AI / ML – Past, Present & Future – Part 5a
 

Just a recap, we learnt in my last update, the different ways to harness the new age machine through Automation and Instrumentation and their related processes and analysis. In this excerpt we are going dwell upon the different ways to harness the new age machine to enhance human experience.

Let us recognize that all these scenarios in one way or the other are enhancing the human experience. Today driving places is so easy when compared to following directions from a print out. With smart GPS systems, whether as an app on our smart phones or embedded as an instrument in our vehicle’s dashboard, it’s far more difficult to get lost nowadays. The GPS systems we now take for granted provide a preview of coming attractions on how the new machines are enhancing more and more of our work and personal lives.

Below are some scenarios which illustrate how the current intelligent systems are enhancing human experience in each of the areas below. Obviously this is an infinite list

It’s therefore easier to judge this when it comes to personal choices that a vast majority of us will prefer to work with an enhanced human, the one who is equipped with all details from an intelligent system on their side. For these reasons, we see the forces of enhancement as positive and the concerns over automation-driven job substitution as ill-considered. As we outlined earlier, the vast majority of white-collar work won’t be replace by these new machines but will be made better with them. I believe that more than 80% of teaching jobs, nursing jobs, legal jobs, and coding jobs will be mode more productive, more beneficial, and more satisfying by computers – in other words, enhanced

The story of human evolution is, of course, in many ways the story of our tools, from the sharpened stones to the intelligent machine used by deep-learning pioneers today. This is the progression we are witnessing as we move into the digital age. Isn’t it?

One important but often overlooked aspect of enhancing work is to recognize the relationship that exists between enhancing a job/role/process and automating it. In many ways, automation and enhancement exist in a symbiotic, to –sides-of-the-same-coin way. To effectively enhance, one needs to automate. So the winners will be those who continue to believe in the progress created by technology, those who enhance, and those who understand the power of tools and who adapt to using them effectively.

All of us including senior management, need to enhance our current skills when it comes to engaging with others, leading, reasoning and interpreting, applying judgement, being creative and applying the human touch. These behaviors and activities are still far outside the purview of current and near-future technologies and will remain so for years to come, even as the new machines become more capable. By 2020, senior executives project that employees will need to improve their performance in below areas.

Major companies today are proving that even in a world of enhancement solutions, where people and machines work together in new ways, there’s still value in being human. Our work ahead will require us to double-down on the activities where humans have and will continue to have an advantage over silicon.

We are in an incredible time, when technology is significantly extending the envelope of human capability. Intelligent systems now allow us to do things at a level of productivity and profitability that even a few years ago would have seemed far-fetched and implausible. All of these possibilities and many more are being created by the injection of intelligence in to our tools. We have the potential to become smarter because our tools are becoming smarter. It’s these tools that are really at the heart of the progress we have made so far and the progress we will make ahead. Enhancement will be the force that causes the bar to rise for every one of us, in every organization and in every country in the world. If you can enhance the value you generate, you are doing the right things as machines being to do everything. Enhancement also introduces new avenues of opportunity that we need to explore to keep ahead.

Stay tuned…. Part Vb of this foray, we will continue to dwell upon the different ways to harness the new age machine in enhancing Market competitiveness and by and large the innovation quotient that we need to invest upon.

AI / ML – Past, Present & Future – Part 4
 

Just a recap, we learnt in my last update, the different aspects of what constitutes a business model that an organization should follow and how that impacts your overall foray into AI/ML implementation. In this excerpt we are going dwell upon the different ways to harness the new age machine through Automation and Instrumentation

As I have pointed out repeatedly in the previous parts of this blog series on AI/ML, industry is riding on the cusp of a huge new wave of automated work that is going to fundamentally change what millions and millions of people all around the world do, Monday through Friday, 8 hour work day. The attempt at automation of existing parts of your business with the new machine provides an opportunity to change the cost structure of your firm, while at the same time increasing the velocity and quality of your operations. We need to understand what automation actually is, which part of your business are best suited to be automated, which jobs will be most impacted, the benefits you can expect and the problems to avoid.

Automation is the first step in the journey that exhibits the tendency for industrial change to continuously destroy old economic structures and replace them with new ones. This will result in both revenue increase for the industry but more importantly a cost savings overall. Some study on the internet shows the below numbers to back up the generic idea in the different industries where Automation is more prevalent in.

This trend of applying automation technology to lower cost and improve productivity is playing out in nearly every industry. Like it or not, your competitor across the street will soon gain the massive benefit of digital automation of core processes. If you don’t keep pace, your cost structure will soon be unsustainable. Additionally, the saving generated through automation are what will then pay for the coming digital innovations. Fortunately most of us have a running start. We have been consuming automation for a long time, and much as with AI, once used it’s not even noticed. Let us consider some examples for such automations that we come across and still they go unnoticed while we are travelling out of station

  • Automated toll collections through EZ Passes on the highway while we pass through the toll booth without stopping
  • Parking pass generation while you arrive at the airport parking
  • Receipt of the boarding pass and you check-in baggage at one of airport kiosks
  • Getting cash from ATM while walking down to your departure gate

From your house to the airport gate, your trip was at least a half hour faster than in pre-automation days if not lesser. In any organization therefore, such automation are targeted best in the core operations areas, not visible to your customers. What if you could run these functions or processes at half the cost and with double the throughput? With continuous improvements and quality control and with all these aspects – every transaction – full instrumented and recorded? With the new machine you can.

Finding your Process/Automation Targets for immediate automation is the low hanging fruit you should embark upon.

  1. Highly repetitive tasks
  2. Tasks with low level of human judgement
  3. Tasks requiring low level of empathy
  4. Tasks generating and handling high volumes of data

Identification of your automation target will give your teams a clear path to success, but there still remain a significant hurdle in managing change with your organization. You will need to adapt the path depending on the complexity of what you are doing; what follows is a high level walk through, but the seven steps put together below for automating any process or task are basically the same.

I therefore have shown you above that automation is our new loom, our new steam engine. The cost savings generated from these next levels of automation will provide the cash needed to fuel investments in the new markets and new ideas. The data degenerated by automation is at the heart of creating new products, better customer relationships, and more transparency. Leaders who create the ongoing momentum from using automation – every quarter looking for new automation opportunities using the criteria and guidelines I have presented – will ensure they have the fuel needed to win. Also please do realize and remember that automation is not an end in its own right, it is simply a means to an end.

We are slowly moving into the instrumentation zone, where once an automation is instrumented and tracked, an invisible framework of code emerges around the object and this often provides more insight and value than the actual physical item itself. For instance the Amazon and Netflixs know your tastes in literature and movies better than your family and friends do without even coming in touch with you as a consumer. The race is to win through instrumentation, and established companies are changing the rules of competition across many industries.

There are now three key rules of competition when it comes to Instrumentation

Why instrument everything and build solutions around information? Because doing so sets you on the path to being a “Know-It-All” business. With sensors and instrumentation, it’s now possible to collect and analyze information about everything. To know everything about everything

While instrumentation and collection of data from each and every portion of physical thing on your enterprise does pose the vast opportunity to review, analyze and take business decisions, it also exposes the analyzed and sensitive data to hackers. This is where organizations have to be careful so as to keep their internal, important, competition eluding data secured and not misused in the wrong fashion. Some of key hacking horror stories are below and would give you a fair bit of idea why we need to be careful.

Competing with instrumentation is now becoming the default model for our modern economy. Instrumenting everything, accessing data scientists and other big data/analytics talent, and avoiding the dark side of the instrumentation are all tactics you must adopt to get started. Fortunes will be won and lost depending on your organizations ability to leverage the upsides of the instrumentation and mitigate its downsides.

Stay tuned…. Part V of this foray, we will continue to dwell upon the different ways to harness the new age machine through the enhancement to human experience, Market competitiveness and by and large the innovation quotient that we need to invest upon.

AI / ML – Past, Present & Future – Part 3b
 

Just a recap, we learnt in my last update, the making of Data that makes an AI system successful. In this excerpt we are going dwell upon the design and delivery of Digital business models and solutions thereof.

The ‘first wave’ of data creation, which began in the 1980s and involved the creation of documents and transactional data, was catalyzed by the proliferation of internet-connected desktop PCs. To this, a ‘second wave’ of data has followed — an explosion of unstructured media (emails, photos, music and videos), web data and meta-data resulting from ubiquitous, connected smartphones. Today we are entering the ‘third age’ of data, in which machine sensors deployed in industry and in the home create additional monitoring-, analytical- and meta-data.

Given that much data created today is transmitted via the internet for use, ballooning internet traffic serves as a proxy for the enormous increase in humanity’s data production. While as a species we transferred 100GB of data per day in 1992, by 2020 we will be transferring 61,000GB per second. Beyond increases in the availability of general data, specialist data resources have catalyzed progress in machine learning. ImageNet, for example, is a freely available database of over 10 million hand-labelled images. Its presence has supported the rapid development of object classification deep learning algorithms.

In summary, harnessing the power of the new machine alone is not enough. The final piece of the puzzle, and the ultimate determinant of your success, is surrounding it with the right business model.

The traditional retail behaviors of buying from the physical outlet have changed drastically as today, the amazons/flipkarts have changed the retail business models with speed and price (cheaper of course). Hence most of the industrial models are currently too slow, too expensive, and too cumbersome. They crumble under their own weight in the face of digital competition. In most well established organizations these business models and supporting processes make sure that the knowledge work could be harvested, refined and distributed to the right people at the right time and in the right format.

Of course such a buffet scenario sounds absurd. Yet you will soon look back on several aspects of your business with the same disbelief that Buffet views the old newspaper business. With the growing common appearance of the new machine, however, as I have outlined earlier stability is no longer a viable strategy. Competitors, new and old, will not only be able to change the rules of the game from the outside by delivery vastly improved customer experiences through digital with mobile apps. Instrumented products, and advanced analytics for one-to-one customer management. They will also being changing the basis of competition from the inside, using the new machine to rewire core internal processes. Doing so will fundamentally change their cost base, as well as the speed of their operations and their ability to derive insight on all aspects of the business. Truly better, faster, cheaper. Very simply, in the face of the new machine, manually based knowledge processes do not stand a chance. So the question still remains will the winning business model be just digital only. I guess it will be mixture of part physical and part digital. For instance: even if the tomorrow’s airplane carries the much of the passenger experience and flight operations through digital, it still would be a 280 ton, 300 seater physically. So essentially in an organization the decision will be based on which processes will physically remain intact and which processes will go digital and completely unrecognizable and obviously what becomes a mix of physical and digital – and to what degree.

Let us now look at building the winning Mix model of business and there you will come across two big insights in building one.

  1. Four misadventures to avoid
    • Confusion over best way to becoming digital
    • Following the digital leaders in our implementation
    • Going big bang in the digital journey
    • Obstructing a Digital change
  2. 5 ways to Harness the new machine
    • Build Automation
    • Instrumentation
    • Enhance human potential by Machine support
    • Cost effectiveness to compete in market
    • Investment for Innovation

Hence we have to radically rethink and fundamentally affect yet help us return to our humanity. These are the nit bits of all emerging Managements who are doing the hard work to rewire their companies for the fourth industrial revolution, to define and implement the new business models.

Stay tuned…. Part IV of this foray, we will dwell upon the construct of the business model with a focus on the 5 ways to harness the new machine.

AI / ML – Past, Present Future – Part 3a
 

Just a recap, we learnt in my last update the components, success criteria and impact of the new age machines that are learning and thus by utilizing AI/ML mould the world we are going to experience. In this excerpt we are going to quickly look through the making of Data that makes an AI system successful and then dwell upon the design and delivery of Digital business models and solutions thereof in part b of this third post.

As we learnt earlier, each industrial revolution has been catalyzed by a new raw material: Coal, Steel, oil or Electricity. This time around, data is the primary raw Material. Today organizations are able to know precise information on a varied amount of genres – right from how their engine is performing during a particular journey to a specific student’s performance on one of the lessons in a class. All this is possible because of the Data they have access to.

The Amount of data that each organization does collect is humongous and more often than not organizations don’t know what to do with such data. Just reiterate that this is not new for any of the industrial revolutions, during the time when industries were based on Coal, industry was just about seeing the presence of Oil. However in the initial stages Oil was more or less looked upon as an obstruction to Coal mining and industries didn’t know what to do with Oil (Sticky, black, mucky liquid). This happened only till the time when James Young (Scientist) applied a distillation process to efficiently covert the mucky oil into more useful stuff – refined Oil. Today many of these business decision makers are struggling with similar re-conceptualization of their Data. Hence, what will differentiate organizations in the future are the ones who become masters in consistently turning this abundant data into actionable, and proprietary, insight.

So by contrast, the new decision making leaders of today are more relying on ‘data-first’ as their data is not sticky or mucky but the lifeblood of the new machine, the fuel that moves it forward. In sticking with our oil comparison again, data is superior in most senses to Oil. While data lies at the core of our new machine, maintaining a healthy supply chain of this raw material is important to any industrial revolution. Let us look at the 3 key activities that apply here Harvesting of Oil, Refining of Oil and Distribution of Oil. Let us apply the same to the Data world. 

Thus this three pronged approach is a useful way of thinking about organizing your technology, staffing and approach to building your own new machine. Let us now also spend a little time on how to give Meaning to the Data which is such an important core of the AI Framework

Going through time, its imperative that the 3 steps above will become a universal practice. Harvesting will more or less stabilize and distribution will have nothing to do with improvement of the data. Thus the middle step of refining or turning data meaningful will be the key competitive battleground. This is where organizations will need to convert the data into insight and apply that insight via a new commercial models, and this is where Business Analytics comes into the frame.

Business Analytics can be defined as the tools, techniques, goals, analytics, processes and business strategies used to transform data into actionable insights for business problem solving and competitive advantage. All organizations that could harness values from data better than others can enjoy an average cost decrease of about 8,1% and an average revenue increase of about 8.4%.

So what do you want your analytics engine to analyze? And there comes the Code and stuff for all of us to look at. We need to turn everything – really everything with instrumentation- with sensors you begin the process of harvesting all the data in your organization but you will also greatly increase the intrinsic value of the very objects you are instrumenting. For instance, the value of a sensor fit car seat which can adjust its height and inclination based on the passenger who travels in it, greatly increase when compared to the static car seat. The sensors being referred to here can just take any shape and size in that context of the car seat like providing temperature data and Lighting conditions etc. If you take this mundane example of something ‘Static’ becoming ‘Dynamic sensor fit’ and extrapolate it into the ‘universe of things’, the impact of instrumentation becomes more and more profound.

This is why The LGs and Samsungs of the world are making the so called Dynamic/Smart Refrigerators and Televisions. It’s also why there an explosion of activity around the idea of instrumenting people. Let’s face it, at times we are pretty ‘static’ too. Instrumenting us will help us get smarter about a lot of important things, like our health as well. We need to therefore now become data analysis savvy so as to prepare for the next wave of AI based systems that can help / support our lives and make earth a better place to live in.

Stay tuned…. Part IIIb of this foray, we will dwell upon the Digital Business Models and Solutions: – “Robots” that outline the design and delivery of the AI platform.

AI / ML – Past, Present & Future – Part 2
 

Just a recap, we learnt in my last update, the advent of the industrial revolutions, and the current industrial revolution of the ‘Machines’ we are currently experiencing. The impact of the new age machines that are learning and thus by utilizing AI/ML mould the world we are going to experience. In this excerpt we are going to understand the machine in itself, the raw material that constitutes it and how the world of AI/ML comes alive.

New Machine: A system of intelligence that combines software, hardware data and human input:

  • Software that learns
  • Massive hardware processing power
  • Huge amounts of data

Any New machine exhibiting AI has three main Elements

1. Digital process Logic

  • Transform many manual processes into automated ones
  • Car dispatch process between traditional vs Uber
  • Digitized process multiplied over millions of transactions – an industry is revolutionized – structuring the process is the hardest part
    • thereby new Large Databases that are stable, scalable and tested. For e.g. Hadoop are finding favor against Oracle/SAP

2. Machine Intelligence

  • Combination of algorithms, automation processes, machine learning and neural networks – just a richer data set – HEART
    • thereby Highly efficient and always on plumbing

3. Software Ecosystem

  • Multiple systems of intelligence connected thru API. For e.g. Uber uses Twilio for cloud communications, Google for maps, Braintree for payments, SendGrid for email etc.
    • thereby an Intelligent System in action

So finally what will work for us to run an AI system is a combination of the above which not just a system but a very intelligent system based on new and enhanced learning.

Figure: Intelligent System working (Source: Internet)

Just to illustrate this in a live example for the most Successful Internet media-service provider and Production Company in North America. I have put together the to-be story of a system of intelligence that they built.

There is a big difference between merely having all the necessary ingredients of the new machines and actually getting them to perform at a high level. An intelligent system that can help you be the Michael Phelps of whatever race you are in will have all or most of the below characteristics to make it successful.

  • Learn more than any other system
  • Open to more changes/corrections
  • Not just being automated but also involve human inputs
  • Focused on a confined problem
  • Individual experience has to be top priority
  • Look out for Constantly improving system

Once the intelligent system is in place, you finally need a way to measure whether it is doing the right things or not –

  1. An Intelligent has to become better and better and that depends solely on the ‘Quality of Data’ that is being fed into it
  2. Intelligent systems has to be a journey in an organization and not just an individual contribution
  3. System should take ownership of more and more data analysis and should reduce human intervention

Every day that passes gives us more evidence and strengthens our conviction that the intelligent systems that we are trying to understand in this part are the engines of the fourth industrial revolution. Individuals and companies that are early birds on this bandwagon are the ones that are reaping rich benefits out of solving their major problems. So it’s but obvious that we need to the AI/ML way sooner or later. Are you ready?

Stay tuned…. Part III of this foray, we will quickly look through the making of Data that makes an AI system successful and then dwell upon the Digital Business Models and Solutions: – “Robots” that outline the design and delivery of the AI platform.

AI / ML – Past, Present & Future – Part I
 

The World has seen development/growth primarily driven by the Industrial revolutions. Each of these revolutions changed the way we looked at a time of economic dislocation; when old ways of production become defunct and they had to give way to far better/newer ways of production that could harness the improvement brought in by new machines. The First Industrial revolution was powered by the invention of the loom the second by the steam engine and the third by the assembly line, the fourth however will be powered by the machines that seem to think. We are HERE in the fourth one.

Between each industrial revolution to the next, there is long and bumpy road connecting one era of business and technology to the next, the evolution of each industrial revolution follows the part of an S-curve (as show in figure below)

  1. IDEA BURST : Breakthrough, high concentration in wealth, new industries created, new tech create press clipping but no impact on existing industries
  2. BUMPY ROAD :Revolution stalls, skepticism on value creation in phase I, economic models and value chains created, change in existing industries
  3. MASSIVE LIFT UP : Everybody richly rewarded, National GDP gets vertical lift off, Large wealth distribution

Just to see the impact of such AI driven world that is in front of us, few commonsensical usage of AI in the future world are below.

  • 1/3rd of all food produced go to waste, could be moved to Third world countries by usage of AI to address the hunger prevalent there
  • 12 million Medical misdiagnoses in US only contribute to 4,00,000 deaths. By the right usage of AI, most of these deaths can be avoided
  • Driverless cars are reducing the Annual # of accidents from 4.2 to 3.2 per million miles driven. This will improve as days go by

Now that the machines are in, we need to see what is that we are supposed to expect

  • Technology will be embedded into everything (IoT – Internet of Things)
  • As machines become better, it is but obvious that by year 2030 standards, the current frame work of machines will stink. Advent of improvements on these machines
  • Becoming Digital – mastering the three Ms (raw Materials, new Machines, and business models)

While the above statistics on Job displacement is detrimental to many of human futures, however the pace of elimination will be slow. Consider the following

  • Most likely scenario : 12% elimination in next 10 to 15 years
    • 3 scenarios
      • Job Automation: 12% are at risk
      • Job Enhancement: 75% of existing jobs will be altered
      • Job Creation: 13% net new jobs will get created due to new machine requirements or new job categories

The advent of 13% of new job and the ones that cant automated and enhanced still would need human intervention and keep the true need of humans in place vis-a-vis machines replacing each one of us – Scary isnt it?

Source: internet

So Let me introduce you to some key definitions to keep us on track of this arduous journey

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence – Coined in 1956 by Dartmouth Assistant Professor John McCarthy, ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) is a general term that refers to hardware or software that exhibits behavour which appears intelligent. In the words of Professor McCarthy, it is “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.”

Other sources terms AI(Artificial Intelligence) as an area of computer science that focuses on machines that learn. There are 3 types of AI prevalent

  • Narrow AI (ANI)/Applied AI: Purpose built and business focus on a specific task. E.g. Driving a car, Reviewing an X-ray, Tracking financial trades
  • General AI (AGI)/Strong AI: pursuit of a machine that has same general human intelligence as a human. E.g. figuring out how to make coffee in an average American home
  • Super AI: 10(or 1000) steps ahead of us. Technical genie – havoc around us

By the way, AI has existed for decades, via rules-based programs that deliver rudimentary displays of ‘intelligence’ in specific contexts. Progress, however, has been limited — because algorithms to tackle many real-world problems are too complex for people to program by hand. To resolve the area of complex problems is the world of ML (Machine Learning)

Machine learning (ML) is a sub-set of AI. All machine learning is AI, but not all AI is machine learning . Machine learning lets us tackle problems that are too complex for humans to solve by shifting some of the burden to the algorithm. As AI pioneer Arthur Samuel wrote in 1959, machine learning is the ‘field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.’

The goal of most machine learning is to develop a prediction engine for a particular use case. An algorithm will receive information about a domain (say, the films a person has watched in the past) and weigh the inputs to make a useful prediction (the probability of the person enjoying a different film in the future).  Machine learning algorithms learn through training. An algorithm initially receives examples whose outputs are known, notes the difference between its predictions and the correct outputs, and tunes the weightings of the inputs to improve the accuracy of its predictions until they are optimized.

Why is AI important?

AI is important because it tackles difficult problems in a way our human brain would have done but much faster and less erroneous- obviously resulting in human well-being. Snce the 1950s, AI research has focused on five fields of enquiry:

  1. Reasoning: the ability to solve problems through logical deduction
  2. Knowledge: the ability to represent knowledge about the world (the understanding that there are certain entities, events and situations in the world; those elements have properties; and those elements can be categorised.)
  3. Planning: the ability to set and achieve goals (there is a specific future state of the world that is desirable, and sequences of actions can be undertaken that will effect progress towards it)
  4. Communication: the ability to understand written and spoken language.
  5. Perception: the ability to deduce things about the world from visual images, sounds and other sensory inputs.

AI has thus already gone past imaginations and already is part of our home, workplace, community and what not. To say it simply, it’s infiltrating all the frameworks that are driving the global economy. From Siri, Alexa, Google Home, to Nest to Uber the world is covered with smart machines which are operating on extremely strong software platforms which in turn are in self learning mode. And I am not sure if it’s the best part or the scary part – This is the just the BEGINNING!!!. I call it scary because these new inventions are always “ready to learn” and constantly “adding intelligence” which will very soon challenge and enhance the intellect and experience of the savviest professionals in every sector.

Stay tuned…. Part II of this foray, we will dwell upon the Raw Materials and New Machines that outline the core of the AI platform.