The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for flexibility, rewarding those companies most adept at adjusting to changing conditions. With the end of the pandemic on the horizon, businesses are increasingly harnessing AI and ML to prepare for the next period of rapid economic change.
The Database Trends and Applications AI Predictions for 2021 provides a great look at the AI priorities which will set the post-Coronavirus world stage. Here are the highlights we think will be particularly important.
Explainable AI and ML
One of the trickiest problems with AI and ML is the opacity of the models. Machine learning models rapidly evolve, going through many iterations as they're trained to be more accurate and produce more useful insights. Traditionally, the most important factor was results, not visibility, and many ML models are still black boxes, whose decision-making processes cannot easily be assessed from the outside.
This can be an issue in certain applications. Not only can it make it more difficult for companies to trust their applications, but it can also pose compliance issues in areas like banking, where the model may have access to sensitive data.
As Jim Stratton, CTO of Workday puts it, "More insight into this process will ensure people understand the factors on which the model is basing its decision, and it will also help developers prevent an adversary from exploiting it."
The Convergence of AI and BI
The demand for AI integration with Business Intelligence isn't news to us. That demand was one of the key drivers of Bitvore's decision to integrate Cellenus with Microsoft BI and continues to help shape the work we do. But as Dhiren Patel, Chief Product Officer and Head of Customer Success at MachEye points out, the most significant breakthroughs are yet to come:
"As new AI-powered BI products emerge, silos will be broken and every user will be able to leverage data analytics and find insights easily. Simple interfaces, personalized insights, and engaging data experiences will become the hallmarks of data analytics in 2021 and beyond."
AI Will Empower People, Not Replace Them
The biggest strength of AI and ML is the ability to analyze vast amounts of data on a scale that no human can. But the technology works best as a way to supplement human decision-making, not supplant it. As Fujitsu Tech Evangelist Scott Francis points out, although AI is taking on an ever-growing share of the grunt work, human insight remains indispensable:
"Artificial intelligence is getting smarter and faster, but it's obvious that the need for human oversight isn't going away anytime soon. Improvements in artificial intelligence will transform the human experience like never before, from billing automation to legal documentation. Leveraging huge stores of data and past records for reference, automation will begin to do the lion's share of the work with human oversight to correct errors and misinterpretations."
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