How Far Will Technology Take Us?

I remember a friend who always had the latest gadgets, showing off the first iPhone he’d picked up in the US. He was having difficulty connecting to an Australian network but was convinced this was a tool of the future. Most he showed it to thought it was a gimmick, a phone with better games. These same people had embraced the iPhone 3g within 18 months, consigning their Nokias to history.

Ten years on and smartphones are indispensable. We cannot survive without connectivity, relying on the Internet almost totally for communication and services, both public and private. The World Wide Web is only in its third decade but we would grind to a halt as a society without it.

The emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning

New technologies are now emerging, facilitated by considerable computing capacity and connectivity. In the past, artificial intelligence (AI) was only associated with more efficient impregnation of cows, now it has an entirely different meaning. AI is already being used in our everyday lives and will continue to develop at a fast pace. The very essence of it creates ever-greater capacity for machine learning, constantly improving predictive ability.

UK company, Babylon Health is mixing AI with doctors to develop a massive database of case history, symptoms and diagnosis. This knowledge base will not disappear when a doctor retires. With every consult Babylon’s capacity grows as does the consistency of its diagnoses. What’s more, it never gets bored or tired after a long shift. The big question is: will we reach the point where doctors become redundant? The upside of which may be freeing them up for more effective health roles.

What this means for business and investment

Technological change is having a constant, sizeable impact across all industries. Whether planning strategically or analysing risk, it must be taken into consideration. Few of us can stay ahead of the change but we can identify the technologies most likely to influence our future. Keeping a weather eye on specific fields is wise. It’s also made very much easier by the AI bots that run around the web picking up related information the moment it becomes public.

Making smart investments

As AI begins to take hold of business it is imperative to understand what areas of business are safe to invest in and why. Recently the 10 most likely professions to be replaced by AI were revealed. The list included jobs such as receptionists, couriers, telemarketers and bookkeepers. It can be said that robot like machines will be able to complete these jobs with no ‘human’ error. This could mean that businesses that specialise in these professions will have to adapt to these changes to stay in the market or completely divest. Therefore, it can be said that investing in a telemarketing business would not necessarily be the smartest move in 2017 and moving forward.

However, the era of AI comes with its benefits. AI can be applied both in robotics to replace the aforementioned roles and machine learning. Machine learning uses algorithms to produce relevant information for users, similar to Google. Machine learning will also benefit big data analysis, allowing businesses to predict what their future customer wants and needs. In a recent article The Economist stated, “the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”.

Monitoring progress of related AI creates the capacity to use it to gain a competitive edge. If you would like to have a chat about what AI means for you and your investments give us a call.

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