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Alexa, let's get to work.
Today's virtual assistants and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies may soon become trusted, productivity-enhancing tools in the workplace. According to the 2017 Technology Vision report from Accenture, 85 percent of the 5,400 IT and business executives polled by the company said they plan to "invest extensively" in AI over the next three years. Seventy-nine percent said that AI will drive technology adoption at their organizations.
Accenture predicts that AI will soon evolve from a back-end tool that helps enterprises drive efficiency and capitalize on business opportunities, to "a digital spokesperson for companies." AI can enable more targeted and engaging customer experiences, improving outcomes for users.
For CIOs and other top IT executives, this means preparing for a future where AI is stitched into the very fabric of their organizations.
"In 10 years, digital assistants will be so pervasive they’ll keep employees productive 24/7/365, operating in the background for workplace interactions, like creating video summaries right after an important meeting," stated the report. In seven years, Accenture expects that most AI-powered interfaces will lack a screen and transform workstyles by integrating into daily tasks.
In the near term, however, AI will start affecting how customers shop for services. "In five years, more than half of your customers will select your services based on your AI instead of your traditional brand," predicted the professional services and consultancy firm.
Accenture isn't the only industry watcher that has high hopes for AI in the enterprise.
In a recent survey from Infosys, conducted by Vanson Bourne, 76 percent of IT and business decision makers consider AI a pivotal factor in their organization's success. Businesses that have already adopted or plan to deploy AI solutions said they expect their costs to drop 37 percent and their revenues to climb 39 percent.
Outside of the workplace, AI may help people live healthier lives.
In IBM's latest 5in5 forecast, the technology giant predicted that in the next five years, AI will become a valuable tool for improving mental health.
"At IBM, scientists are using transcripts and audio inputs from psychiatric interviews, coupled with machine learning techniques, to find patterns in speech to help clinicians accurately predict and monitor psychosis, schizophrenia, mania and depression. Today, it only takes about 300 words to help clinicians predict the probability of psychosis in a user," stated IBM.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.