “software is eating the world.” Over a year ago, Jensen Huang from Nvidia, extrapolated upon that, saying “Software is eating the world, but AI is going to eat software.” So where does that leave us today as the world runs on software*?
The potential of AI lies in its ability to enable computers to make autonomous decisions and even exhibit human-like behavior. It is easy to get excited about artificial intelligence with visions of robots and the fervor for voice-enabled technology. But the aspect that should be interesting and perhaps a cautionary tale was best stated by Sherif Mityas, CXO, TGI Fridays while being interviewed for this month’s cover story.
“What is exciting about AI is that it is always learning,” he says. “It can get things wrong, but then it absorbs that data and adapts for the next time to make a smarter decision.”
There’s the lesson – and perhaps a warning. Humans cannot do what machine learning can in the sense of throughput. In business, data comes from countless sources. Often in best-case scenarios, the data is siphoned through one source and is pushed out via reports in what can only be described as a firehose of insight leading to a flood of “now what?” Humans will take that data and seek someone to analyze it. When a proposal on a course of action is decided upon, it needs to be agreed upon. All of this can take weeks before a plan is even in its infancy of application and implementation.
The machines are winning in the sense that artificial intelligence can do all of that in seconds. Mistakes will happen, followed by tweaks to improve…and here is what humans should take to heart: Never stop learning, tweaking and adapting.
*Apologies to the newly christened Dunkin’ (www.dunkin.com) for the tweak on a tagline.