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After a big 2016, next year may be A.I. tipping point

Sharon Gaudin | Jan. 3, 2017
Artificial intelligence progress expected to continue to accelerate in coming year

A statement like that takes a lot of confidence in advances coming in the technology.

"We are about where I expected we'd be in the industry but, be aware, this is a moving bar and one big breakthrough could change this dynamic dramatically. And there are a lot of people in the hunt for that breakthrough," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "Next year, we'll see a lot more smart systems, an increasingly capable group of smart assistants and far more self-driving, and even self-flying, vehicles being tested."

In other words, in the coming year artificial intelligence advances may begin to cascade, instead of simply inch forward.

And A.I. itself could begin to fuel that progress.

"Right now, A.I. is largely being created by humans," said Enderle. "The big wave will likely come when A.I. systems are more aggressively used to create future A.I. systems. When that happens, the speed of advancement will likely follow less of a linear scale and more of an algorithmic one."

For Moorhead, he thinks 2017 will see an increasing number of companies using artificial intelligence-based platforms in their apps and services.

"I also think we will start to see enterprises jumping onto the A.I. bandwagon," he added. "I expect the Tesla full autonomous car capabilities will be close to be turned on... I don't believe we're yet at the tipping point [with A.I.] but we are close. The tipping point will likely happen next year as A.I. makes its way into more apps."

Dave Schubmehl, an analyst with IDC, said he too expects to see more enterprises adopting A.I. technologies in the coming year.

"I think we'll see a significant increase in the distribution and use of A.I. that is embedded within enterprise applications, providing guidance, recommendations, and predictions," he said. "I think we're on track as far as what we're seeing in the marketplace."

Schubmehl, however, said while there have been strong advances in conversational A.I. systems, he's disappointed there haven't been more advances in consumer-focused digital assistants.

Moorhead, agreed, adding, "Intelligent agents, like Alexa and Siri, are behind where I thought they'd be."

They're hoping, though, that 2017 will see that turn around.


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