Nick Thomson, general manager of AI at iManage, expects artificial intelligence to continue its ‘great disappearing act’.
“AI will instead be plugged into the back of applications. When AI is productised like this, customers don’t have to worry about how to use it or how to wire all the different pieces together – the AI simply becomes part of a product that they can easily take advantage of,” he says.
“Because of this productisation trend, you’ll start to see increasing consolidation among AI vendors for the simple reason that it doesn’t make a lot of sense for tech vendors to each build their own AI engine for their application to sit on top of.”
He adds: “Increasingly, there’s a need for greater explainability with AI. Users need to be able to say how and why the AI arrived at a particular decision rather than just writing off AI as a ‘black box’ whose thought process is totally opaque.
“Because AI is being used to assist with both process automation – extracting clauses from mountains of contracts, for example – as well as decision-making, there needs to be more explainability at that decision-making level.
“Making sure that the rules and the logic behind a decision are not just fully explainable to a human being but also defensible are key to ensuring that AI isn’t inadvertently making bad decisions based on poorly trained models, unintentional bias, or other faulty logic.”
Param Kahlon, chief product officer at UiPath, says ‘semantic automation’ will revolutionise how AI automates processes.
“Today, automation developers need to tell robots what to do, step-by-step: Move here, open this, extract that, bring it there…” he says.
“Semantic automation allows automation to start to move away from rules-based approaches to eliminate much of this developer labour. Semantically enabled robots will not only be able to see and read what’s on the screen; they will also understand the relationships between, and contexts around, documents, processes, data, and applications.
“Soon, software robots will be able to simply observe an activity and begin to emulate it without step-by-step instructions. They’ll recognise the process, understand what data is required, and know where to get this data and where to move it.
“Developers and business users will be able to initiate automation development simply by asking robots to perform a task or complete a workflow.
“CIOs should monitor advances in this revolutionary technology as automation leaders achieve new breakthroughs in AI, machine learning, and pattern recognition into their platforms in 2022.”
Eric Tyree, head of AI and research at robotic process automation experts Blue Prism, says more decision-makers will realise the transformative power of intelligent automation in 2022.
“A key shift we’ll see is the realisation that only a truly unified workforce can deliver a business’s full potential,” he said. “The unified workforce is one where humans and digital robots work as a single cohesive construct.
“Throughout 2022, we’ll see these developments accelerate even further, continually adding to digital robots’ skillset. The embedding of AI and machine learning into digital robots will enable businesses to make automations faster and cheaper to program and execute, increase the scope over which they can be done, and ease the path towards being able to orchestrate digital robots as they expand across the enterprise.
“This in turn will lead to rapid scaling of automation programs to play increasingly strategic roles in businesses.”
Krik Gunning, co-founder and CEO at Fourthline, says society at large has become increasingly interested in and vocal about how personal data is used by technology companies.
“This will lead to more tough questions asked, with answers therefore needing to meet a high ethical bar,” he says.
“Banks will have to be able to explain how AI is applied to compliance and fraud. This also impacts vendor onboarding as it requires an understanding of whether their partners and vendors have full control over the technology they offer.
“Every bank will need to be able to explain both to regulators, and the general public, how and why a decision was taken.”
Fergus Mayne, country manager UK and Ireland at Motorola Solutions, agrees that organisations must continue to educate and provide transparency around the use of AI.
“Algorithms and data analytics are playing an increasingly important role in all aspects of society, including in the UK’s policing and security services. As with any artificial intelligence technology, trust and transparency are vital,” he says.
“A key priority for the successful implementation of AI within public safety is to explain how, when used responsibly, it can have a profound and positive impact. When AI is integrated into a wider set of workflows, its application in a public safety setting is transformative, potentially enabling agencies to predict incidents before they occur.
“The success of public safety technology innovation and the evolution of AI depends on citizens, public safety agencies and enterprises all being able to understand and trust the technologies that we’re increasingly using.
“As we look towards 2022, the gap between safety objectives and technology will continue to close, but its success depends on strong community and stakeholder engagement.”
The challenges the next year will bring with potential COVID-19 restrictions and supply chain issues will see companies turn to AI more than ever before, according to Rory Kenny, CEO of Loudly.
“AI will continue to be an effective tool to analyse consumer behaviour, aiding better informed decision making in terms of marketing and selling strategies,” he says. “With increasing pressure on supply chains, AI offers crucial insight by accurately predicting what products consumers want and need and therefore assisting better product availability for organisations.
“AI will also enhance the above areas such as NFTs and the Metaverse by allowing users to create individual experiences and spaces tailored to their needs and tastes using the technology.
“Additionally, AI will address pain points such as Loudly which allows business teams and individuals to create royalty free music to use on their social media channels, website and marketing collateral.”