2017 will be remembered as the year when machine learning and artificial intelligence [
AI] were taken seriously for the first time as Google Chrome and Amazon Alexa went head to head as well as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.
Many of the biggest tech companies now have their own speech and language services. Apple introduced Siri, Microsoft came up with Cortana and Google’s Now is already very popular.
Google Home is a voice-based assistant, which makes use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and competes directly with Amazon Echo. Eventually, the hope is for voice-based assistants to completely replace human customer support agents, which could potentially save companies millions of dollars.
Another major technology that has come into the reckoning recently is that of Chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that make use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to simulate online conversations with human users.
A number of companies have come up with chatbots. Some of the popular chatbots are Hubspot’s GrowthBot, Lemonade, and Talla. The technology isn’t perfect as yet, but is expected to get better in 2017. Chatbots should get more sophisticated and make fewer errors as we go along. This has vast implications for online businesses and digital marketers in particular.
When one talks about artificial intelligence, self-driven cars or autonomous cars come to mind. It was Google that first introduced autonomous cars, and today, they are being made by many companies.
Uber is planning an entire fleet of self-driven vehicles in Pittsburgh in 2017. nuTonomy will be introducing autonomous cars to Boston. Elon Musk of Tesla Motors has major plans for energy efficient autonomous vehicles. Major automakers such as Ford and Toyota have indicated their seriousness about bringing autonomous cars to the market in a big way.
Autonomous cars are expected to be a very disruptive technology, with great implications for the job market. 4.4 million Americans over the age of 16, work as drivers, including 3.5 million that work as truck drivers, according to the American Truck Association. There is a fear that their jobs could be at risk if self-driven cars are mass produced.
MLaaS or Machine Learning as a Service is another major new innovation that is much talked about. The first MLaaS service was Azure ML, which did not take off as expected. Amazon has come up with Lex and Google has introduced Cloud ML. Eventually, MLaaS products are expected to become more popular.
2017 could well be the year when there will be massive new developments in quantum computing, which could completely transform machine learning as we know it. Google has big plans for quantum computing and has invested heavily in research on quantum neural networks.
Google has already incorporated advanced machine learning into its search algorithm with RankBrain. RankBrain is an artificial intelligence system that is expected to make Google search smarter and more efficient. It is said to be critical to the future of Google search and might as well change the way we look at search engines.
Microsoft, Apple and Facebook have their own versions of RankBrain. Apple calls its machine learning system Spotlight. Facebook has a machine learning algorithm called as EdgeRank which determines the placement of articles on the site, and Microsoft has a machine learning system for Bing, called as RankNet, which has been around for over 11 years.
2017 is going to be the year when many new technologies that make use of AI and machine learning are going to take off. I will be sure to cover each and every major new development on this blog, so stay tuned for more. Meanwhile, I look forward to your comments!