Insights from AI World 2016 | Top Takeaways

Last week, the Appen team attended the inaugural AI World Conference & Expo in San Francisco, where over 2000 attendees from a variety of industries convened to hear from business leaders who are using Artificial Intelligence to drive growth for their companies. According to the conference organizers, “more than 55% of our attendees came from global 2000 organizations and heard from innovation leaders from more than 100 companies including Google, General Electric, Nielsen, McKinsey, Schlumberger, Facebook, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, NTT, IBM, SRI and Baidu.”

While the concept of AI is not new, the technology is experiencing a rebirth in the form of machine learning and cognitive computing, with companies from startups to enterprises looking to benefit from AI’s potential.

Here are our top takeaways from the event:

While AI may replace some human effort, it won’t eliminate it.
Dr. Neil Eklund, Chief Data Scientist, Schlumberger who spoke in the day 1 executive panel,  suggested that human experts are still a necessity for fine-tuning AI. Further, Dr. Eklund  recommended that as a best practice to set acceptable accuracy rates and when data shows a drop below those thresholds, human intervention is necessary. You’ll want to make sure that human-generated data is a key component of your AI initiatives.

Before jumping into AI, make sure you have a strong business case.
Two speakers – Beena Ammanath, VP, Data and Analytics, General Electric and Mark Bünger, VP of Research, Lux Research – strongly recommended that firms considering AI make sure that to clearly identify the business need for AI and the economic value they are seeking to accomplish before starting up an AI initiative. In other words, don’t let the technology dictate the business problem you are trying to solve; make sure that the business problem has been clearly identified and that AI is the right solution.

For AI to be successful, you need Big Data.
Dr. William Mark, President, Information and Computing Sciences, SRI International, suggested that for your AI initiatives to be successful, you can’t rely on small amounts of data. Big data is needed to provide the right level of inputs that will result in better-informed business decisions.

Natural language has the potential become a unifying interface.
Dr. William Meisel, president of TMA Associates led a session entitled “Intelligent Assistants and Bots – What You Need to Know”, where he discussed the importance of natural language in the AI space. According to Dr. Meisel, “Human language is poised to become the major unifying interface across all platforms, including websites, mobile phones, automobiles and devices in the home”. As customers expect devices, applications and bots to respond in a human-like fashion, players in this space need to ensure they have the right data to meet the needs of their consumers. Meisel went on to say that “bots will be a major way to close sales”, so investments in natural language must be made to capitalize on this opportunity.

At Appen, we have played a key role in the evolution of natural language processing and conversational understanding, having spent the last 20 years working with the top global technology companies to build speech and natural language interfaces for the leading virtual assistants on the market today. We also have many years of experience in transforming data to power the world’s leading search engines, social media and eCommerce sites.

We can help you:

  • Deepen your bot’s conversational understanding with expert natural language processing capabilities
  • Quickly scale your bot or train your machine learning model by sourcing millions of quality data samples
  • Develop flexible experiments to generate the training data you need in your desired timeframe
  • Ensure global relevance with access to in-market resources in over 140 countries

Do you have the quality, human-generated data you need for your AI initiatives to be effective? Contact us here to set up a time to talk about how we can help.

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