These are the AI trends shaping the world of business and beyond

16 May 2019

Joseph Walsh. Image: Luke Maxwell/Silicon Republic

BT’s Joseph Walsh explains the various ways that AI is already transforming our society.

AI expert Andrew Ng once hailed artificial intelligence (AI) as “the new electricity”, arguing that the seismic change it will inspire in our society will be nothing short of a total revolution.

Really, this revolution is very much already underway. AI technology is proliferating across the world, cropping up everywhere from your car to your bank. You may be therefore wondering how it is going to affect your business.

According to Joseph Walsh, head of unified communications proposition at BT, the most significant trend in AI is how the technology is being incorporated into organisations’ processes and products. In particular, business leaders are focused on using AI to improve both customer and employee experience.

AI can improve the quality of decisions made, as well as help companies make these decisions faster. It can also increase the time to market for new products and even the overall output of an organisation.

Walsh explains: “Typical kinds of technologies we see being used to help improve customer experience and employee engagement are things like virtual assistants, real-time speech analytics and voice biometrics.”

Automation processes have been impacting productivity for years, and they invariably kick up anxieties among the working population about technology’s ability to displace or even ‘steal’ jobs. There is evidence stemming as far back as the early 19th century of workers protesting against technological progress for fear that their livelihoods were at stake.

“In 1928, the New York Times ran with the title ‘March of the Machines Makes Idle Hands’, and at a similar time in the 1930s the phrase ‘technological unemployment’ was coined,” Walsh continues. “So, the fear of job losses is nothing new, but with this current wave of technology we do see a change significantly in people’s roles – and that’s something we need to be mindful of.”

One message that Walsh argues should ring true for the entire population, regardless of whether you are the employer or the employee, is the need to ensure that you embody one of the most lauded modern traits: adaptability. It is this, Walsh explains, that will determine whether you sink or swim in an economy shaped by AI. “You need to fear not changing because if you’re not changing and you’re sitting still, technology may catch up with you.”

If you want to hear more about the most pressing AI trends that business leaders should remain abreast of, check out the video interview in full above.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic