Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Trends in 2018

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Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence TrendsArtificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning(ML) are jointly contributing to the gradual build-up of the “Intelligent Digital Mesh” so candidly described in Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have been forecasted to be the game-changers of the coming decade. Most of the tech trends discussed really fall under the umbrella field of Data Science, as they directly or indirectly affect Data Management. However, some specific innovations like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), or Digital Twins also indicate hardware enhancements and overlapping of the physical and digital worlds.

In a blog post tiled Forrester’s Top Emerging Technologies To Watch: 2017-2021, Forrester made strong assertions about an impending disruptive technology world, where suddenly an avalanche of ground-breaking digital technologies such as mobile, social, Big Data, Cloud, IoT, Ai, and ML will all emerge and converge to turn the global businesses upside down.

In another Forrester’s post tiled The Top Technology Trends To Watch: 2016 To 2018, the author claims that Big Data and IoT have suddenly catapulted the need for Intelligent Analytics systems powered by robotic assistants and self-teaching algorithms. What this trend indicates is that the future business owners, leaders, and managers will have more time to invest on critical business issues as day-to-day Data Management tasks will be taken over by intelligent machines. The additional layer of ML-driven AI capabilities has taken the afore-mentioned technologies to the ultimate era of technological freedom, where man and machine co-habitate happily.

The transformative outcomes of such a “connected business world” are participative customer relationships, data-powered decision making, implementation of innovative risk and security strategies, and superfast technology maturity driven by global customer obsession with everything tech. The businesses, big or small should take advantage of this era of digital disruptions and empower their workforces and customers alike.

In the next five years, say by 2021, the fully automated, intelligent Data Management systems may actually end up chopping about 6 percent of US-based Data Science jobs. In 2021, we may even see a virtually connected, business ecosystem once again transforming the customer engagement platforms and methods.

What Major Industry Watchers Think About Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

According to the column Gartner, IDC, and Forrester on the Future of Digital Transformation:

“By 2018, 35% of IT resources will be spent to support the creation of new digital revenue streams and by 2020 almost 50% of IT budgets will be tied to digital transformation initiatives. Enterprises pursuing digital transformation initiatives will more than double the size of their software development teams by 2018, focusing new hires almost entirely on digital initiatives.”

The CXO Today article  7 AI Technologies To Power The Enterprise indicates that Ericsson has candidly claimed in its 6th Annual Trend Report that about 35 percent of advanced internet users prefer an AI advisor and about 25 percent hope to see an AI Manager next year.

In Top Technology and IT Predictions for 2017 and Beyond, the IT industry leader HCL proclaims that industry watchdogs like IDC, Gartner, or Forrester have all claimed that the 2017 will usher in an era of “accelerated digital disruption” making 2018 more technologically significant than ever. The top technologies that will make this era happen are AI, ML, and IoT. In the newly connected business world, intelligent systems may increasingly collaborate, engage, and solve business problems over disconnected geographies. This is where the virtually connected world will triumph over physical boundaries.

Some of the common forecasts made by the above industry watchers for 2018 and the coming years are:

  1. The IT trend of newer digital services with additional revenue streams has started and will gain momentum in 2018 before reaching 40 percent in 2019.
  2. The tech trend of “connected” and intelligent systems has started and will gain momentum in 2018 before we see 40 percent of digital transformation and upwards of 70-80 percent of AI-powered, IoT initiatives in 2019.
  3. By 2022, IoT will save businesses and customers an astronomical sum of $1 trillion a year in maintenance and services. Some of that will start happening in 2018.
  4. In 2018, more analytics vendors will offer IoT-driven capabilities which may lead global businesses to invest more in AI-powered, connected technologies. According to Forrester, automated IoT has already been adopted in transportation industry fleet management, government security and surveillance systems, retail inventory management, and manufacturing assets management.

KDNuggets uses the post Machine Learning Trends and the Future of Artificial Intelligence, to reassures the reader that technologies like data flywheels, algorithm economy, and hosted analytics all point to one thing – the global IT industry will see an upsurge of ML-powered AI systems in all types of businesses.

Significant Machine Learning  and Artificial Trends in 2018

The Marketing Insider Group has published the list of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning trends to watch in 2018 in the article titled Machine Learning And AI Marketing Trends To Watch For 2018. This article claims that the intelligent technologies have raised the bar on Customer Relationship Management.

In 2018, the trend will be to become digital rather than doing digital. ML-powered AI systems will help the modern tech-savvy marketers become digital at breakneck speed. Here are the key benefits of AI-driven marketing:

  1. A shift from traditional content marketing to machine-guided intelligent marketing
  2. More research-oriented marketing campaigns targeting micro markets
  3. More customer-centric communication
  4. More emphasis on intelligent tracking of marketing outcomes.

While the global marketing industry struggles to keep pace with the newer intelligent technologies, the tech trends of today and tomorrow are giving ample reasons to businesses to invest in the mind-blowing digital disruptions like AI and ML.

The Intelligent Digital Mesh

This Gartner newsflash introduced their 2018 Data Technology trends, at least half of which are tied to the concept of an Intelligent Digital Mesh. This concept, according to a David Cearley, is the foundation for the future business ecosystems. The first few tech trends mentioned in this list have the combined power of transforming virtually all technology devices into intelligent, thinking machines.

The next few trends in the above list, which indicate an overlap of the physical and digital worlds in near future, end up in the last three trends explicitly covering the “existence of people, machines, and business processes in a unified system.” The implication of Gartner’s 2018 technology forecasts seems to be that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will jointly usher in a digital-physical world of highly intelligent devices and systems that have the power to replace many traditional human tasks.

“In this world, we can hope to see machines working as participative assistants with human experts. The AI initiatives of 2018 will eventually reinvent business models and ecosystems throughout the globe. Al software application vendors will hopefully learn to cash in on this era of “connected devices” and deliver more capable and more refined applications for all types of business processes.

The Digital Twins and Blockchain also have the power to transform when conversational platforms and trust-based transactions of the future businesses. With all these technologies, we see a steady decline in centralized hardware platforms and a rise of platform-independent, modular software.

Top Technology Priorities of 2018

The article Here’s a look at the top 2018 strategic IT budget priorities: AI, IoT, conversational systems, security everywhere, discusses how common market sentiments are expressed by many major market watchers. This article reconfirms that 2018 will experience a digitally disruptive world of Blockchain, Digital Twins, and conversational platform lead by the transformative capabilities of an Intelligent Digital Mesh. Yes, AI and ML are here to rule the year’s business-technology initiatives, and businesses that are already making plans for big investments in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will emerge as winners.

Here is a roundup of the Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence trends of 2018 as forecasted by many experts:

  • AI in Everything Digital: The technology vendors vying for space in the advanced apps and analytics market will accelerate their efforts in delivering AI-enabled applications and systems. In other words, AI will penetrate all business models.
  • Intelligent Solutions for Data Management: As more and more business apps and BI systems develop enhanced AI capabilities; the popularity of AI-powered business solutions will grow. The market for automated ML and packaged apps will continue to grow through 2018. According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, “AI-powered bots will become the next interface, shaping our interactions with the applications and devices.”
  • Automation of Connected Devices: Autonomous systems in farming and mining will continue to grow with partially or fully robotic layers will end up connecting people, machines, and businesses.
  • Conversational Platforms: The ability of user interfaces to engage with users will gain popularity in every kind of business application. According to an HRB Report, conversational platforms can help enhance the understanding of job functions.
  • Event-driven Business Ecosystems: Enterprises will gradually adopt event-driven business models, where Cloud, IoT, and mobile will be use AI technologies as tech enablers.

AI and ML have been consistent buzzwords in the global IT industry for a number of years, but in 2018, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence trends show that both will become even bigger market differentiators as we move through 2018 and beyond.


Photo Credit: Sergey Nivens/

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