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AI Really “More Profound” Than Electricity, Fire? Maybe So

The Wainhouse Research Blog

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on Unified Communications & Collaboration


AI Really “More Profound” Than Electricity, Fire? Maybe So

By: -
22 Jan 2018

Can the looming importance of artificial intelligence be overstated?

Apparently not, based on comments from Google CEO Sundar Pichai in an interview with MSNBC and Recode set to air on January 26. “AI is one of the most important things humanity is working on,” Pichai is quoted as saying in a promotional preview of his interview. “It’s more profound than, I don’t know, electricity or fire.”

Working as a market and technology analyst at WR, one gets the chance to hear some breathless hyperbole from vendors touting their vision of the future. As a result, the knee-jerk reaction is to apply a healthy dollop of skepticism when hearing statements like the one coming from Pichai.

That said, however audacious the quote sounds on the surface, the Pichai pronouncement may provide a pretty accurate view of the world. By designing computers that can ingest information and then draw inferences and conclusions from the information provided, AI developers are on the cusp of some mighty important advances.

AI systems, for instance, offer the promise of better medical treatment by leveraging large databases to better diagnose a patient’s illness. Similarly, AI solutions of the future can enhance day-to-day business operations by applying lessons from past executive decisions to current corporate issues.

If one accepts the idea that AI is going to be a big deal, it may be worth your while to pay attention to the variety of enterprise communications technologies tracked by WR analysts. By their nature, AI systems are voracious in their never-quenched thirst for more data. And perhaps the easiest way to generate the data needed to feed into the system is by archiving meetings or classes held via video conference, unified communications systems, collaborative learning systems, or streaming platforms and use them as raw material to teach AI systems.

Certainly, organizations that use streaming video extensively are aware of the potential impact that streaming can have on the course of AI development. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of all respondents to a fourth quarter 2017 survey of 2,004 professionals fielded by WR say that the “ability to leverage archived video as data to be fed into machine intelligence solutions, such as IBM Watson,” is an important influence on the streaming purchase decision.

Indeed, three out of 10 of the overall survey group describe these abilities as “very important” to the streaming purchase decision, and the intensity of interest in machine intelligence solutions soars among those survey participants with large video archives in place. Among those working at companies with cumulative video archives of more than 100 hours worth of content, 57% of respondents describe machine intelligence capabilities as having a “very important” influence on streaming technology purchase decisions.

From today’s perch, it’s difficult to fully comprehend the societal implications resulting from the evolution of artificial intelligence. About the only thing we know for sure is that companies that seek to capitalize on AI capabilities in the future will be leaning on enterprise communications solutions that will simplify the process of capturing the data that makes AI systems smarter.