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AI and data analytics = most disruptive tech in 2018

We asked tech companies to pick the top two emerging technologies that they expect to cause disruption in 2018.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the clear favourite, with 66% of tech companies seeing its disruptive potential coming good in 2018. AI is increasingly seen as “mainstream” – already used in many functions, services and sectors and often unnoticed by consumers. Tech respondents believe AI has matured, reaching a stage where it will have a real impact.

“Half of AI research should be focused on human empowerment – on human-directed AI. John O'MaliaIf we achieve that, then the world will be a very different place in 10 years’ time.”
 

John O’Malia, founder and CEO of VAIX.ai

Data analytics comes a strong second (chosen by 43%). One respondent believes that “data is the new oil”. Data is now a highly valuable commodity and any companies with a data component to their product or service can expect higher revenues and business valuations. When combined with AI, data analytics can become particularly powerful. Having solved so many ‘Big Data’ problems, data analytics is now being used to drive businesses’ expansion plans and focus.

One challenge may be for smaller, innovative tech companies to take advantage. The eco-system of SME tech companies that has formed around global giants such as Facebook and Google must be under threat. If there’s a data problem to be fixed or an opportunity for new revenues, can a start-up or SME compete with the developmental power of the giants? 

Just over a quarter of tech companies expect blockchain to be a key disruptive force in 2018. Blockchain is less advanced along the impact curve and still subject to much hype. But many tech respondents think its time has come, based on its ability to remove many standard business processes. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to have a major disruptive impact in 2018 by 25% of our respondents. However, one commented: “IoT will take a while to develop as there aren't yet established ecosystems for third party applications – these are likely to emerge over time.”


charcoal light bulbOutlook #2: Enterprise chatbots (continue) to take over

Through progressive developments in AI, we can expect a greater proliferation of enterprise chatbots as a result of the advancements in deep learning, natural language processing, and conversational interfaces. In fact, many tech companies – including IBM, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon – are already pursuing M&A as part of their strategy to build chatbots.

global spending on cognitive and AI systems

 Read next chapter: Sectors in line for disruption 

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