AI: What Are Your Neural Networks up To?

According to a recent Gartner survey, 86% of business execs leveraged digital technologies to hire workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Today, we live in a whirlwind age, where entire economies are supported by space-age innovations. Between Industry 4.0 and Globalization 4.0, it can be a challenge to keep up with an ever-evolving line of disruptive technologies.

Yet, AI has so captured our imaginations that YouTube released an 8-part documentary about it in late 2019. Narrated by Robert Downey Jr., the documentary explored how AI has shaped our modern age.

Below, we explore the most exciting neural network technologies in the modern marketplace. To win in today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, deploying the right technologies is critical. Check out how industry leaders, researchers, and savvy social media giants are leveraging AI not only to disrupt their businesses — but to also implement complex and transformational changes in the consumer space.

AI Helps Us Understand What Makes Humans Happy, Sad, or Angry — at Scale

Exercise, self-care, community support, family, friendships, and a heaping plate of veggies — these are the essential elements of a happy and healthy lifestyle, right? But, what does AI say about all of these things?

Well, it says that they work. Recently, researchers from Canada’s University of Waterloo developed an AI computer model to analyze 700,000 anonymous journals on a mood-tracking app. These journals were written by 67,000 people. This AI was built to identify keywords and language structures that indicated “happiness” or “sadness” in individuals.

Here’s what it found:

  • A strong correlation between moods and other moods (“tired” correlated with “sad” or “stressed”)
  • A strong correlation between physical and mental states (healthy diets and regular exercise routines correlated with “happy” or “energetic” moods)
  • Predictive AI algorithms can be a game-changer in flagging and diagnosing mental health issues (especially when applied to social media platforms at scale).

We’ve seen AI-driven mood modeling in the past. Researchers have employed AI-based parsers to extract the cause of emotions in prose, used AI to analyze millions of written works to predict public sentiment, and even leveraged machine learning to predict mood based on how people walk. Obviously, predicting human moods and emotions based on behaviors and communications is a critical step. Eventually, AI may be capable of helping us understand the broad and granular aspects of happiness — and how our social and physical interactions with each other can influence our mood levels.

Global Leaders are Using AI In Hyper-Tangible Ways

It’s easy to get caught up in the “wow” factor of AI and neural networks. We picture LED-powered cities in futuristic landscapes where societal challenges are solved by intelligent, sophisticated, and value-driven AI programs. However, AI isn’t just a future technology from the land of science fiction. It’s a reality today. We live in a competitive landscape where AI is a tangible value lever to market dominance.

To help demystify the AI ecosystem, let’s look at how global brands are using AI and neural networks as innovative solutions to solve today’s challenges.

  • BP has invested heavily in AI-based IoT sensors to optimize equipment performance and increase the lifecycle of assets across its energy ecosystem. In 2019, BP provided $5 million in Series A financing to Belmont Technology to leverage its AI-based innovations to accelerate project lifecycles.
  • Gartner predicts that there will be 250 million connected vehicles on the road by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, car manufacturers like Volvo are taking it one step further. Instead of merely using connectivity for consumer-facing purposes, Volvo has equipped vehicles with IoT sensors with powerful machine learning and big data analytics capabilities to help predict maintenance needs. Essentially, Volvo is using AI to create more efficient vehicles.
  • Microsoft virtually lives and breathes robotics, AI, and deep learning. From Cortana to Skype chatbots and its AI-driven Office 365 solutions, Microsoft’s value proposition centers on using disruptive technologies to promote operational efficiency.
  • Facebook’s open-source PyTorch software helps its engineers analyze billions of profiles and sift through large, complex, and highly-unstructured data lakes to generate business value.

The list goes on and on. Here’s the takeaway: AI is a force to be reckoned with now — not tomorrow. And, companies like Microsoft and Facebook are deploying massive investments to bring tangible AI solutions to businesses across the globe.

We’re living in the SaaS delivery age, where businesses can access industry-related R&D without significant investment. In short, both mom-and-pop businesses and large corporations can gain immediate value from AI without breaking the bank. And, that’s what’s really changing the AI landscape.

Say Goodbye to Cortana and Hello to Cortana 2.0

As Microsoft Partners, we’re obviously Microsoft evangelists. But, it doesn’t take a die-hard Microsoft fan to get excited about Cortana’s future. The tech giant realized that Cortana was being outpaced by Alexa and Google Assistant on the consumer side of the market. So, it shifted its focus to using Cortana as a business tool under the Office 365 banner. With recent Microsoft 365 updates, you can now use Cortana as a personal productivity assistant to keep track of appointments, schedule tasks, and keep up with world events.

This is a huge move. Cortana is becoming a productivity-centric tool in Office 365, instead of a catch-all voice assistant. This means better-ingrained security functions, smarter Office 365 functions, and more productivity-driven future releases. Cortana may have started as a fun, consumer-facing virtual assistant named after a video game character. However, its new focus on delivering tangible business value is separating it from the rest of the pack.

A Smart World

In a “smart” world, AI-powered homes and cars are the norm. The “smart everything” trend has certainly changed how consumers live, work, and play. Today, we even have smart refrigerators, shoes, and tables. So, we’re getting close to maxing out on the number of household items we can transform in the consumer services industry.

However, the business sector is just getting started.

IoT (the tech behind the “smart” movement) is shaking up almost every industry. According to Gartner, 61% of organizations have adopted digital twins and integrated it with AI to achieve business growth. Meanwhile, 63% expect a good ROI for their investments within three years. Essentially, IoT has serious implications for virtually every business on the planet.

AI is Helping Us Live Better Lives — Whether We Like it or Not

According to the Wall Street Journal, 67% of tech workers believe that AI threatens their job security. Similarly, the majority of Americans fear that AI will have a negative impact on society and culture. But, there’s a strange disconnect between movies featuring villainous AI-powered Terminators working to enslave mankind and industries leveraging AI to solve business challenges. By all indications, AI is here to stay. So far, no apocalyptic robot uprising is in sight; just value-driven changes shaping and future-proofing the way we live.

We already know that AI has profoundly changed the way we live. In fact, we use our smartphones as virtual assistants, we talk to our cars, and most of us use AI (in some capacity) at our jobs. But, what about other practical considerations? During CES 2020, participants witnessed the power of AI to transform daily life. LG showed off its fully automated smart kitchen — complete with AI-powered chef robots making coffee. Meanwhile, Samsung presented a salad-making robot with 35 programmed recipes, and Bosch premiered a sun visor that can predictively block the sun from your eyes.

In short, AI is here to stay. And, chances are, it’s going to make all of our lives better. That message carries over to the business-side of AI, as well.

AI and the Future of Work

If we’ve learned one thing over the past few years, it’s this: AI will empower rather than displace workers. In fact, PwC predicts that AI will generate more jobs than it destroys over the coming years. Most tellingly, 84% of businesses believe that AI is helping them gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. We all like to think of AI as an emerging technology. However, most successful companies are already using it. So, if you fail to leverage automated digital workflows, predictive analytics, and cloud-based security solutions in daily operations, you’re at risk of getting outpaced in the market.

Here are some stats to highlight just how rapidly AI is overtaking business architectures:

  • 75% of development teams have AI functionality.
  • 30% of all companies use AI in some portion of their primary sales functions.
  • The AI market has surpassed $40 billion dollars.
  • 61% of business leaders are using AI intelligence to improve business decisions

At Nexinite, we’re committed to helping businesses explore the value of automation and machine learning. And, as a Microsoft Partner, we help businesses find the right automation solutions to facilitate digital transformation. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you navigate the world of AI, machine learning, and digital transformation, contact us today.

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