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Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way in recent years. But for AI to really deliver on its promise, it needs to do one more thing. It should be easy to use. This is as important as all the computational and technical components that make AI possible in the first place.
AI is at the stage where it is ready to get into the hands of ordinary people. It’s the same place computers were more than 40 years ago, when Apple envisioned an easy-to-use, low-cost personal computer for the average consumer and then turned that vision into reality.
Only if we follow Apple’s lead and apply those lessons to AI will it take off and live up to its almost limitless potential. We need to demystify AI and make it practical for everyone. On the business side, we need to make AI easy for businesses and their employees to incorporate into their workflows. This will be a game-changer for AI adoption in the future.
In its current form, AI is too inscrutable. There are too many grandiose use cases and too few data scientists to realize them. So for most people, AI is a technology that is always ahead. We need a new generation of integrated, turnkey solutions that make it easy for anyone to tap into the power of AI and enjoy its full benefits.
Today, AI is primarily the playground of an elite group of tech giants, such as companies: google and Microsoft, who have invested billions in the development and use of AI. If you look beyond those companies, AI is often underused in other sectors, be it manufacturing, education, retail, or healthcare.
All of these industries generate huge amounts of data, but AI is rarely used to analyze large data sets and learn from the patterns and features present in the data. The question is, why? The answer is lack of access, understanding and skills. Most businesses do not have access to the sophisticated and expensive computing resources required. And they don’t have access to the expensive and limited AI talent needed to use those resources correctly.
These are the two limitations that keep AI from mainstream adoption. But they can be solved if we make AI easy to adopt and easy to use for immediate value. Here are three ways we can create an Apple-like experience for AI and bridge the gap to a future where AI helps companies do more than they ever imagined.
1. Leverage existing work on artificial intelligence
There is so much AI work in the cloud, so there is no longer a need for companies to train their AI from scratch. They can exploit the existing work. They don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They can take already functioning AI solutions and use them to meet their own needs. But they can’t do it unless they have an easy, seamless, Mac-like interface to work with.
An illustrative example can be found in the world of e-commerce, in the way Shopify has created an easy-to-use, Mac-like interface that makes it easy for any retailer to sell products online. Retailers don’t need to know how to build their own shopping cart technology or integrate it with their billing software, for example. Shopify gives them all the parts they need in one simple package. AI companies can follow this model by providing users in all industries with out-of-the-box, easy-to-use AI tools that they can use right away to meet their business needs.
2. Keep improving the AI every day
AI is able to continuously learn and improve itself. That’s his genius. You know that if you own a Tesla, because almost every time you drive there is a new software update. This is happening because there are now millions of Teslas on the road and all those vehicles are collecting data, which is used every day to improve every vehicle. This kind of learning and knowledge sharing needs to happen with AI in every industry and in different applications.
3. Take advantage of the latest AI models
The AI techniques that were used just three or four years ago, although revolutionary at the time, are now obsolete. New, improved AI models and neural networks are constantly emerging, similar to how we as humans develop skills when we learn something new and continue to develop and add new skills throughout our lives. But for AI users to benefit, they need a new processor architecture and programming model with the flexibility to run both AI and non-AI algorithms.
Once this happens, we will usher in a new era of more practical and commercially viable AI products across a wide range of use cases and industries. Soon we will be able to overcome the existing limitations of power, complexity and cost.
All businesses should focus on what they do best, whether it’s building better products or serving customers better. AI can boost their ability to do this. It can help them work more efficiently and ultimately increase profitability. AI is already streamlining workflows through advanced automation, accelerating processing through edge computing and supercharged data analytics. For example, in a manufacturing company, AI can reduce the number of product defects. For a healthcare provider, AI can increase the accuracy of diagnoses and minimize prescribing errors, saving lives.
We’re just scratching the surface of AI use cases. And we’ll go further, but to bring the benefits of AI to any business, we need to make AI as easy to use as a MacBook. Only then can we unleash the real power of artificial intelligence. MACifying AI is really the next leap forward.
Dinakar Munagala is CEO of Blaize†
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