Ten years ago, I invited the community to envision the future of Data, AI and Analytics (I called it then:“BI 2020”). From the Museum of Information in Paris, I asked: what could the world of AI, Data and Analytics look like by 2020?!
Many predicted the advent of natural interfaces like search and voice for analysis. Conversational AI or Big Data weren’t common industry terms back then but many saw that such trends would be transformative over the next decade.
We’re now on the eve of 2020. And we are far from having achieve the ambitious goals of the past decade. To some extent, we could even argue that the world of AI, Data and Analytics is still in its first inning.
So, to further my investigation for where the world is headed, I drove down to Silicon Valley’s Computer History Museum and surveyed the community once again for its predictions. Here is what came out of it.
Prediction #1: Augmentation & Inclusion, NOT Automation & Replacement
2019 saw a fair amount of controversy around Artificial Intelligence. How many jobs should we expect to see replaced? How many new jobs will this technology truly create?! The reports are mixed.
When talking about the opportunity, Mark Jeffries, author and former Fox and NBC anchor, suggests that 2020 will be a year when people talk more about the concept of “Augmentation” rather than “Automation”. He’s hopeful that, in 2020, the debate will shape up to optimize around what technology can do WITH humans rather than WITHOUT them.
This trend is confirmed by Gartner Analyst Svetlana Sicular, who predicts that, in just five years, 40% of companies will shift their focus from designing tools for humans to designing humans for augmentation technology.
Human augmentation also has the potential to make the world a lot more accessible. According to Gartner Analyst Daryl Plummer, AI, virtual reality, and other new technologies will triple the number of people with disabilities employed by 2023 — leading to a brand new workforce. He also predicts that this will lead to even more good news for companies that employ people with disabilities. They’ll experience good will, as well as higher retention rates, more productivity, and increased profitability.
Prediction #2: 2020 – The Year of Disinformation
We used to complain that it was too hard to get information. In 2020, we’ll have to watch out for too much of the wrong information.
According to the Guardian, many already got a taste of “disinformation” in 2016. The publication reports that the small town of Veles in Macedonia was the registered home of about 100 pro-Trump websites, many of them sharing disinformation.
This phenomenon didn’t just affect the United States. A few weeks ago, Oxford University published its Global Disinformation Order report. It shows a sharp rise in information manipulation and that its spread has more than doubled in 2 years. In 2019, 70 countries were the victims of misinformation campaigns (up from 28 countries in 2017).
So, while US voters should probably scrutinize who they get information from before they elect their next president in 2020, the rest of the world is not immune to false information.
Social media companies and governments are taking action: Facebook and Google have said that they will disclose the creators of political ads. Twitter has said that it will ban all political ads. Countries like Singapore, France, and Malaysia have enacted laws to deal with disinformation.
And according to Gartner’s Chief of Research, news organizations’ IT and content production groups will team up and use blockchain to ensure the authenticity of their published content.
What should YOU do? Pick your news sources carefully and don’t believe everything you read on the internet! A technology to be particularly worried about is “Deepfake”. Need to know more about that? Author and Futurist Bernard Marr details it in his column here.
Prediction #3: Countdown to 2030 – The US May Lose the AI Race
Nations across the world are competing to win the AI race — and China is in the lead. The country has invested close to $30 billion in AI, while US venture capital firms invested less than $10 billion in AI startups in 2018.
As Tom Davenport writes, “China is doing far more than talking about AI.” While the US government has called for almost $1 billion spending in non-defense research and development next year, the Stanford University Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence says that it’s not enough — and that an investment of $120 billion over the next 10 years is vital for the US to succeed.
If you’re not convinced that China is seriously investing in Artificial Intelligence, watch PBS’ Frontline documentary published last month. You’ll find out about the existence of a modern Chinese city (the size of Chicago) which was artificially created to fully embrace AI.
In 2020, the fight for technology supremacy heads down a different path according to some. DJ Patil, Former US Chief Data Scientist for President Obama published a report on Innovation and National Security and predicts that China could pass the US by 2030. He ends his report with a simple question: “Could the U.S. be in the process of losing its leadership”.
I am hopeful that, as we learn how to make better use of technology to increase productivity, our vision for a better humanity will also improve.
I was wrong in 2010 though. I suppose it’s only fair for me to hope then that we’ll achieve 2020 Vision, perhaps by 2030…?