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Lindsey Patterson

Brave New World: Big Data and AI-Powered Analytics Come Of Age

4 min read

As I read Forrester’s report on AI, I found it very informative but a little spooky. The report predicts that Artificial intelligence will mature in 2018. According to Forrester, 2018 will see mainstream companies adopt AI.


Blue chip multinationals will finally accept the hype around AI as justified, the report says. They will also have to accept that every technological shift planning, deployment and utilization of AI will require hard work and a lot of resources.


Big Brother is watching! Beware

A Gartner report on the same topic entitled Road to enterprise AI concurs in principle. Remember where I said the Forrester report is spooky? Well, George Orwell's 1984 book was the top seller on 25th January 2017, 68 years after publication. This is according to the Gartner report. If you have not read the book, it is about a technologically advanced society in which the government is always watching for non-conformance. NSA surveillance programs are eerily similar to Big Brother.


What's spooky is the rise in pro-privacy public sentiment. For instance, there are EU laws that require websites that uses cookies to notify users after two decades of cookie use. Both reports are big on governance and ethics so that isolated mischief does not spook the public. Such an occurrence could result in legislation that could cripple the growth of AI-powered big data analytics.


The Growth Areas:


Human-computer interfaces

2018 will see improvements in human and computer communication due to interface improvements. One such improvement will be an increase in the use of Big Data tools such as Natural Language Processing. This will enable data queries using natural language instead of SQL (Structured Query Language), which will make real-time on fly data visualizations available to non-technical users.


AI-powered real-time decision making support and instructions

20 percent of AI deployments in 2018 will be used to make decisions and provide instructions in real-time. The AI's will be suggesting what customers should be offered, which suppliers to contract under what terms, and instruct staff on what to say and do.


There will also be better offerings in the business intelligence (BI) analytics powered by enterprises deploying more cloud-based resources and a corresponding need for cloud data security. The security improvements will emerge through the AI-powered redesign of data management.

The structured and unstructured data analytics boundary will blur in 2018

Forrester found that for clients with unstructured data, over 100 terabytes doubled between 2016 and 2017. However, less than a third of the companies had the capability to analyze text data and even fewer could derive useful insights from unstructured data. But by mainstreaming machine learning techniques, more enterprises will be powered to derive insights from unstructured data.


Most enterprises will use cloud-based big data analytics

More than 50 percent of the respondents in Forrester's research indicated that they would deploy analytics, data, and big data platforms on public clouds. This would be driven by the need to keep costs in check. Also, the flexibility offered by cloud computing when compared to on-premises infrastructure and software will influence the decision.


The rise of the data engineer and insights as a service market

Already, over 10 percent of the "wanted" ad's on are data engineer openings. This indicates that organizations are increasing the value they place on big data and consider it mission critical. However, when the shortage of experienced data engineers is combined with the current business practice of outsourcing, an insight market is born. Already 66 percent of enterprises outsource a portion of their BI applications. By end of 2018, Forrester predicts that 80 percent of firms will be outsourcing BI services.



2018 will be a crucial year for AI in business. Will George Orwell be proved right by corporates and governments? Is AI-powered surveillance killing privacy? Or will it be a case of better service delivery and improved products? Can AI-powered analytics supercharge product design? I don't know. However, one thing is clear, if you are not seriously considering adopting AI, 2018 will be the year your company becomes obsolete.