Global, Insight, Technology

Ten AI predictions for 2020

Emma Hitzke, Senior Product Marketing Director, Emerging Tech, Oracle, reflects on what to expect with AI in 2020 with these ten predictions.

Prediction #1: Pervasive AI: Intelligence inside everything and everywhere.

As companies take incremental steps to adopt AI and machine learning, the expectation is that AI will eventually be used in all parts of the business. Guruprasad Gaonkar, Oracle JAPAC SaaS leader for ERP and digital supply chain, says for companies to be future-ready it’s about being technology-led as technology-enabled is not good enough: “The ignorant of the next decade will not be those who cannot follow AI trends, but those who cannot embed AI and emerging innovations in everything across business.”

Emma Hitzke, Oracle, shares AI predictions
Emma Hitzke, Senior Product Marketing Director, Emerging Tech, Oracle

Prediction #2: Consumer AI will raise the bar in the office.

Consumers have seen how AI can improve apps like Netflix and Waze, so they’re developing similar expectations for the apps they use at work. A belief shared by my colleague Paolo Prandini, business solution lead in Europe: “AI will become a colleague, the intelligent classmate we all knew at school, to help us in everyday office life. A friendly AI will automate repetitive tasks, add value to our data input, deliver smart insights and suggestions, and continuously improve as we engage with it.” AI-embedded apps, intelligent UX, and advanced digital assistants may just help you survive another day in the office!

Prediction #3: More companies will start with small AI projects rather than large ones.

Companies don’t need to be sold anymore on why AI is important. Now, they’re looking at specific ways AI can help meet their business goals. But they have a bigger chance of success with AI by taking smaller steps with it. “Rather than starting with large ‘moon shot’ projects that are hard to bring to fruition, businesses that set short-term, achievable goals will see more success with AI,” says Clive Swan, Oracle senior vice president of applications development.

Prediction #4: Companies will gravitate towards “ready-to-use” AI-embedded apps vs. “build-your-own” apps.

“Building any app can be a difficult, frustrating process, and most companies aren’t in the business of developing AI apps because that’s not their first expertise or simply don’t have the data science muscle in-house.”, shared Juergen Lindner, Oracle SVP for finance and operations SaaS. Our upcoming study with ESG confirmed that companies are about twice more likely to deploy prebuilt AI applications than develop their own solutions. To deliver on these expectations, vendors must be prepared to take on the AI development on their customers’ behalf to provide apps ready to use from the get-go and deliver instant business value.

Prediction #5: AI will become even more connected to native processes and apps.

Companies are eager to have AI capabilities natively connected to the processes they already have, so they can work, operate, and engage smarter. This means that AI can do more than recommend the next best actions; it can also trigger the best actions regardless of device, vendor, product, or service. In the future, truly connected AI may give way to connecting to an individual’s biometrics. Tanu Sood, Oracle product marketing director, illustrates this idea. “It could eventually end the need for separate security documents, and even give individuals contextual information when they’re at the mall or in the airport.”

Prediction #6: Data enrichment will be more valuable than ever.

AI doesn’t need a lot of data to work; AI needs a lot of the right data to work. Companies are increasingly looking for simpler ways to have their data records cleansed and enriched before their AI models ingest the data. Luckily, a lot of these capabilities already exist with Oracle’s DataFox data engine, which makes it easier for companies to get the enriched data AI needs to work well. “Having enriched data can lead to more intelligent, precise outcomes, as well as help you find a faster path to revenue. DataFox makes data enrichment easy for companies wanting to use AI,” said Melissa Boxer, vice president product strategy at Oracle.

Prediction #7: AI will improve productivity and efficiency through infinite scale.

Infinite scale uses automation and data flow to eliminate human intervention as much as possible. In addition to helping companies keep down headcount and costs, achieving infinite scale can give them more confidence that their data is accurate and make processes more efficient. Corey West, Oracle EVP, corporate controller and chief accounting officer, has challenged his team to automate every transaction possible. “At Oracle, we’re looking at every place where there is human intervention, and we’re thinking about what techniques might be available—whether it’s artificial intelligence, machine learning, or other techniques—to automate it,” he says.

Prediction #8: Simple chatbots will become passé in day-to-day business as digital assistants get better.

Chatbots are good at answering simple questions when people interact with them. But the focus will turn to digital assistants as AI helps these bots become better equipped to understand the intention and context behind requests. AI will also help digital assistants proactively address questions and concerns instead of reactively, as well as take things a step further to make predictions and offer recommendations for next steps. Oracle Digital Assistant is helping companies take advantage of these capabilities by offering prebuilt digital assistant skills for Oracle SaaS across the enterprise. When is the last time you talked to your finance system?

Prediction #9: Consumer concerns about AI and data privacy won’t go away. In fact, they are coming to the business world.

In the past few years, we’ve seen consumers become more concerned about data privacy and protection. These concerns are now permeating the workplace, which will affect how AI uses personal data at work. In our 2019 AI at Work study, 80% of respondents said their company should ask for permission before gathering data on them while using AI technology. This means companies will need to navigate how data privacy and AI will work together in the workplace.

Prediction #10: Ethics in AI will continue to be a hot-button issue.

AI could bring a lot of good into the world — but it could also be used for less-than-ethical practices. Governments are investigating how they could potentially police AI as it’s used to create “deep fake” content. We’ve also seen stories come out about how AI is uncovering serious diversity bias issues related to who’s programming AI technology. Companies can skip the step of assessing their own usage of AI and commit to vendors delivering whitebox AI.

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