Artificial intelligence is a broad set of software capabilities that make your software smarter. We think it’s going to have as broad (and maybe broader) an impact on software as relational database technologies.
Databases are inside just about every important piece of software you use each day. E.F. Codd’s original research paper proposing the relational database was published in June 1970, Oracle published its first commercially available Oracle V2 database in 1979, and we’ve been building on top of this breakthrough ever since. We’re in the very early years of putting AI in all our software in the same way we put databases in all our software, and this trend will unfold over decades, not months or even years. AI is the new relational database, about to get into every important piece of software we write.
Applications of AI
One way to think of what AI enables is to consider what it will make cheap and thereby ubiquitous. A Harvard Business Review article titled “The Simple Economics of Machine Intelligence”, published in November 2016, argued that AI would make predictions cheap. Let’s expand on this idea. AI will make predictions cheap, true, but it will make other things cheap as well:
- Enable things that move to drive or fly or sail themselves
- Understand people and objects and their relationships in the real world
- Optimize complex systems, such as driving patterns or electricity consumption in data centers
- Create content, such as newspaper articles, tweets, music, websites, movie trailers, and eventually, entire movies
- Understand people, help people understand software, and help people understand each other
To see some examples of each of these AI-powered applications, please visit our companion presentation called The Promise of AI. It’s a 45-minute narrated presentation showing you what companies are doing with AI today, as well as what’s right around the corner in research labs.
For further inspiration, subscribe to one or more of the many excellent daily or weekly newsletters covering artificial intelligence. We list a few in our References section.
Applying AI to Your Business
To get the most out of this site, we recommend that you come up with a few concrete areas where you want to apply AI techniques. Having these in mind will ground your exploration in a concrete software product. For instance, how AI can help:
- Throughout each phase of the product or service lifecycle?
- For each of the functional teams in your organization?
- Achieve high-level business objectives?
- For the most important products or services in your portfolio?
Here is a Google sheet you can use as a template.