The Future of Automation and AI: What to Expect in the Next 5 Years
In the next five years, we expect to see even more advances in automation and AI technology, with new applications and use cases emerging across industries. To keep up, you must stay abreast of the key trends and developments. Here’s what to watch for in the coming years, as well as some of the AI concerns and challenges that businesses will face.
Five AI technologies businesses need to know
Even over the next five years, we’re nowhere near the AI advances we’ll see in our lifetimes. Famed futurist Ray Kurzweil of Google predicts the 2030s will introduce an era of human-machine synthesis. Imagine Midjourney plugged right into your neo-cortex, building on-the-spot visuals based on whatever’s playing through your imagination. The stuff of SciFi blockbusters is coming, but here’s what we can expect to lead the next half-decade.
Gesture controls are helming a buttonless, switchless, and touchless future.
Instead of communicating with computers through clicks and keystrokes, we’ll issue our commands through blinks and waves. All kinds of products are already honing their expertise in distinguishing your human form from the ambient background.
BMW drivers can send commands to their infotainment systems with a peace sign or a Vulcan-like salute. The technology is already quietly lodged in most smartphones—depth-sensing cameras are the magic trick glowing up our selfies to magazine cover quality. Coming soon, we’ll be able to live the Minority Report promise and control industrial machines and robotic surgeons without even touching them.
Computer vision can chuck defective products off the assembly line or help cars avoid pedestrians. You’ll also find these virtual eyes inside document automation tech like ProcessMaker IDP.
In the office, AI teams up with optical character recognition to help computers read documents. Try it out for yourself: snap a pic of a plane ticket or book cover with a late-model iPhone. In your photo album, you can highlight the photo’s text and copy it into an email or a note.
Using platforms like ProcessMaker IDP, you can scale this concept dramatically. The words and numbers hiding in your vault of contracts, HR records, and meeting minutes spring to immediate use, reducing manual swivel-chair data entry tasks.
Natural language processing
Another technology to watch is natural language processing (NLP). NLP involves teaching machines to understand and interpret human language, enabling them to perform tasks such as sentiment analysis, language translation, and voice recognition. NLP has many potential applications, from improving customer service to helping businesses analyze vast amounts of unstructured data.
Low, low code
Natural language processing will upend what it means to be “low-code.”
Now, business users can perform complex tasks without programming knowledge. Controlling apps and software is like adding an animation to a slide presentation. Large language models will help users tell computers what they want. An intermediate layer will serve as a translator, converting words into computer code behind the scenes.
With artificial intelligence digging its fingers into every aspect of business, it’s more important than ever to establish a centralized command center.
As tempting as it is to immediately dive into AI’s magical possibilities, apps and tools that run capriciously are a recipe for risk. The top process automation platforms are like a flight deck controlling and monitoring everything AI. You can sequence different tools to build workflows targeted to hit specific goals. Track success and make adjustments to ensure your AI initiatives are always on track.
Where is AI going in the future?
While the potential benefits of automation and AI are clear, businesses will also need to navigate some significant challenges in the coming years.
Prepare for big data to snowball into uncontrollable data
One thing is for sure: every organization will have a big data problem. It takes an incredible amount of data for a self-driving car to navigate the streets and airport surveillance cameras to ID potential threats. Banking, retail, and trucking have all turned into mini data science centers. With more data than ever before being generated and collected, businesses will need to invest in robust data management systems and processes to ensure that they can make sense of all this data and use it effectively.
Why automation needs humans
Another challenge is the need to balance automation with human input. Some see automation and AI as a scythe to cut jobs, but in reality, humans play a more important role than ever.
For example, some members of the mental health industry hope to use AI tools to connect with patients more cost-effectively. On the flip side, AI can pose challenges. It doesn’t have a human’s heart to weigh the implications of advice or nudges. AI may become a top-of-the-funnel primer, working patients through the early phases before a human takes over the process.
Artificial intelligence drives extreme personalization
AI promises new ways to personalize and create off-the-cuff experiences. Spotify is leveraging AI to auto-curate playlists—and even deploys a Waze-like DJ usher in the next hit.
The trend creates a “for you and only you” experience—the gold medal of marketing personalization.
Consider personalization taken to the utmost extreme in retail. IKEA notably reconfigures templated pieces into different furniture styles. In the future, AI can do the heavy lifting: plugin what parts and components you have on hand, and AI builds the product ad hoc to the user’s preferences.
Is AI for everyone?
The Atlantic published “The Problem With New Cars,” underscoring how inexplicably heart-wrenching it is for some drivers to lose the stick shift. The sentiment isn’t entwined in some macho head game reserved for gearheads, but a loss of control. Some people really don’t like the idea of an unknown force calling the shots.
Similarly, Samsung quietly deployed camera tech akin to NASA’s coloration of deep-space photography. Users were wowed by the quality of the moon pics they snapped with the phone. But opinions shifted once they realized AI tinkered with the images unbeknownst to them.
AI isn’t a magic wand that suddenly pleases every customer. Companies can filter the possibilities and find the ones that work best for their client base will be the winners.
From computer vision to NLP, new technologies will continue to emerge, offering businesses new ways to streamline operations, improve decision-making, and drive growth. At the same time, businesses must navigate a rapidly changing landscape, manage data effectively and balance automation with human input. By staying informed and proactive, you can ensure that you’re well-positioned to thrive in the age of automation and AI.