Why the Future is focused on AI

By: Anne Håkansson

With companies across the Noridcs perfecting their RPA and automation processes, organizations are looking towards the next big IA technology. It seems the future of IA is centred on Artificial Intelligence (AI). This includes software such as natural language processing, chatbots and optical character recognition and these AI programs all help to enhance the overall customer experience. We spoke to Anne Håkansson, a Senior Lecturer at KTH, about the future of AI and the directions she thinks the technology is going to take in the next 12 months across the Nordics.

How would you describe AI?

"When people talk about the current state of AI they think about machine learning, neural networks and deep learning. If you think about Siri or Cortana or any digital assistant, they are using natural language processing which are commonly used AI techniques. AI is arguably everywhere today. When you are on your smartphone or when you are on the internet interacting with personal assistants and chatbots, you are interacting with a form of AI software. Nowadays, you don’t really need to talk to a human first. AI is closing that gap between humans and technology."

What do you believe is the main challenge when researching AI?

"The main challenge is to develop different AI products using pre-existing standards. However, it isn’t only about the standards. You need to have a level of flexibility so you can connect one type of software to another software, or an object to another object, to ensure that they communicate easily. Standards work to assist us so we can research and develop flexibly. I find balancing both standards and flexibility can be the biggest challenge when researching AI."

How do you see AI improving business processes and their customer experience?

"You can use AI anywhere if you have the services and products that you need to get them to work together. You have to have services that can talk to each other and give a better overall customer experience. Implementing AI into a business is actually making smart customer services smarter. So, you can implement and use AI absolutely anywhere if you have the resources. And eventually, I think AI will be used in all businesses."

Will humans still be relevant in the future with all these AI advancements?

"Yes, absolutely! AI has been around since the 1950s and this discussion has never really been important before now. AI is developing a lot more recently, we have tried developing previously and haven’t really succeeded but now the success rate of our research is higher because of deep learning. There is a point when this stage of AI research and development will blow over, we’re not sure when. But there will always be relevance for human knowledge in the future of AI development."

Over the next 12 months what AI development will impact your work the most?

"The next 12 months will definitely be focused on learning and using deep learning to advance different sectors. This learning will focus more on product and service development. The research that we need is aimed at explaining how these specific systems work because AI products are like a big black box and frequently face a significant amount of internal and external criticism. Whilst it can be easy to understand the input and outputs, people usually don’t understand how the AI systems work and over the next 12 months it’s important to educate people on that aspect specifically."

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