Are Machines taking over through robotics powered by artificial intelligence?

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    Timothy Oriedo, Founder, Predictive Analytics Lab

    In an industry landscape that is shifting from co-workers to co-robots, how are businesses, organizations and individuals adjusting towards the new dispensation was the big question discussed at CIO100 Symposium in view of Africa’s steady appreciation of digital transformation.

    While moderation an insightful panel that was anchored on the above premise, Timothy Oriedo the Founder of Predictive Analytics Lab along with his co-panelists largely focused their discussion on the underlying principles governing adoption of AI and Robotic Process Automation.

    The panelists Alex Muriu, Barclays, Lenin Oyuga, Redifinitive (formerly Thomson Reuters) and Prabu Balusubramanyan of Transys Solutions noted that humanoid robots powered by Artificial Intelligence will in the next 15 to 20 years, be part of everyday life.

    The concern from most of the delegates was if that future driven by AI or machines become so powerful that it begins to think to a point where they become more capable than the humans? Today, computers are more powerful at giving people answers faster than human brainpower, but are they more capable? That’s what most delegates expressed the need to manage since digital disruption is inevitable.

    In the panel session that started by the moderator posing a conundrum to his panelists: Data trumps Algorithms or Algorithms trump Data, it was interesting that with talk of digital transformation all around people. Of concern was the extent of customer service.

    While evidence would suggest that service has not kept pace in terms of technology advances that drive improvement and increased customer loyalty, there has been dramatic effort by forward thinking companies to address the challenge. Quite a number of trends and changes in consumer behavior and expectations, primarily driven by mobile are steadily making the customer service experience an area ripe for true digital transformation.

    The panelists went ahead to break down their varied conviction on what they believed was the position with two panelist supporting the notion that data trumps algorithms and the other panelist standing for the position that algorithms trump data. The former proponents justified that without data, AI model will not be able to learn and become better whereas the later position was justified with the observations that emerging tech are allowing in memory serverless computation that reduces reliance on availability of data.

    It emerged that Financial institution’s followed by retail businesses,are at the core of the adoption of the emerging technologies. The panelists pointed out that the growing availability and adoption of digital technologies that is generating digital breadcrumbs has lent credence to the growth in adoption of Machine Learning and AI.

    The audience sort to establish highlights on the approach that organization’s take in adoption of the AI technologies of which the panelists were at hand to expound on the various options that organization’s can take in entrenching the adoption of AI.

    Largely two approaches were recommended with the first one being outsourcing solutions from vendors. This has been pragmatic and is mostly used while the second approach hinges on building internal capabilities that enable inbuilt solutions.

    It was observed that organization’s on a high maturity curve have a propensity to develop internal capabilities compared to those on a lower maturity curve.

    The panel session concluded with the moderator urging the audience to invest in transformative technologies to accelerate the pace of their business growth rather than fear for loss of jobs due to adoption of automation.

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