Artificial intelligence is hot, but also daunting. The latest advances — known variously as cognitive computing, machine learning, and deep learning — sound complicated and expensive. And they are, despite the enormous potential they bring to the marketplace. For many companies, the price tag and the commitment of resources are too high a hurdle. And for other reasons, even a giant like Apple is facing challenges.
But the good news is that the early dividends from AI are already within reach of most midsize companies as they look for ways to expand their digital boundaries. In fact, the building blocks of AI can produce great results with fewer technical requirements and less time and money than many companies realize. What’s more, those that take this initial step are getting a leg up on AI’s future, since that step is going to be a prerequisite for everything that follows.
First, let’s get our bearings.
At the high end of artificial intelligence are systems like cognitive computing that are allowing driverless cars and other machines to develop the capacity to learn from their experiences in the world — by incorporating nuances, remembering outcomes, and adapting to mistakes. (A recent accident involving a Tesla “autonomous car” has raised questions about AI’s current limits.)