Take advantage of artificial intelligence: a necessary demystification

Take advantage of artificial intelligence: a necessary demystification

It is hard to miss artificial intelligence in 2017: it has been mentioned in all the last fairs about new technologies and even had its own successful exhibitions in London (2016 and 2017) and Paris (2017). AI is also the new marketing asset of big companies and start-ups, even if it is sometimes to wrap up an empty shell.

A myth about AI started to emerge in the 1950s with the growing influence of science-fiction literary and cinematographic works. James Cameron’s Terminator in 1984 is certainly the most famous ‘intelligent machine’ and the one that comes to people’s minds when talking about AI. But let’s dispel this image right now: a strong autonomous AI, which can effectuate many different tasks better than humans, does not exist today, and there is a consensus among experts from all over the world that we will have to wait decades before seeing one. 

Nowadays, these are ‘weak’ AI solutions – that can complete only one single task – which gives businesses less confidence because their abilities are not clearly understood. And, AI is being quickly developed at high rates across industries. Many believe that this can severely impact society and the economy. There are two schools of thoughts on this: optimists see AI solutions as easily manageable and useful day-to-day tools; pessimists ask for a strong regulation policy to avoid being overtaken by the AI omnipresence. The recent confrontation between the notable bosses of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Tesla/SpaceX’s, Elon Musk, illustrates this opposition. Indeed, Musk accused Zuckerberg of not understanding AI’s dangers and demanded precautionary legal measures. 

What about the market reality? Today, AI takes different shapes, none of which are truly revolutionary. It might be disappointing but there is a limited number of companies -- start-ups included - which offer products that include complete and mature AI solutions. Let’s be honest, only the high-tech giants such as IBM, Microsoft, the GAFA and other BATX have the technical and financial means to conduct research and offer solutions in all existing areas of AI. These companies are already a step ahead and, for the moment, other big companies and start-ups offer more or less innovative solutions which, most of the time, include only one kind of AI which can definitely be sufficient for a specific project. 

Finally, beware of ‘AI washing’. Indeed, like with any buzz-topic, many players are taking advantage of the trend to sell their solutions. In the last few months, artificial intelligence, once taboo, became sexy and plenty of software vendors and start-ups do not hesitate to stamp their basic conversational and analytics solutions with the AI label. Thus, it is important to closely examine what each vendor really offers, keeping in mind that even a weak AI solution, if it answers the needs, will definitely bring value. That is this kind of deciphering that our expert analysts explain in our study: Artificial Intelligence: Demystification and Market opportunities.