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Hackernoon logoWhat AI Experts Are Watching in 2021 by@readwrite

What AI Experts Are Watching in 2021

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@readwriteReadWrite

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Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) may have been increasing in popularity for years now, but that uptick is just now reaching its peak.

As we enter into 2021, industry leaders need to keep their ears to the ground on how the latest developments in those fields can affect their business.

These new technologies can transform operations, drastically increasing efficiency while also cutting overhead costs. Jumping on trends early will put companies in the driver’s seat of innovation, ensuring that they don’t get lost in the shuffle later on.

Someone’s going to be cashing in on these trends in the coming year. Play your cards right, and that someone may end up being you:

iPaaS

Integration platform as a service, or iPaaS for short, is a simple piece of AI/ML that can help businesses and organizations of any shape and size. It takes the programs you already use and strings them together to create workflow automation systems that make jobs easier to accomplish.

For example, you can set up a workflow that automatically compiles sales data whenever a purchase is made on your website.

This information can then be organized into a spreadsheet that is sent to your marketing team so they have information on which demographics to target and which products ad campaigns are performing well.

Processes like this would’ve taken serious manpower to accomplish before but can now be done in an instant. 

Business Forecasting

A large part of the business success formula is simply being in the right place at the right time. Businesses can accomplish this through data analytics.

When used correctly, data can give insight into key developments in certain markets, making it easier to capitalize on them. Without the proper tools, though, it’s difficult to turn data into something usable. 

AI and ML-powered tools sift through data in order to uncover these trends. Because ML platforms in particular learn through doing, those platforms only get more accurate and powerful with time. 

Self-Driving Vehicles

A new era of transportation is approaching in the form of self-driving vehicles. While it may take a long time for this trend to take over the roads completely, each passing year has shown the growing possibility of AI-fueled cars becoming the new norm.

Self-driving cars, when implemented correctly, will reduce accidents, avoid traffic jams, and allow commuters to maximize the time they spend each day. With certain models already including forms of road assist, the world is right on the precipice of a major transformation in the space — all it takes is one company in 2021 willing to make it happen.

Internet of Things

The internet of things, or IoT, can be boiled down to ordinary objects getting a digital component added on to them. Think smart appliances that take regular household tools and incorporate AI into them: friendlier, easier-to-use, greater capability, and an all-around better product.

The IoT is nothing new, but AI-powered devices have yet to make their full impact on the industry just yet. Adding AI to these objects allows them to communicate digitally, either with a network or with other devices. IoT devices like the Amazon Alexa or Google Home are almost commonplace now; the next logical step for smart home owners is the adoption of AI technology. 

Translation

Language barriers restrict demographics, strain customer relationships, and limit business potential. Artificial intelligence is breaking down those barriers one language at a time, working toward a more unified 2021.

Translation is a complicated process which before required a lot of man-hours and an intimate knowledge of foreign languages to pull off. With AI, businesses can instead enable instant translation on their websites. Platforms that instantly translate dictated speech are now becoming commercially available, opening up the possibility for an entire new realm of customer interaction.

Voice Recognition

Passwords, thumbprints, and security questions: some more convenient than others, but none as seamless as voice recognition. This hands-free technology is incredibly convenient, and while its previous uses in programs like Siri have been largely for personal use, that paradigm is beginning to shift. 

With programs that can distinguish your voice from others’, the need for personal identity verification becomes obsolete. Soon you’ll be able to do anything from ordering food for delivery, controlling smart appliances, and even posting to social media through a few simple voice commands. The AI powering these devices learns every time a user speaks, meaning that its recognition strength only grows over time. 

Facial Recognition

A more controversial topic in the AI sphere, facial recognition will be powerful for businesses if they can balance the technology with privacy concerns. Currently used primarily by law enforcement officials to catch criminals and by smartphone companies to enable lock screen protection, facial recognition is on the cusp of becoming a commonplace aspect of normal business operations. 

Other forms of facial recognition are in the works, such as in the retail industry, which would allow retailers to see the demographics of the people who frequent their store and buy certain products. This information can be used by them and by brand suppliers to improve their marketing campaigns as well as product development.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality was the talk of the industry 5 years back, but the technology just wasn’t quite there yet. Headsets were expensive, games were few, and the entire enterprise just seemed a bit premature. Now that the tech has finally arrived, the possibilities seem to be endless. The best platforms put users inside of digital worlds, allowing them to become part of live events from home or to enter the universe of their favorite video games.

As VR grows in popularity, so too will VR programs that focus on personalization. Today users can find everything from personalized psychotherapy to online matchmaking on their VR headsets, but that only scratches the surface of what AI could bring to the table. Users want to enter entire worlds made specifically for them, and AI-powered technology is poised to do just that in the coming years.

They may not be new buzzwords, artificial intelligence and machine learning are not slowing down anytime soon. Business owners should be looking at ways to implement them instead of watching competitors that do whizz right past. There’s no niche that doesn’t have room for AI in it somewhere — find yours and fill it.

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