It’s Time to Get on Board with the AI Evolution Before it’s Too Late

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The growth of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are at an all-time high. It’s no secret that businesses are benefiting from the growth of insights and intelligence better than ever before. Businesses are using AI to make decisions and build apps, spurring an evolution across all platforms. There are several factors regarding AI that these companies need to take into consideration, from governance laws and how they will impact data, the impact AI has on culture, and how the future of AI will influence business decisions. In order to optimize AI and use its power for the greater good of your business, one must have an understanding of these components of the AI evolution.

Governance Laws

It’s no secret that with AI comes strict regulatory strategies. European Union’s landmark General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in 2018 and emphasized the need for companies to look at their data protection in a comprehensive mindset, rather than rely on industry self-regulation. When technology is growing at an unprecedented speed, it’s imperative for regulators to keep up. This is one of the reasons why in April 2018, 25 European countries signed an agreement of cooperation on AI. This agreement resolved to collectively deal with “social, economic, ethical and legal questions” of AI.

Regulatory processes are happening at both large and small scales. On a state level, California lawmakers passed the California Consumer Protection Act in 2018, establishing rules for how businesses can collect and use people’s data. By adjusting data regulatory processes to accommodate both large and small-sized businesses, it helps to create a better opportunity and environment for all businesses to incorporate AI.

AI’s Cultural Impact

When the effects of AI can be felt at all levels of an organization, it’s crucial that everyone is ready. Not only do IT teams need to increase their level of adaptability, but all employees up to the C-Suite, in order to be dynamic and maximize the benefits and potential that AI brings.

The world is evolving and businesses are no longer able to work in silos. With this comes more opportunity and progression, but also more responsibility. This new era makes data protection and regulation a C-Suite priority, beyond the IT team. As new technology emerges, new skills are needed to keep up, like robotic emotional intelligence, cloud-native literacy and infinite adaptability. Humans need to be able to keep up with the changing landscape and new speed of business. By denying technological inevitables like adapting the cloud or accurately preparing for 5G, businesses will be operating on borrowed time. Ultimately, they will be one of the causes of their demise.

Similar to other modern, multi-faceted opportunities in the world, AI has introduced a new conversation about ethics. With the lack of equal representation, AI benefits some of us far more than others depending upon who we are, our gender and ethnic identities, how much income or power we have, where we are in the world, and what we want to do. AI ultimately adds a new element to power structures that weren’t previously encountered in this way. The plus side? In an effort to combat a potential future issue, regulators are adopting new ways to deal with this conversation of ethics head on. The EU has developed principles for ethical AI, as has IEEE, Google, Microsoft, and other countries and corporations.

What the Future Looks Like

With the incorporation of AI becoming a popular pattern, there is also growing anticipation in more unity across the board. While everyone is not starting from the same point, AI will help to get everyone to the same place. or businesses to future-proof themselves, they must begin investing in AI and ML. Developing a business strategy that focuses on the transition away from embedded legacy technology to modern systems is a good place to start. Coupled with the use of AI enablers, intelligent automation can drive a future-ready business that is better equipped. With humans and AI technology correctly aligned, business transformation will be accelerated, and the ability to maximize business process productivity and competitive differentiation will be a result.

The immediate beneficiaries of AI have been prominently large businesses. However, it doesn’t stop there and the future is looking smaller. While historically, these advances have not been particularly user-friendly for small and medium-sized businesses, cloud companies are rapidly moving to help SMBs through new AI options and approaches that don’t require deep learning or advanced analytics experience. This will help to free up their IT department to more effectively use resources to focus on bigger threats like cybersecurity.

The growth of AI and ML have been significant and it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. In order for businesses to better prepare themselves for this rapidly expanding evolution, they must have a fundamental understanding of what the AI landscape looks like. This consists of the governance laws surrounding AI, the cultural impact these insights are making, and what the future with AI looks like. By leveraging an understanding of these concepts, businesses will be able to consolidate resources and maximize the positive impact of AI. Now is the time for businesses of all sizes to invest in AI or get left behind, as the time to act is dwindling quickly.

About the Author

Mike Fitzgerald is the Chief Innovation Officer at SoftwareONE, currently based out of North America. Mike joined SoftwareONE in 2016 as the company’s Global Solutions Leader and was responsible for the SoftwareONE solutions practice worldwide. Mike has extensive experience in building and growing businesses and business units in Managed Services, Cloud, End-User Computing and Application Development. Mike is a  tech-focused thought leader, investor and contributor, bringing innovation to the technology community through his advisory and consultancy expertise.

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