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10 AI trends to watch in 2020
What’s happening in artificial intelligence in the year ahead? Look for modeling at the edge, new attention to data governance, and continued talent wars, among key AI trends
6. AI will come for B2B
B2B sales and services’ complexity stands to benefit more from AI than the consumer corollaries. “Machine and deep learning are making it possible for users of complex B2B services to define and match complex requirements to ideal trading partners through an intuitive, needs-identification process and a vast understanding of potential trading partner strengths and capabilities,” says Keith Hausmann, chief revenue officer at Globality. “User experience continues to improve as AI becomes better informed about individual preferences and company requirements with every interaction, especially intangible areas like organizational culture and values.”
7. Man and machine converge in contact centers
“The consumer push to get faster service across a growing number of digital channels has challenged contact center teams, causing team leaders to solve for long wait times, clumsy customer journeys, and overwhelmed agents,” says Korte of TetraVX. AI can complement agents, enabling them to better provide timely or informed responses across channels.
“As with any new technology implementation, AI in the contact center comes with its own challenges,” Korte says. “It’s important that organizations keep their customer service experiences human, ensuring that customer journeys don’t appear ‘too automated’ from the outside looking in." But beware: Standalone conversational AI could take a hit next year.
Forrester points out that brands have embraced chatbots to reduce the cost of customer service, but “overly ambitious projects fail to resolve customers’ issues or answer their questions. Despite the maturation of the toolsets — including the expansion of prebuilt and vertical-specific intent libraries and higher-power natural language understanding (NLU) engines — by the end of 2020, conversational AI will still power less than 20 percent of successful customer service interactions.”
8. Automation could go into overdrive
Add a new word to your vocabulary for 2020: Hyperautomation, meaning the application of advanced technologies like AI and ML to automate processes and augment humans across a range of tools and at a higher level of sophistication. Gartner named hyperautomation one of its top ten strategic technology trends in 2020.
The goal, says Gartner, is more AI-driven decision-making, with many organizations creating a digital twin of themselves, which enables them to “visualize how functions, processes, and key performance indicators interact to drive value.”
9. Heterogenous architectures will emerge
Today, AI-enabled applications and networks rely on different processing architectures. That’s likely to change in 2020, according to ABI Research’s 54 Technology Trends to Watch. “The next generation and AI and ML frameworks will be multimodal by their nature and may require heterogeneous computing resources for their operations,” predict ABI Research analysts, noting the leading chip makers will move away from proprietary software stacks and begin to adopt open Software Development Kits (SDKs) and Application Programming Interface (API) approaches to their tools.
10. AI mistakes will be made
As Forrester points out, AI isn’t perfect; it can perpetuate discrimination and bias. The analyst firm anticipates some high-profile PR disasters as a result, which could hurt some companies, but ultimately won’t destroy trust in AI.
AI can perpetuate discrimination, and “the spread of deepfakes, misuse of facial recognition, and overuse of personalization can harm, offend, or creep out customers and employees,” Forrester analysts write. In the end, these missteps will serve a larger purpose: highlighting the importance of responsible AI development and deployment.
[ Want a quick-scan primer on 10 key artificial intelligence terms for IT and business leaders? Get our Cheat sheet: AI glossary. ]