What to expect from 2017?

What to expect from 2017?

I personally expect the war in the Middle East to end in 2017, I really do wish that it will be a year of peace and prosperity, but of course politics is not the subject of this column and what the title refers to is the latest Gartner Report on future technologies.

So unless there will be a peace-building machine or Artificial Intelligence (AI) to replace human leaders to foster peace, I won’t be writing about the chaotic situation in and around Turkey. And unfortunately, there is not a peace-making bot in the Gartner Report. Though there are lots of mentions of AI. 

Three themes – intelligent, digital, and mesh – form the basis for the Top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017, announced by David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016 in Orlando, Florida. 

The first three trends are as follows: 

Trend No. 1: AI & Advanced Machine Learning

Applied AI and machine learning (ML), which include technologies such as deep learning, neural networks and natural-language processing, could also encompass more advanced systems that understand, learn, predict, adapt and potentially operate autonomously. Systems can learn and change future behavior, leading to the invention of more intelligent devices and programs.

Examples include eye-gazing technologies in retail stores and sensory data from smartphones that create propensity-to-buy models. Organizations seeking to drive digital innovation with this trend should evaluate a number of business scenarios in which AI and machine learning could drive clear and specific business value and consider experimenting with one or two high-impact scenarios.

Trend No. 2: Intelligent Apps

Intelligent apps, which include technologies like virtual personal assistants (VPAs), have the potential to transform the workplace by making everyday tasks easier (prioritizing emails) and its users more effective (highlighting important content and interactions). Using AI technology, app and service providers will focus on three areas – advanced analytics, AI-powered and increasingly autonomous business processes and AI-powered conversational interfaces. By 2018, Gartner expects most of the world’s largest 200 companies to exploit intelligent apps and utilize the full toolkit of big data and analytics tools to refine their offers and improve customer experience.

Trend No. 3: Intelligent Things

New intelligent things generally fall into three categories: robots, drones and autonomous vehicles. Like intelligent apps, intelligent things cannot exist without AI or ML. As intelligent things evolve and become more popular, they will shift from a stand-alone to a collaborative intelligent things model. However, non-technical issues such as liability and privacy, along with the complexity of creating highly specialized assistants, will slow down embedded intelligence in industrial IoT and other business scenarios.

So it is very clear that artificial intelligence is going to have a massive role to play in our day-to-day activities. Our businesses, houses, cities and governments will be using more AI than ever in the forthcoming years. Will that bring us productivity? Will that bring us wealth and prosperity? Will that bring us more years to live? And if it does, what will us as humans do with our extra productivity and more years in the world? Are we going to spend it fighting each other better or are we going to spend it to build more sustainable societies? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves as ordinary citizens or they will be answered for us by whoever is in power.