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Artificial intelligence: Pervasive, powerful & present

Artificial intelligence: Pervasive, powerful & present
If you ask people whether they think artificial intelligence (AI) will have an impact on their daily lives, many won’t admit to having playbacks of science fiction films in their minds.
If you ask people whether they think artificial intelligence (AI) will have an impact on their daily lives, many won’t admit to having playbacks of science fiction films in their minds. While pop culture might have influenced how we imagine futuristic technologies, what most of us don’t realize is that technologies like AI are already here and look set to stay.

In Asia Pacific, AI adoption is already so robust that a vast majority of organizations have already implemented AI in one form or another within areas such as information technology, supply chain and logistics, as well as research and development. And organizations are hungry for more – 9 in 10 have said they are planning to implement AI in the next 12 months, according to Data Pulse: Maximizing the Potential of AI, Seagate’s latest survey of IT professionals across Asia Pacific.

Data is the most fundamental building block that drives AI technology, enabling the likes of Siri, Cortana and Alexa to exist. While AI seems to have no issues merging seamlessly into consumer lifestyles, the road for businesses seems slightly bumpier in comparison. According to the survey, 72% of businesses said they struggle to know where and how to start with AI and that despite strengthening their IT infrastructure, they still feel a need to make further investments to handle growing data streams.

AI for today's needs and tomorrow's goals

People and businesses are unanimous in their opinion that AI will impact our daily lives, and that there are productivity gains to be enjoyed through the adoption of this technology. Overall, we can expect to see a spike in the frequency, flexibility, and immediacy of data analysis across industries and applications to drive business decisions.

One example is the financial services industry, which has seen the rise of robo-advisers providing consumers with advice around their personal finance and investments in real-time. This will ultimately remove the stress and complexity of manual number crunching, and offer insights at greater speed and accuracy to facilitate quicker decision making in any industry.

This highlights the key role of “Edge Computing”. Since the creation of the first hard disk drive, we’ve seen IT infrastructures evolve from individual mainframes to decentralized servers, and now, mobile and cloud computing. The computation that takes place at the edge meets the expanding need for the real-time responsiveness that AI, predictive analytics and machine learning technologies demand.

Asia Pacific is at the center of this digital transformation. According to IDC’s Data Age 2025 report, global data growth is expected to rise exponentially to 163 zettabytes by 2025 , and with its vibrantly growing economies, emerging pools of talent, and highly connected population, APAC is potentially a key region to drive this growth. We see evidence of this in government initiatives such as Singapore’s Smart Nation vision, or India’s NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) to initiate the country’s first-ever national policy on AI – all of which point towards APAC’s appetite to embrace AI.

Infrastructure is key to realizing productivity gains from artificial intelligence

The reality of implementing AI within an organization is not a simple task. A third of the respondents Seagate surveyed believe that their organizations have yet to invest sufficient man hours and budgets when it comes to AI development and implementation.

However, budgets and resources are just part of the puzzle – oftentimes there are multiple factors at play such as whether there is a clear strategy and direction within the business backed by the commitment from senior leadership and the right talent to drive overall AI adoption within an organization.

Of equal importance is ensuring that the right “tech” is in place to support any sort of AI development. Our interactions with data are expected to increase 20-fold to once every 18 seconds by 2025, putting greater demands on businesses that collect consumer data. The expectation for organizations to keep data accessible while being safe and secure will be of paramount importance.

It is an exciting time for both consumers and businesses towards embracing the value that AI can bring. Data is the pulse behind AI functionality and we need to constantly evaluate how to best store, access and analyse data to glean insights that can help drive impactful decision-making.

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