It’s been another great year for robots. We didn’t quite figure out how to imbue them with human-level intelligence, but we gave it the old college try and came up with GPT-2 (the text generator so scary it gives Freddy Krueger nightmares) and the AI magic responsible for these adorable robo-cheetahs:
But it’s time to let the past go and point our bows toward the future. It’s no longer possible to estimate how much the machine learning and AI markets are worth, because the line between what’s an AI-based technology and what isn’t has become so blurred that Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all “AI companies” that also do other stuff.
Your local electricity provider uses AI and so does the person who takes those goofy real-estate agent pictures you see on park benches. Everything is AI — an axiom that’ll become even truer in 2020.
We solicited predictions for the AI industry over the next year from a panel of experts, here’s what they had to say:
Marianna Tessel, CTO at Intuit
AI and human will collaborate. AI will not “replace humans,” it will collaborate with humans and enhance how we do things. People will be able to provide higher level work and service, powered by AI. At Intuit, our platform allows experts to connect with customers to provide tax advice and help small businesses with their books in a more accurate and efficient way, using AI. It helps work get done faster and helps customers make smarter financial decisions. As experts use the product, the product gets smarter, in turn making the experts more productive. This is the decade where, through this collaboration, AI will enhance human abilities and allow us to take our skills and work to a new level.
AI will eat the world in ways we can’t imagine today: AI is often talked about as though it is a Sci-Fi concept, but it is and will continue to be all around us. We can already see how software and devices have become smarter in the past few years and AI has already been incorporated into many apps. AI enriched technology will continue to change our lives, every day, in what and how we operate. Personally, I am busy thinking about how AI will transform finances – I think it will be ubiquitous. Just the same way that we can’t imagine the world before the internet or mobile devices, our day-to-day will soon become different and unimaginable without AI all around us, making our lives today seem so “obsolete” and full of “unneeded tasks.”
We will see a surge of AI-first apps: As AI becomes part of every app, how we design and write apps will fundamentally change. Instead of writing apps the way we have during this decade and add AI, apps will be designed from the ground up, around AI and will be written differently. Just think of CUI and how it creates a new navigation paradigm in your app. Soon, a user will be able to ask any question from any place in the app, moving it outside of a regular flow. New tools, languages, practices and methods will also continue to emerge over the next decade.
Jesse Mouallek, Head of Operations for North America at Deepomatic
We believe 2020 to be the year that industries that aren’t traditionally known to be adopters of sophisticated technologies like AI, reverse course. We expect industries like waste management, oil and gas, insurance, telecommunications and other SMBs to take on projects similar to the ones usually developed by the tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft and IBM. As the enterprise benefits of AI become more well-known, the industries outside of Silicon Valley will look to integrate these technologies.
If companies don’t adapt to the current trends in AI, they could see tough times in the future. Increased productivity, operational efficiency gains, market share and revenue are some of the top line benefits that companies could either capitalize or miss out on in 2020, dependent on their implementation. We expect to see a large uptick in technology adoption and implementation from companies big and small as real-world AI applications, particularly within computer vision, become more widely available.
We don’t see 2020 as another year of shiny new technology developments. We believe it will be more about the general availability of established technologies, and that’s ok. We’d argue that, at times, true progress can be gauged by how widespread the availability of innovative technologies is, rather than the technologies themselves. With this in mind, we see technologies like neural networks, computer vision and 5G becoming more accessible as hardware continues to get smaller and more powerful, allowing edge deployment and unlocking new use cases for companies within these areas.
Hannah Barnhardt, VP of Product Strategy Marketing at Deluxe Entertainment
2020 is the year AI/ML capabilities will be truly operationalized, rather than companies pontificating about its abilities and potential ROI. We’ll see companies in the media and entertainment space deploy AI/ML to more effectively drive investment and priorities within the content supply chain and harness cloud technologies to expedite and streamline traditional services required for going to market with new offerings, whether that be original content or Direct to Consumer streaming experiences.
Leveraging AI toolsets to automate garnering insights into deep catalogs of content will increase efficiency for clients and partners, and help uphold the high-quality content that viewers demand. A greater number of studios and content creators will invest and leverage AI/ML to conform and localize premium and niche content, therefore reaching more diverse audiences in their native languages.
Tristan Greene, reporter for The Next Web
I’m not an industry insider or a machine learning developer, but I covered more artificial intelligence stories this year than I can count. And I think 2019 showed us some disturbing trends that will continue in 2020. Amazon and Palantir are poised to sink their claws into the government surveillance business during what could potentially turn out to be President Donald Trump’s final year in office. This will have significant ramifications for the AI industry.
The prospect of an Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders taking office shakes the Facebooks and Microsofts of the world to their core, but companies who are already deeply invested in providing law enforcement agencies with AI systems that circumvent citizen privacy stand to lose even more. These AI companies could be inflated bubbles that pop in 2021, in the meantime they’ll look to entrench with law enforcement over the next 12 months in hopes of surviving a Democrat-lead government.
Look for marketing teams to get slicker as AI-washing stops being such a big deal and AI rinsing — disguising AI as something else — becomes more common (ie: Ring is just a doorbell that keeps your packages safe, not an AI-powered portal for police surveillance, wink-wink).
Here’s hoping your 2020 is fantastic. And, if we can venture a final prediction: stay tuned to TNW because we’re going to dive deeper into the world of artificial intelligence in 2020 than ever before. It’s going to be a great year for humans and machines.