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Thinking ahead with AI

Thinking ahead with AI

Futurist Simon Raik-Allen on a basic, but incredibly powerful step to take in the digital era.

AI eats data for breakfast. If your data is on pieces of paper around the office, it is not going to help you.

Simon Raik-Allen, MYOB

When humans are augmented with technology, a lot more interactions with businesses will occur at a completely different layer than we are working with today, says futurist Simon Raik-Allen.

In the past two decades, the influence of digital technology has transformed every aspect of business and daily life, says Raik-Allen, the chief technology officer at MYOB.

And, as he noted in the latest MYOB report on the future of business, “the pinnacle of what we are aiming to achieve through this technology is artificial intelligence”.

“We are getting better and better at understanding the human brain and copying what it does. We are creating computers that are not only smarter, but able to think like humans – only at exponentially faster speeds and with instantaneous access to near limitless sources of information.

“When that ability to understand what is happening within our own bodies from a physical and chemical point of view, as well as a deeper awareness of how the brain works, is coupled with advances in artificial intelligence - we have the basis for the next evolutionary stage of humanity: the augmented human.”

In the MYOB report he forecasts the inevitable rise of the augmented human, where “biology and technology will blend to offer a range of physical and mental enhancements”.

“What a business needs to do today is to start to prepare their systems” for artificial intelligence, he says.

Read more: Prepare for the rise of the augmented human: Futurist Simon Raik-Allen

“Get online, get digital, import all your books, and bring them all online.

“Make sure you can analyse your data,” says Raik-Allen. “When we get artificial intelligence, AI eats data for breakfast. If your data is on pieces of paper around the office, it is not going to help you.”

His advice to organisations is this: “Get all of your business online, get data into systems now if you want to take advantage of it.”

He says this advice covers businesses of all sizes.

Read more: CIO Upfront: ​The main challenge is not about having too few data scientists

“You must get a website,” he says, noting how a recent MYOB survey on SMBs finds a low uptake of websites in this sector.

“Start there, just embrace it so people will find you online,” he says.

“The youth of today, the millennials, are looking for you on Instagram, on Snapchat. If you are not there, you are not visible.”

Digital Darwinism is unkind to those who wait, says Ray Wang of Constellation Research

Read more: The disruption of Disney

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

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