Smart machines are going to enter mainstream adoption in just five years, according to Gartner research, but what does that actually mean for business?
The growth of smart machines
Defined as technologies that are capable of learning on their own and, as such, produce unanticipated results, smart machines could be useful to almost any company in the world. But is this just science fiction, or will it actually become a reality for many businesses?
In its report, Gartner predicts that by 2018 nearly a third (30%) of interactions will be through "conversations" with smart machines. However, this could be disruptive, rather than beneficial for companies.
How this will impact businesses
Susan Tan, research vice president at Gartner, said smart machines change the way work is done and how value is created, which can be transformative and disruptive for business.
"For service providers, smart machines represent opportunities to help enterprises assess, select, implement, change and adapt talent, and for IT and business processes, the opportunity to successfully adopt smart machines for business benefits," she explained.
Ms. Tan elaborates with examples of dynamic pricing models, fraud detection, predictive policing and robotics as just some of the ways that smart machines could be used in almost any industry.
These could be adapted by businesses around the world to help make them more efficient and improve their outcomes. However, investment in this area will have to increase in order for companies to make the most out of this tech, rather than being disrupted by it.
Increase in spending
Spending on smart machines is expected to rise from $451 million in 2016 to nearly $29 billion in 2021 but, as with most new tech, adoption will vary widely depending on the industry and size of individual companies.
Some of the biggest names have already started investing in smart machines, and identifying ways this technology could be used to help them improve their offering.
BMW is starting work with IBM Watson to see how driver experience can be improved, while Microsoft and IBM already use self-learning computer models to boost their cloud support for customers.
Until the uptake of smart machines increases, it's unclear how this technology will be best used to help companies across multiple sectors, but what is clear is that there are many ways that artificial intelligence can be used to boost business.