1 to 1 billion in 30 steps

05 Jun 2017

There’s no denying it, Artificial intelligence is shaping up as the next industrial revolution, poised to rapidly reinvent business, the global economy and how people work and interact with each other.

The fear that surrounds machine learning, and the undeniable truth that computers are improving at a rate faster than anything else on the planet can often blindsight marketeers, creating a reluctance and friction to harness data and Ai in an impactful and meaningful way.

Our industry has a responsibility to demystify Ai, so we can begin to (to quote Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Professor at MIT Sloan School, and Research Associate at NBER) “race with the machines”.

We’re swimming in Ai already, and have been for a very long time. Web search, advertising, analytics—all of those things are already powered by Ai and we take it for granted because it’s ‘just there’. What about when you hit the button for your Deliveroo and it predicts how long the food will take to get to you–more Ai at your service.

It’s been a mere 27 years since the internet changed every single industry across the world; and now we’re about to go into a phase where data will change pretty much every major industry again.

Things are changing on an almost unprecedented scale. If I took 30 steps linearly I’d get to 30. One, two, three, four until I get to 30. But with technology and the amount of data we’re generating every day we’re reaching a very different junction. The smartphone has really shifted our entire culture and the volume of data we generate, making us wake up and realise how quickly things are accelerating.Technology doesn’t grow sequentially like people, it grows exponentially. It doesn’t go from 1 to 30 across 30 steps, it goes from 1 to 1 billion in 30 steps. One, two, four, eight and by the time it gets to 30, we’re at a billion. Our industry is just getting to the 30th step. The next 33 steps don’t get us to 63, they get us to 18 million trillion, and that exponential growth is not going to stop.

The new Ai Think Tank at BIMA has been set up to answer the growing cries of help from all our members on what they should be doing, why they should be doing it and what the implications of all these nascent artificial intelligence and machine-learning powered tools are on businesses and their audiences. It’s quickly becoming the time of the data driven world and we want that to be the clear direction for all our members at BIMA. Embrace the data, it’s not going away. Love the data, it’s going to help you find the perfect partner or optimise your business to become the perfect purring engine.

Just recently, Singularity’s Neil Jacobstein was talking about a team at Northwestern University in Illinois who had developed a piece of Ai that could solve the Raven Progressive Matrices Test. The test is the next step on from Turing. It tests the intelligence of visual and analogical reasoning. We’re close to the predictions of the visionaries like Ray Kurzweil. He calls it the Law of Accelerating Returns and the implications on our industry that once mined the data to look retrospectively back and make future upgrades is going to be significant.

We’re not scared about it, the robots won’t eat our breakfast or take our jobs, they’ll simply make things a lot smarter – give us back some time to do the things we love. Which is why with the new BIMA Ai Think Tank we’re not just passing information to our members, we’re also celebrating and championing the change-makers. The data-scientists and teams in analytics and Ai who are taming this new power and using it to do amazing things. We’re seeing companies using it’s power for research, mental health support. We see people who want to help us spend smarter and be happier in all aspects of our life. I meet agencies who want to see energy companies put the smart into meter reading and the power of that data straight into our pockets. It’s these people who are going to blaze the trails.

At the core of this movement shaping our industry are people with the dominant trait of intense curiosity—a desire to go beneath the surface of a problem. What’s not to celebrate about that? The people who’ve created things that find the problems and distill them into a very clear set of hypotheses that you feed to the new generation of stochastic algorithms and ‘automagic’ machines. It’s these people, and the clients brave enough to embrace these curiosities that should be celebrated. It’s why the ‘Big Data’ category in the newly revamped BIMA Awards has been carefully crafted, and fronted by some of the leading minds in the field.

The combination of human + artificial intelligence is fascinating and has potential to create combined systems that are smarter than either alone. We’ve been doing it for almost 20 years – we’re smarter when we have access to Google.

Find out more about the BIMA Ai Think Tank here >> 

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