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December 14, 2016updated 13 Jan 2017 11:40am

15 Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017: Expect AI-as-a-Service, smart malware and a Digital Moriarty

Master cyber criminals, super-trojans, workforce shifts, advanced analytics and more - CBR talks to the experts about how 2017 could prove an even bigger, smarter year for artificial intelligence.

By Ellie Burns

AI certainly arrived with aplomb in 2016 with chatbots, digital assistants, Pokemon, Watson, and DeepMind just some of the AI companies and tech bringing artificial intelligence to the masses. The opportunities, benefits and promise of the technology, so experts say, is vast – limitless even – so what can we expect in the coming year?CBR talked to the top AI experts about their artificial intelligence predictions for the new year, with 2017 already shaping up to be even smarter than 2016.


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of the digital Moriarty

Ian Hughes Analyst, Internet of Things, 451 Research

“With so much data flowing from the interconnected world of IoT, higher end AI is being used to find security holes and anomalies in systems that are too complex for humans to control. Security breaches we have seen so far have been brute force ones, the equivalent of a digital crow bar.

“AI being used to protect is clearly a benefit, but this technology is increasingly available to anyone, replacing the digital crow bar with a virtual master criminal, 2017 might just see Holmes versus Moriarty digital intellects start to battle it out behind the scenes.”

Artificial Intelligence Predictions


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year Machines Steal more human jobs than ever before

Dik Vos, CEO at SQS

“We will continue to see a rise in digital technology over the coming years, and 2017 will be the year we see the likes of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automated vehicles take the place of low-skilled workers.

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With machines pushing humans out of a number of jobs including, logistics drivers and factory workers, I predict we will see an increased emphasis placed on the retraining of up to 30 per cent of our working population. People want and need to work and 2017 will see those workers who have lost their jobs through digitalisation, start to filter across a variety of other sectors including manufacturing and labour.”


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of the Buzzword Mart

Hal Lonas, CTO at Webroot

“In 2017 we will see an explosion of companies shopping at Buzzword Mart. The growing attention paid to terminology like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will lead to more firms incorporating “me too” marketing claims into their messaging.  Artificial Intelligence predictions -buzzwordProspective buyers should take these claims with a grain of salt and carefully check the pedigree and experience of firms claiming to use these advanced approaches. Buyers are rightfully confused, and it is difficult to compare, prove, or disprove efficacy in an ecosystem where market messaging is dominated by legacy or unicorn-funded voices. All too often we see legacy technology bolting barely-functional technology onto bloated and ill-architected heavy-weight solutions, leading to a poor end product whose flaws can range from bad user experience to security vulnerabilities.

“This rings especially true for security, where the distinction between legitimate machine learning trained threat intelligence and a second-rate snap-on solution can be the difference between leaking critical customer or IP data files, or blocking the threat before it reaches the network.”


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of AI-as-a-service

Abdul Razack, SVP & Head of Platforms, Big Data and Analytics, Infosys

“AI-as-a-Service will take off: In 2016 AI was applied to solve known problems. As we move forward we will start leveraging AI to gain greater insights into ongoing problems that we didn’t even know existed. Using AI to uncover these “unknown unknowns” will free us to collaborate more and tackle new, interesting and life-changing challenges.”


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year CIOs Take the AI Helm

Graeme Thompson, SVP and CIO, Informatica

“With the accelerating pace of business, organisations need to deliver change and make decisions at a rate unheard of just a few years ago. This has made human-paced processing insufficient in the face of the petabytes and exabytes of data that are pouring into the enterprise, driving a rise in machine learning and AI.

“Whereas before, machines would be used to complete a few tasks within a workflow, now they are executing almost the entire process, with humans only required to fill in the gaps.

“Rewind 20 years and we used tools like MapQuest to figure out the shortest distance between two points, but we never would have trusted it to tell us where to go. Now, with new developments like Waze, many of us delegate the navigation of a journey entirely to a machine.

Artificial Intelligence Predictions - leader

“Before long, humans will no longer be needed to fill the gaps. We’ll find that machines are fully autonomous in the case of driverless cars, for example, because they can store and make sense of much more information than humans can process. However, organisations capitalising on the benefits of AI and machine learning will have to ensure data quality to guarantee the accuracy of these fast responses. Un-validated or inaccurate data in a machine learning algorithm causes misleading insights or inaccurate actions when automated.

“In 2017, CIOs will be tasked with taking the helm of data driven initiatives and ensuring that data is clean enough to be processed by machines to drive fast and accurate insight and action.”

Taking an alternative view to many, Abdul Razack from Infosys thinks AI can solve the workforce crisis – see what he says on the next page


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year that AI Runs Your Life

Mark Stewart, CTO, Mubaloo

“This year, personal assistants such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa have been much talked about, the most exciting prediction for AI in 2017 will be the rise of AI-enabled assistants that not only action commands, but actually run your life for you. Although today, assistants can order a taxi, check the weather report and play a requested piece of music, the user has to request them to do so, essentially operating the device himself. In future, AI-enabled assistants will be proactive, not reactive, adding a new layer of sophistication to your experience with them.

“For example, you might currently ask Amazon Alexa to add items to your shopping list

and read it out to you before you leave the house. How about if you went to the shops and as you went to pay with your phone, the assistant would remind you that you forgot to buy milk, having checked the items on your shopping list and cross-referenced

Artificial Intelligence Predictions - amazon-alexa

Amazon Alexa

it with the items listed at the checkout? Apart from this very basic example, using an ecosystem of connected, AI-enabled devices such as Google Pixel and Google Home (both using your Google Assistant profile) will also mean that if there are changes to your usual patterns and behaviours, the assistant can step in and make helpful suggestions. For example, if you are usually at home by 7pm but are stuck in traffic, Google Assistant might in future suggest a takeaway from a local restaurant, delivered to you at the estimated arrival time, rather than suggesting a dinner recipe which it knows will take you longer to cook.

“Developments around AI are definitely entering a very exciting stage and as barriers for adoption drop, technology providers will find it more attractive to invest in them. 2017 could therefore be the year when not only no birthdays and anniversaries will be forgotten anymore, but the perfect gift will arrive just in time on the recipient’s doorstep. Who said that small steps like this won’t make the world a much better place for everyone?”


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of Advanced Analytics

Stuart Reed, Global Director at NTT Security

“One of the big data challenges for cybersecurity is how to drive relevance and insight from all of the various pieces of technology used to protect an organisation. Data analysis has been used to give meaning, but as the threat landscape evolves, so too must the way we interpret and drive context from information. Advanced analysis will be key in 2017 in making sure the right risk management decisions are made.

“This is far more than just looking at what is going on right now; it also means looking at historic patterns, and employing artificial intelligence (AI) that continually learns patterns of behaviour and ultimately anticipates or predicts when an attack may occur.  A balance of sophisticated machine learning, automated analysis and “eyes on glass” security experts will be a powerful combination that will change the dynamics of managed security.”


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year AI Give a Competitive Edge

Shankar Narayanan, Head of UK&I at TCS

“Companies investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) now will gain a massive and disproportionate advantage. The leaders in AI who are making the biggest commitments will leapfrog others; such is the transformative impact this technology will have.

“At this moment in time, we are at a tipping point for the technology which will very quickly start to radically impact the way things are done and the productivity of those organisations that have made the investments. The comparative advantage will be great.”


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year AI Goes Hollywood

Ian Hughes Analyst, Internet of Things, 451 Research

“Automation often occurs around the routine and the mundane, this is moving up the stack now though with AI. Autonomous vehicles will need to interact with higher order infrastructure such as cities, gradually removing human intervention over the next few years but we also see similar things occurring in creative and design industries such as IBM Watson creating a film trailer based on analysing the optimum style and pace from many other trailers or the Saatchi and Saatchi Eclipse movie created entirely by AI processes from shooting to editing.

“AI is also being used as creative augmentation tool, and this will continue. Autodesk’s Dreamcatcher, currently in beta, is a design tool that explores the boundaries of a product and using generative techniques suggests improvements, the human has the idea and the machine riffs and creates permutations from that, it also brings in real time digital twin IoT data to optimize the next iteration.”

Artificial Intelligence Predictions - Hollywood


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year AI Solves the Workforce Crisis

Abdul Razack, SVP & Head of Platforms, Big Data and Analytics, Infosys

“AI will be seen as solving the workforce crisis, not creating it: As the baby boomer generation retires, enterprises are on the brink of losing significant institutional mindshare and knowledge. With the astronomical price tag of losing these workers, enterprises are turning to knowledge management and machine learning to train AI to capture institutional knowledge and act on our behalf. In the coming year and beyond, we will see AI adoption not only come from technological need, but also from the need to capture current employee insights and know-how.”



How will AI make shoe shopping smart – continue reading to find out


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of the AI Consumer

Babak Hodjat, Co-founder, Sentient Technologies

“Imagine if you were able to buy a pair of shoes that are best suited for you, by simply interacting visually with an existing inventory of shoes. And imagine those shoes being one of a kind, unique to your preferences and sensibilities. That’s coming.

“Today, AI has the ability to identify features of products in a brand’s inventory. AI can also broker the interactions between consumers and the inventory, helping them discover the products they need. By tracking the feature sets most popular among different user groups, AI can come up with designs for new products that have a high likelihood of being popular.”


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of Smart Malware & the Super-Trojan

Alex Mathews, Lead Security Evangelist, Positive Technologies

“Looking at the role that artificial intelligence (AI) will play in cyber threats next year there are a few trends developing. The first is smart malware, and we’re already have an inkling of what’s to come from the diversity displayed in recent behaviour. For example, clever malware programs will analyse the environment when it lands on a network to determine if it’s in a sandbox or honeypot, and then conceal its true intentions or delay its actual behaviour to evade detection. We’ve also seen instances of smart malware self-assembling elements hidden in different files.

“Another practice we’ve witnessed is where the program will mutate while also replicating its ‘parent’s signature’ rendering antivirus systems unable to detect ‘malware offspring’. It’s also capable of performing multi-stage attacks that make a gradual capture of related and built-in systems. All this leads us to predict that we’re on the cusp of a super-Trojan coming in 2017.”

Artificial Intelligence predictions - trojan


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of AI Security

Péter Gyöngyösi,  Product Manager of Blindspotter at Balabit

“Behaviour analysis and other AI-based methods will be used to detect suspicious activities and become more mainstream solutions. Most security products, regardless of their focus, will add these sort of advanced features.  Just as standardised test suites exist for common AI problems and the EICAR virus sample files exist to test the functionality of scanners, we will begin to see standard tests emerge that can be used to verify and quantify the otherwise hard to measure quality of AI-based tools. We will begin to see the first “battle of the AIs” in the wild in which malware starts to actively trick and evade the algorithms used by defences.”


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year AI rescues privacy concerns

Babak Hodjat, Co-founder, Sentient Technologies

“The processing power and memory available on IoT devices allow us now to run AI on top of our in-home devices. Imagine if your security system could tell when you walk in and not force you to hurriedly switch the alarm off every time. Currently, to make this work, the in-home systems would need to send raw data,  say from cameras in the home to the cloud in order to be able to sense what is happening around them.

“This is a very legitimate privacy concern which can be solved with AI by processing and making decisions from the raw data at the point of need, instead of sending it to the cloud where the data can be vulnerable. This will become more and more commonplace, as required response times for such decisions decrease, and applications encapsulate the decision/action loop locally.”


Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year AI Is Given A Reality Check

Joe Korngiebel, senior vice president of user experience, Workday

“No, the machines are not taking over, but we are at a critical inflection point. As Artificial Intelligence predictions - reality checkcompanies implement advanced data strategies, it’s crucial we create systems that can solve problems quicker than we can for ourselves. Today’s companies have a treasure trove of data and can utilise machine learning applications to solve complex problems, recognise patterns, discover new knowledge and make more intelligent decisions based on that data.

“Machine Learning will become less of a 1:1 interaction and evolve into learning your unique preferences and patterns, and as such, you’ll “teach it” to become more proactive, allowing us to make smarter decisions in real time. Companies without a data strategy nor the ability to leverage AI will be operating at a deficit. People provide nuance better than machines, so displacement and transformation will happen simultaneously.”

Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of being personalised 

Ross Webster, MD International Sales, The Weather Company, an IBM Business

“AI is set to change the way in which consumers interact with brands, enabling advertisers to leverage insights generated through understanding and learning from a huge amount of unstructured information. By understanding what individuals really want, it will be possible to see previously hidden patterns, and make connections in order to deliver personalised experiences at the right time on the right channel.

“With AI, advertisers can now go beyond being personal to start being personalised, but advertisers will need to be more creative and learn to be responsive to users’ needs – relevance in key.

“User experiences will need to be top priority and understanding the consumer is vital for marketing success and with a rise in cognitive advertising, advertisers now have powerful tools available to capitalise on learnings and grow ROI. The dawn of cognitive advertising truly is a defining marketing moment and, as we look to 2017, I expect many brands to jump on the band wagon.”


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