Microsoft’s annual flagship event Future Decoded kicked off with a heavy focus on what the future holds with the technological innovation of AI. There has been a lot said about the development of Artificial Intelligence, how best to utilise it and many questions as to how it will affect the future of jobs and the workplace. With a projected forecast for the AI industry to contribute around £10 Trillion to the world economy by 2030 it is clear to see that there will be major transformations across various industries with this new technical innovation.
Microsoft recently announced a whole host of new applications with AI capabilities. With this transformational activity, there will no doubt be fundamental changes to how businesses operate from a functionality point of view with different directions and skillsets required to achieve this transition. Of course, there are debates with many forming the opinions that AI can be a catastrophe for humans with many jobs at risk.
Others argue that assistance to automate some of the most repetitive and boring tasks will be a massive advantage and stimulate more job creation. These camps often divide into those that side with the Mark Zuckerberg perspective that whole heartedly embraces these changes or cautious pragmatics like Elon Musk that warn of disastrous possibilities and implications.
A major enablement of the possibilities for Artificial Intelligence is the cloud integration and storage available from Microsoft. It is the cloud that allows the efficient and rapid analysis of the wide depth of data that is available as AI can only be as good as the data it collects. Microsoft have placed the emphasis firmly on AI with a focus on AI for Good, an initiative creating a responsible approach towards the implementation of AI.
There is a vision to make sure Microsoft strike the balance between opportunity and the responsibility to the wider community and humanity beyond just business. These main considerations include privacy, security and ethical responsibility. However, how will the business world and individuals adapt to this change? In a bid to start preparing the future workforce for AI, Microsoft have launched their new AI Academy to teach digital skills across the country.
There is a real sense that companies need to embrace AI or get left behind. Studies show that 41% of businesses believe that their business model will cease to exist in the next 5 years. However, AI should not be implemented simply to be ahead of the innovation curve but needs to be considered from an outcome led perspective. This means considering what business processes will benefit from the potential of AI and the ability to adapt to data.
Expect to see more case propositions and examples of successful AI business use across different departments and its effects in increasing efficiency and more creative approaches to work. A key question to consider is where in your organisation there is opportunity to do more. With the new frontier of AI comes the challenges of infusing collaboration, increased productivity and communication across all these fields.
In his keynote speech, Satya Nadella (Microsoft’s CEO) mentioned the need for businesses to embrace “tech intensity” and adopt technology in ways that are much faster than what we have done in the past”. He went on to explain how Microsoft want to provide the foundation with Azure as the world’s computer to deploy applications anywhere. Artificial Intelligence will be a “collective responsibility” according to Nadella with businesses being able to adapt and take “AI wherever you need it”.
There has already been massive success with the introduction of the Microsoft HoloLens two years ago and it is clear AI will be a major innovation for the future of business. The true acid test for businesses will be how quickly they can adapt to the accelerated use of tech, how business processes are optimised with this technology and the upskilling of the current workforce and future employees. Have you begun to think about how AI will affect you and your organisation and how you can benefit from it?
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