What’s the Deal With AI Connectors
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing our lives, and these days feels more omnipresent than ever before. From Siri to autonomous cars, AI is progressing at a rapid pace. Moving beyond its sci-fi-movie robot image, AI has become embedded in our daily lives, as we use Google search algorithms, book a quick ride with Uber, and manage our smart homes.
On the business side, AI has immense potential to catapult enterprises to a whole new level, where machines will augment human intelligence for complex decision making. I believe it won’t be long before we start leveraging AI engines on a daily basis to conduct routine business. This flavor of AI for the enterprise can be referred to as an ‘intelligent systems’ approach. The future of enterprise decision-making systems is here, with embedded AI being the core transformational force.
Having said that, quite a few companies these days boast about their AI capabilities, though all they have is an AI connector to devices like Alexa and Google Home, with the intention to equip their antiquated application suites with a natural language.
To the uninitiated, this may cause some initial excitement, but leads to profound confusion about the use and scope of AI in the enterprise, and the role of the so-called AI connectors. To those well-versed in the domain of AI and enterprise software, the superficial addition of AI connectors feels like putting lipstick on a pig. This, however, does not stop enterprise software vendors from beating their chests about developing AI connectors to outdated Business Intelligence platforms, attempting to give those platforms a fresh breath of air. To me, it seems like a cruel joke on customers, as they are being set up for huge disappointments.
We must ask then, given the enterprise context, what is the ‘real value’ of an AI connector, and what does it stand for?
Let’s use the analogy of walking into a dealership to buy a car. The dealer enthusiastically describes the great features of the car, but then hands over all the parts to you to figure out and assemble yourself.
If, in our analogy, we gamely attempt to assemble the car, at least we might expect an AI connector to be analogous to the engine of the car; but sadly, these AI connectors may not even compare to a smart windshield wiper. This is exactly what what you get buying AI connectors for an enterprise: lots of headache, minimal value.
Now, let’s imagine an enterprise, and assume that we have connected a Business Intelligence System with one of these AI connectors. What is the value you would expect from such a connection? To my mind, it will be the same old demonstration of KPIs and standard metrics, without any context or reasoning. Would you really call this AI? At best, I would call it ‘rehabilitated Business Intelligence.’
So what is the real definition of Artificial Intelligence for business?
An Artificial Intelligence (AI) system should exhibit human-like intelligence and behavior, self-learning ability, and automation of business processes while augmenting human decision making. One of the key characteristics of an AI system is the ability to converse in a natural language, to comprehend conversation and interact with intelligent responses.
Dive in a bit, and you will realize that most of these companies are putting Alexa and Google Home as their front-end, calling it AI just because they can talk! These human-like interface devices are just empty shells, and they need a robust AI engine working behind the scenes for these devices to exhibit the true behavior of AI.
Let’s get into the real nut and bolts to understand what it takes to build an AI engine. Below is a picture that will illustrate high-level steps involved in building a true Enterprise Class Artificial Intelligence-Based Conversational Engine that can demonstrate real business value.
Life cycle for an Artificial Intelligence-Based Conversational Interface.
This should give a fair understanding of the high-level steps to build an artificial intelligence application, involving neural networks, semantics, NLP, domain ontologies, etc.
That said, we are rapidly replacing the traditional era of programmatic computing with a new age of ‘Cognitive Computing.’ This is made possible through innovations around natural language programming and neural networks. In a nutshell, it means that we don’t need to be explicitly coding everything to accomplish a certain task, and are marching towards systems that can learn and augment human intelligence.
AI is the new UI—experience above all. Artificial intelligence is coming of age, tackling problems both big and small, by making interactions simple and smart. AI is about to become a new user interface and change the way we transact and interact with our systems. It’s much deeper and more revolutionary than the superficial addition of AI connectors.
Why AI Models Eat BI Dashboards for Lunch
Many organizations devote precious time and resources developing predictive AI/ML models to determine what might happen in the future. The ultimate goal of these models... + 2021-03-26
Why More BI Dashboards Don’t Mean Better Decisions
A typical analytics dashboard, whether it’s viewed as a pivot table in Excel or within a business intelligence (BI) platform, is often the primary source... + 2021-03-17
How banks can leverage AI to better manage pandemic relief programs
The recent massive economic shifts due to COVID-19 have driven up risk for the vast majority of financial services institutions. Customer sentiment, spending and behavior... + 2020-07-28
Financial Services: Preparing for the Looming Credit Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected financial institutions – slowing the growth of loan originations, increasing credit costs, contracting economic activity, and causing record levels... + 2020-05-15
Can retailers find strategies that balance short-term recovery with long-term sustainability to lead them out of the COVID-19 crisis?
Retail and fashion business leaders are currently focusing on business continuity (“keep the lights on”) and crisis management (“sell the right stuff”), but soon they... + 2020-05-05
Transforming Business Decisioning in the Pandemic era is more crucial than ever.
Our human tendency toward incremental thinking limited us from foreseeing how “a few cases of the flu” would balloon into the impact we see today.... + 2020-05-01
Surviving COVID-19: How can Retailers free up working capital tied-up in inventory?
Among the many sectors affected by COVID-19, retail will be one of the hardest hit. The sudden decline is attributed to country-wide store shut-downs and... + 2020-04-23
Don’t let your shiny AI models lose their luster!
Businesses have made significant investments in building AI/ML models in recent times. While models are increasingly driving significant operational efficiencies and differentiation for businesses, they... + 2020-04-22
AI Modeling in the time of Covid-19
Companies of all sizes are facing unprecedented uncertainty and challenges due to the global impacts of COVID-19. It has created a major systemic shock to... + 2020-04-14
How to derive value from your AI investments with Decision Intelligence
Ultimately, a company’s value is measured by the sum of its decisions. In order to succeed, the organization must make and execute decisions—across all levels... + 2020-01-24
Why isn’t my enterprise getting value from AI at scale?
Why do most AI initiatives for business fizzle out? Why do so many teams’ best efforts to develop or deploy new algorithms or predictive models... + 2019-11-21
Here’s why you’re probably losing the AI race
As the AI arms race is becoming more heated, more organizations are looking to beef up their competitive advantage... + 2019-08-01
Data In Wisdom Out
I am often asked by the curious, what do we actually mean by “wisdom out”. Is it just a marketing ploy or is there something more to it?... + 2018-10-31
Is Data a source of value?
We have always been exposed to natural and man-made events and have wondered and been impacted by their outcomes... + 2018-10-16
The Future of Decision Making: Human-AI Symbiosis
When we have to make an important decision, we face numerous challenges: uncertainty, complex data that’s difficult to interpret, competing priorities... + 2018-09-20
Digital Transformation- a $900B failure this year alone
Digital transformation has become a major priority for most organizations in some form or another, but for many, it’s proving to be quite the challenge... + 2018-09-20
So What’s AI’s Dirty Little Secret?
One could read the massively hyped claims of the trillions in productivity gains and then how far AI still has to go for real-world application... + 2018-09-20
How AI can rescue your BI “situation”
Even with a few credible upstarts in the past couple years, Self-Service BI still seems to be dominated by some large players that also require some very large and "very ongoing" commitments... + 2018-03-20
Business First! – how diwo aspires to flatten the knowledge pyramid
We can all agree on the fact that we are sitting on an unprecedented volume of data, and it is continuing to accumulate exponentially... + 2017-09-18
The Growing Market Impact Of AI
The future is always uncharted territory, and in the hype that currently sorrounds AI, with its ambiguous... + 2017-09-18
AI: How It Will Redefine My Job?
In the past few years, there has been an explosion in innovation and interest around Artificial Intelligence... + 2017-09-18
Wait Less, Sense More, Act Fast!
“If I had more legs, I could walk faster. If I had more hands, I could handle more, and if I had extra senses, I could respond wiser” – did you ever wish that?... + 2017-09-11
Unlocking the holy grail of UX design: bias-free user feedback in real time!
The potential of measuring emotional feedback from users is an exciting proposition in many fields, not least because it offers the possibility of unlocking... + 2017-07-25
What’s the Deal With AI Connectors
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing our lives, and these days feels more omnipresent than ever before. From Siri to autonomous cars... + 2017-07-25
Business Analytics-Why Search is Not Enough
Due to the popularity of internet searches, many businesses have attempted to adapt the search paradigm to tame their own unruly document clutter... + 2016-09-15
Drowning in data? Still no excuse for inaction!
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we had a total understanding of the laws governing the reality around us? Imagine for a... + 2016-09-15