We need to work as an industry with academics, lawmakers and the general public to ensure we harness the potential of the fourth industrial revolution, writes Microsoft UK CTO Michael Wignall
The fourth industrial revolution will have a profound impact on society and the macroeconomy, increasing productivity and output to a scale that is arguably greater than the three revolutions that came before it. Whereas steampower, electricity or the personal computer drove previous disruption it is digital technology that is powering the current change.
Of all the elements of digital, AI will be the main catalyst for growth. It will impact all consumers and business alike, across all industries and every country in the world. Such a systemic disruption needs to be managed to ensure we can provide the benefit of this technology to all.
Microsoft recently surveyed over 5000 people for its report “Maximising the AI Opportunity” and found that while 41 percent of organisations feel their current business models will cease to exist within the next five years, 51 percent of leaders believe that their organisation does not have an AI strategy in place. The same amount of employees admit they are currently not using any type of AI to perform tasks at work.
Some organisations have gotten started though, and the research shows they are performing five percent higher than companies that have not yet started their AI journeys: driving higher productivity, improved customer service and better performance.
Over the past two years with developments in deep learning as well as increased data and compute capabilities, we have seen AI reach human parity in key areas like vision, speech and language. These were key milestones but we can only expect the capability to get better as these systems reason over more data over time.
We are not quite there yet, but AI will become truly ubiquitous. It is already widely used in many places but people just don’t realise it. It drives your mapping technology on your phone, it helps remove spam from your inbox and supports matchmaking when gaming on the Xbox.