Robots, Artificial Intelligence and the Next 40 Months
In a world that operates on billions of digits every day, humans are too slow and inattentive. To adapt, we must automate the processing of millions of complex transactions on a daily basis, at speeds fast enough to satisfy impatient digital users. This adaptation requires a massive level of digital transformation that can support operations, business processes and decision-making speeds faster than is humanly possible.
Historically, digital technologies get faster, cheaper, more powerful and smaller every couple of years. We humans, however, don’t. We operate in human time, a biological cadence influenced by the physical environment, our well-documented physical, mental and emotional limitations, and the universe that we live in. As digital interactions proliferate, so also does the volume of real-time data and required analysis. Most people are already at their limit of coping with the deluge of data, so we must now digitally augment our capabilities to handle the massive increases in the volume, speed and the complexity of it. These augmentations will involve OILS (optimized information logistics systems), supported by artificial intelligence (AI) and software for process automation.
Software robots (or “bots”) can be developed to analyze vast quantities of data without getting bored, make decisions based on codified decision trees that humans design, and then act in milliseconds. In our research, 18% of digital leaders report intelligent process automation via bots is already having a large to very large impact on their businesses, however, it jumps to 41% by 2020. This represents a dramatic increase of 128% in just 40 months.
We – humans – already at our limit, must find a way to digitally augment our capabilities to handle the massive increases in the volume, speed and the complexity of data with bots.
Slow service annoys us. We are immediately frustrated with people and brands incapable of supporting our digital habits and expectations. To achieve a real-time operational tempo, companies must evolve from “human time” to “digital time.” When enterprises can support digital time, they can close process loops faster, harness immediate feedback on what’s happening within the process itself, and act on those insights nearly instantaneously. The result: smarter decisions that enable businesses to operate like never before.
One of the biggest challenges enterprises face today in designing, developing and deploying OILS is upgrading core IT systems that frequently comprise of legacy systems incapable of supporting digital time. Though this is hard work, it is the key to winning.
Our research clearly shows widespread consensus that AI is one of the most important emerging technologies that will help overcome many of these technology and human limitations. Our survey respondents predict AI will be the top digital technology, with the largest impact on their work, by 2020. Currently, only 15% of the respondents think AI is having a large impact on their business. In the next 40 months, however, 46% believe AI will be critical – that’s a 207% increase in pro-AI sentiment.
Digital interactions are often supported by AI systems dependent on real-time analytics to provide contextually relevant and personalized experiences. In addition, as the number of mobile and connected devices with billions of connected sensors increases, so also does the associated data in the ether that needs to be analyzed and turned into actionable intelligence that can be used by AI systems to deliver real-time business value. No wonder, then, that executives in our research forecast big data/business analytics will have the biggest impact of all technologies between the years 2020-2025.
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