Today, in every corner of the world people discuss about two major things: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. Both of these technologies have evolved in a major way and it will further boom in the near future because of level of curiosity the business world as well as societies have right now. Everyone wants everything at tips of their fingers and in a very simplified way.
From Artificial Intelligence perspective, in the last four years, deals with AI startups jumped from 160 in 2012 to 658 in 2016. Companies like Tesla and Google are advancing on this path in a very scary way. Scary because according to the experts, supercomputers could soon surpass human capabilities in almost every area. We will discuss it in detail later.
When we talk about big data, the data that we are generating today is huge. According to forbes.com, every second, we produce 6,000 tweets, 40,000 Google queries, and 2 million emails. By 2019, global web traffic will surpass 2 zettabytes per year. In layman’s terms, one zettabyte is equivalent to 1 billion terabytes. So from processing this data perspective, is it really possible that AI could process everything in today’s scenario. Also, we need to look at it from two different perspectives: one is that in order to increase its revenue, at what level company could go to process data. In this scenario, I am also questioning companies’ motives and ethics. Second scenario is global environment, the amount of gas could be generated is itself scary and how companies and governments would be tackling it is in itself a big question.
Let’s first discuss the positives of both the topics. It is no hidden truth that big data and artificial intelligence helps companies to develop their products as well as to market them. With the help of cognitive computing and processing, companies are able to parse unstructured data like Facebook and YouTube contents which they were not able to do in the past. I am mentioning it because, in the past, companies use to make decisions on the basis of demographics or public perception. Today with the help of social media, companies does not have to depend on perception, they could easily look into Facebook posts or browsing histories.
Today usage of big data and artificial intelligence for marketing products is a most basic thing; we should look at other advanced level examples. Tesla is using big data and AI for its Autopilot feature. Alphabet is using these technologies for real-time maps. The most impactful example from our day-to-day lives would be of ecommerce sites, for example if a price for particular product in one location is X than price for similar product in other location is Y. Over here our thinking should not be one dimensional, we can think of various scenarios of this business model.
Main reason to give example of ecommerce sites was to give an idea of personalized services which companies are trying to give to its customers. I am sure many people are aware of such concepts and many of us are happy with all these things but my worry is that in the race of personalized services what kind of consequences people could face in the near future. Through cookies, companies are also able to gauge if their customers had bought services/products from their rivals. So in terms of personalized services, who will decide the level of deepness in collection of personalized data? I am sure there are consequences waiting for us because some or the other company is going to misuse these technologies.
According to the Guardian article, Data centers are responsible for 2% of greenhouse gas emissions which is equivalent to the air travel. We are increasingly becoming more dependent on big data, video streaming, etc.
I would also like to discuss on how big data and artificial intelligence could fit in our civilized societies. There are two aspects which come to my mind right now. First aspect is about big data and AI replacing humans as decision makers. Few days back I was going through one article where the author discussed about using technology in law firm. For example platform or software will go through all the paper work of the case and will direct lawyers on what points they need to concentrate. Now the software better be 100% accurate otherwise it could seriously damage someone’s life.
Second aspect is about automating jobs through AI, this is itself a big topic and needs more attention towards it. We are already seeing in manufacturing setup as well as IT-BPO sector where already industry leaders are mentioning about the same.