Enterprise AI

The top AI trends of 2019 (and a 2020 preview)

It’s that time of year again. As 2019 winds down, we’re recapping some of the biggest machine learning trends of the year, while giving you a preview of the one trend we think will play the biggest role in shaping the year to come.

Throughout 2019, machine learning adoption has grown exponentially. In fact, in the first quarter of this year alone, investors allocated nearly $43 billion in funding globally to developing machine learning applications and platforms. But it’s not just the growth we saw that made headlines. Let’s take a look at four machine learning trends that we believe defined the past 12 months.

1. Chatbot proliferation continued

Just a few years ago, Business Insider predicted that by 2020, 80% of all enterprises would be using chatbots. And while adoption at that level may take a bit longer, 2019 was nevertheless a big year for chatbots. In fact, according to Salesforce research conducted earlier this year, 53% of service organizations expect to use chatbots within the next 18 months, representing a 136% growth rate. Among the factors driving this growth is the change we’re seeing from users having to learn the interface with chatbots to chatbots being able to learn what users actually want. As improvements continue, chatbots will revolutionize the workplace, how we approaching training and onboarding, and productivity overall.

2. Facial recognition became ubiquitous

Throughout 2019, facial recognition technology has become commonplace and is currently estimated to be a $3.2 billion market. While today it’s how we unlock our iPhones and how Facebook automatically tags photos of our friends and family, going forward it will be the key cutting-edge biometric identification with huge applications for areas like security, healthcare, and marketing and retail.

3. Privacy & policy took center stage

Although data privacy has been a concern for some time, the focus on this important topic really ratcheted up in 2019. These days, not only do 9 in 10 American internet users report having concerns about the privacy and security of their personal information online, 67% are now also advocating for strict national privacy laws. While GDPR went into effect more than a year ago, we can expect more regulations to follow in its wake in 2020 and beyond.

4. Enterprises demanded intelligent applications 

Corporations have been grappling with how best to develop AI capabilities for some time. In 2019, the trend has been not to build those abilities in house, but rather to seek them out in the enterprise applications they buy from software providers. The so-called intelligent applications that today’s corporations seeks are meant to “support or replace human-based activities via intelligent automation, data-driven insights, and guided recommendations to improve productivity and decision making.”

Trust to dominate in 2020

As we look ahead to the year to come, we believe that trust will be the one issue at the heart of every advancement made in machine learning and AI. As this technology becomes more deeply embedded in our lives, the only way to ensure that the process is frictionless and yields the desired outcomes is to ensure that there we’re all focused on delivering privacy, transparency, and security. These are the foundations of trust, and the gold standard which every machine learning system must meet.

Of course, whether or not you choose to bring the benefits of AI to your business in a way that builds trust, or undermines it, will largely depend on the partners you choose to work with. As you weigh your options, ask yourself who’s best positioned to earn your trust and that of your customers.

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