Artificial Intelligence: The Digital Age
Everything is Getting Smarter
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a universal trend across multiple regions as a strategy to foster and empower capabilities further.
“AI is a collective term for computer systems that can sense their environment, think, learn, and take action in response to what they’re sensing and their objectives.” 
A wide range of existing and emerging devices are becoming smarter by learning from trial and error sessions, predicting realistic outcomes, and recognising patterns among other approaches. Adding intelligence to existing product/services has given rise to several business opportunities across industries.
Then and Now
The term artificial intelligence was coined back in 1956 by John McCarthy, a computer scientist, where the concept was introduced. Two years later, he developed the Lisp computer language that is today known as the standard AI programming language and has become an integral part of our daily lives through the voice recognition technology in smart devices and virtual assistants.  Presently, you can find artificially intelligent devices in your daily lives from self-driving cars, computer games, navigation systems, and virtual digital assistants such as Siri and Alexa.
A Market With Potential of Additional $15.7 Trillion
Global GDP is estimated to increase by 14% in 2030, equivalent of $15.7 trillion, a major investment injection of capital into the economy. In the Middle East, it is estimated that the impact of AI will be $320 billion (representing 2% of the global benefits of AI) by 2030. The first wave of digitization through AI is already apparent throughout the Middle East and has given rise to new business models incorporating AI. The impact on the economies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are forecasted to be $135.2 billion and $96 billion to the GDP in 2030 respectively. 
The Promise of Competitive Advantage
From tech labs to the workplace - AI is now amongst the key enabling technologies of the fourth industrial revolution. AI has an impact on business operations from start to end, from back-office to front-office. The increasing use of robotics, autonomous processes, and augmented intelligence has helped businesses grow their productivity levels and customer satisfaction. Using a variety of the following AI technologies, businesses can build their competitive advantage to be stronger. Below are a few of the most common principles AI;
Machine Learning is where, without explicit programmed instructions, machines are taught to identify, analyse, improve, and predict outcomes based on the available data. Most of the other technologies are based on the machine learning capability of AI.
Natural Language Processing is a branch of AI that reads, understands, decodes, and makes sense of human languages to help with interactions between computer programs and human beings. This technology is typically used in chatbots and virtual-assistants.
Deep Learning equips computers with the ability to continuously program itself by learning from data provided. Built on neural networks (a set of algorithms), deep learning technology continuously measures the data and modifies its parameters in order to generate the most accurate outcome/result. This measure can be found in face/voice recognition and personalized shopping and entertainment; when websites such as Netflix or Amazon provide recommendations of your preference based on your previous searches.
The Influence of Artificial Intelligence
AI in the energy sector will help generate low-carbon electricity with optimal efficiency through better management and forecasting. The technology will constantly collect and understand the huge amount of data input into the system through a multitude of sensors to make better and timely decisions. Recognizing patterns through its deep learning capabilities, AI can modify the usage of electricity through storage management decisions. For example, intelligent power grids can supply more energy in places that require excessive demand instantly without human intervention. Smart meters installed in homes can cut energy consumption and cost significantly by automatically adjusting the use of energy.
Healthcare is going through yet another disruption by technology as intelligent medical devices improve healthcare by reducing time consumption and overhead costs. Medical instruments equipped with intelligent devices also can reduce the amount of human labour required to operate, treat, or diagnose a patient. Finally, self-service devices such as AI-powered diagnosis can save ample time for doctors and patients; while robot-assisted surgery could reduce human errors significantly by making precise and timely decisions.
There is a plethora of opportunities for artificial intelligence application in the financial services industry. Personal finance management, investment portfolio management, reporting and analytics, credit scoring and so much more. Robo-advisory has made is easier for customers to make informed decisions on their portfolio or personal finance. Financial institutions no longer have to spend the manpower and hard labour in putting together reports and analytics, or credit scoring an individual or business. All these processes will be automated by artificially intelligent devices. Not only is AI useful for financial institutions but regulators of the financial sector as well. Compliance, auditing, reporting and other tedious tasks will be automated through AI powered software.
Logistics and Transport
Companies in the logistics and transport sector can significantly reduce operational costs and be more proactive through the use of artificially intelligent supply chains, autonomous vehicles, robotics, and others. Through predictive analytics and big data, AI can accurately predict areas of need and map out optimal roads to use; thus making the best use of available resources; time, money, and inventory. What has proven to be successful is robotics on the factory floor that track and move inventory around the warehouse.
Artificially intelligent robots can now work alongside humans as they are equipped with intelligent sensors who can predict, analyse, and perform tasks at a higher efficiency rate. For example, self-learning capabilities of machine learning AI can help reduce production errors and increase the speed at which it operates to compensate for equipment downtime or production issues.
Can Artificial Intelligence Move the Needle for Your Company?
Given the change that AI is bringing about, companies are now focusing on upgrading their talent, investment, and infrastructure to be up to par with emerging trends in technologies. Through the use of advanced technology such as AI, companies can secure greater customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.
As an individual, you can learn about the different techniques and when they are a good fit for your business through the BetaBlocks Academy. You will learn about machine learning, artificial neural networks, model selection and development, as well as the costs and benefits of AI and so much more.
The FinTech Consortium Institute, in collaboration with BetaBlocks Academy has launched an online program that can help you sift through the chaos and be the building block of getting into specialized courses. The program provides a comprehensive overview of five key emerging technologies at the center of the digital revolution and complete a learning journey of specializations in Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Cybersecurity, and the Cloud. These courses form the building blocks required for a complete learning journey, leading to specialized courses in emerging technology applications for industries such as finance, supply chain and healthcare.
The courses are thorough, but not overly technical. They are designed to offer the most benefit to business professionals who want to understand the basics of how these technologies work, the benefits they offer, and how they can be applied to industries in transformative ways.
Successful application of emerging technologies can solve business problems and increase efficiency. Naturally, that creates persistent demand for qualified talent to lead these transformations. Stay ahead of the game by getting the training you need to succeed.
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Our courses provide clear structure, while letting you set the pace. Start something today that your future self will thank you for.
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 PwC. (2018, September 12). Briefing: Artificial intelligence. Retrieved from http://usblogs.pwc.com/emerging-technology/briefing-ai/
 John McCarthy: Computer scientist known as the father of AI. (2011, October 31). Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/john-mccarthy-computer-scientist-known-as-the-father-of-ai-6255307.html
 PwC. (2018). The potential impact of AI in the Middle East. Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/m1/en/publications/potential-impact-artificial-intelligence-middle-east.html