IoT
IoT
Data Management // Big Data Analytics
News
1/19/2016
08:06 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Stop Cyber Attacks with Threat Intelligence
Aug 30, 2016
In this informative webinar on August 30th you will hear security experts discuss practical ways t ...Read More>>

AI, Machine Learning Rising In The Enterprise

AI and machine learning are graduating from science fiction to reality. It's estimated that about half of large enterprises are currently experimenting with AI projects. Several vendors, including Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft, have donated machine learning development projects to open source.

Apple, Microsoft, IBM: 7 Big Analytics Buys You Need to Know
Apple, Microsoft, IBM: 7 Big Analytics Buys You Need to Know
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Elon Musk invested millions in an effort to make sure that artificial intelligence is used for good instead of evil, but for much of the general public AI still seems like science fiction -- something far out in the distant future. However, if you talk to people who work closely with this kind of technology, which has been called deep neural networks, deep learning, smart machines, or machine intelligence, you'll find out that it has advanced significantly in the past few years, and even bigger progress is coming very soon.

There are several signposts that indicate this progress, including big enterprises running their own experiments with AI systems, as well as a sudden wave of tech giants taking certain technologies open source.

"The vast preponderance [of projects in enterprises] is still experimentation," Gartner Fellow and vice president Tom Austin told InformationWeek in an interview. He estimates that about half of large enterprises are experimenting with "smart computing" projects. Organizations are examining problems and deciding whether AI can be applied to the solutions. These efforts are still in the early stages.

(Image: pixone/iStockphoto)

(Image: pixone/iStockphoto)

For instance, maybe an organization would transcribe call center agents' interactions with customers and then compare those transcripts to the agent-generated reports of those interactions to identify differences.

Austin didn't discuss how organizations would use that kind of information, but it's not difficult to see how it could be applied to rate the performance of call center agents and enhance training programs for them, a process that would subsequently improve the call center experience for customers.

"There are many large organizations who are actively looking at that kind of opportunity," Austin said. Lacking the in-house skills, he said, these organizations are going outside their own firms and turning to expertise in academia at AI and machine learning startups and at organizations such as Kaggle. "Enterprises are seeing [this access to talent] as a supply chain problem."

[Intel has assembled an open source big data platform for analytics. Read Intel's TAP Big Data Platform Gains Healthcare, Cloud Partners.]

The arrival of smart machines or AI in the enterprise is not the only signpost showing the progress of these efforts. Another big indication is that several tech industry giants are contributing their machine learning development efforts to open source projects.

Tech Companies Donate Machine Learning to Open Source

Last fall, IBM announced that its machine learning engine SystemML for Apache Spark won acceptance into the Apache Incubator program.

Google released its TensorFlow machine learning system to open source, offering it as a standalone library and associated tools, tutorials, and examples under the Apache 2.0 license.

Microsoft announced the release of its Distributed Machine Learning Toolkit to the developer community, available on GitHub.

Intel made its open source-built Trusted Analytics Platform, more commonly known as TAP, available last summer, and showcased users of the system at the Strata + Hadoop event in New York last fall.

Facebook AI Research (FAIR), which had already released to open source its deep-learning modules for the open source development environment Torch in Jan. 2015, last month announced another move. This time Facebook said it would release its server hardware design that's been optimized for machine learning to open source. Facebook has submitted the GPU-based system design materials to the Open Compute Project.

The company said that the system is designed for greater energy and heat efficiency, as well as ease of maintenance. Digital tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon that have large data center operations have long designed their own hardware rather than use the designs from others, such as HP Enterprise and Dell.

So, why the big wave of open source releases for machine learning-related development by these big companies?

Technology vendors are looking to spread their developments to a wider audience through these releases. That's according to Gartner Research Director Alexander Linden, who wrote about these developments in a blog post recently.

Gartner's Austin also pointed out that these companies are not giving away the most recent versions of their software. But even if they are releasing the older versions of it, they are spreading the influence and creating momentum. Consider Elon Musk's release all of Tesla's patents to all automakers in an effort to drive the advancement of electric vehicle technology, Austin said.

These releases to open source have been centered on machine learning. Machine learning and AI are two different things.

Machine Learning Does Not Equal AI

Experts say that the definition of AI has evolved over the years since it was introduced. It used to refer to efforts to make machines emulate the way the human brain works, and that is still a field of research today. Yet even today we are not even close to emulating the brains of less sophisticated organisms.

So, today AI means something different.

Next Page: Evolving AI and Machine Learning

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, ... View Full Bio

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
YingF540
50%
50%
YingF540,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/14/2016 | 6:18:55 PM
Potential is there with Machine learning...
I agree with the sentiment of the article - the sign post are there and they are getting clearer by the day. Prime example is the recent AlphaGo at beating the human (world-class level at game of Go).  There is some very robust and openly available machine learning algorithms available now.  What's left is the industry domain specific company that's willing to take on the hard work of convincing the 'humans' to trust the results provided
Michelle
50%
50%
Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
2/20/2016 | 12:04:00 PM
Re: AI on the rise
I'm looking forward to some useful real world applications in the future. It seems like it will be a while before we start to see such uses. There are plenty of sample use cases, for sure.
SaneIT
50%
50%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
2/1/2016 | 8:19:43 AM
Re: AI on the rise
I think Stark Enterprises may try if first but I do wonder if one of the Alphabet companies will give it a try if for no other reason than to prove that they can and to then sell the framework to other companies.  I keep hearing about Watson being used for medical diagnosis, legal research and a host of other things that requires a fair amount of decision making, if it can replace a board of directors why not use it?
Michelle
50%
50%
Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
1/31/2016 | 10:40:47 PM
Re: AI on the rise
I would like to see the outcome of an experiement like this. It seems like it might be a very expensive experiement. Do you think Wayne Enterprises would be interested? :)
SaneIT
50%
50%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
1/20/2016 | 8:28:13 AM
AI on the rise
I'm waiting to hear that there is a company out there being run by AI, humans feeding it data and the AI assigning people to work groups to tackle problems or perform specific tasks, a machine CEO or board of directors. Having it tied to various systems including financial, CRM, inventory, etc would it be able to steer the efforts of a company?  How would it lead? Would it drive growth or would it maintain a level of business that it knows it can sustain with its current human team?  It would be an interesting experiment. 
6 Tools to Protect Big Data
6 Tools to Protect Big Data
Most IT teams have their conventional databases covered in terms of security and business continuity. But as we enter the era of big data, Hadoop, and NoSQL, protection schemes need to evolve. In fact, big data could drive the next big security strategy shift.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of August 14, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.