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Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way in recent years. But for the AI to really deliver on its promise, it still has to do something. It has to be easy to use. This is just as important as all the computational and technical components that make AI possible in the first place.
AI is at a stage where it is ready to get into the hands of ordinary people. It’s the same place computers were more than 40 years ago, when Apple envisioned an easy-to-use, affordable personal computer for the average consumer and then made that vision a reality.
It is only when we follow Apple’s lead and apply these lessons to AI that it will take off and realize its near-limitless potential. We need to demystify AI and make it workable for everyone. On the corporate side, we need to make AI easy for companies and their employees to integrate into their workflows. This will be a game changer for future AI adoption.
AI in its current form is too inscrutable. There are too many grandiose use cases and not enough data scientists to make them a reality. So for most people, AI is a technology that is always on the horizon. We need a new generation of integrated, turnkey solutions that make it easy for anyone to harness the power of AI and reap all of its benefits.
Today, AI is primarily the playground of an elite group of tech giants, companies like Google and Microsoft, who have invested billions in developing and using AI. If you look beyond these companies, AI is often underutilized in other industries, be it manufacturing, education, retail, or healthcare.
All of these industries generate massive amounts of data, but AI is rarely used to analyze large data sets and learn from the patterns and characteristics present in the data. The question is why? The answer is lack of access, understanding and skills. Most companies do not have access to the sophisticated and expensive computing resources required. And they don’t have access to the expensive and limited AI talent needed to properly utilize those resources.
These are the two obstacles preventing AI from mainstream adoption. But they can be solved if we make AI easy to adopt and easy to use for immediate value. Here are three ways we can create an Apple-like experience for AI and bridge the gap to a future where AI helps companies achieve more than they ever imagined.
1. Leverage existing work in artificial intelligence
There is so much AI work in the cloud that it is no longer necessary for companies to train their AI from scratch. You can use the existing work. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They can take already working AI solutions and adapt them to their own needs. But they can only do this if they have a simple, seamless, Mac-like interface to work with.
A vivid example can be found in the world of e-commerce, where Shopify has created an easy-to-use, Mac-like interface that allows any retailer to easily sell products online. Retailers don’t need to know how to build their own shopping cart technology or integrate it with their billing software, for example. Shopify gives them all the pieces they need in one simple package. AI companies can follow this model by providing users across all industries with pre-built, easy-to-use AI tools that they can use immediately to meet their business needs.
2. Improve the AI every day
AI is able to learn and continuously improve. That’s his genius. You know that if you own a Tesla, because almost every time you drive there’s a new software update. This is happening because there are now millions of Teslas on the roads and all of these vehicles are collecting data that is used to improve each vehicle every day. This type of learning and knowledge sharing needs to happen with AI in every industry and across diverse applications.
3. Benefit from the latest AI models
The AI techniques that were used just three or four years ago, although they were revolutionary then, are now obsolete. New, improved AI models and neural networks are emerging all the time, much like how we humans develop skills as we learn something new, and continue to evolve and add new skills throughout our lives. But for AI users to take advantage of them, they need a new processor architecture and programming model with the flexibility to run both AI and non-AI algorithms.
Once that is done, we will usher in a new era of more practical and commercially viable AI products for a variety of use cases and industries. One day we will be able to overcome the existing limitations of performance, complexity and cost.
All companies need to focus on what they’re good at, whether that’s making better products or better serving customers. AI can charge their ability to do so. It can help them work more efficiently and ultimately increase profitability. AI is already streamlining workflows through advanced automation, accelerating processing through edge computing, and improving data analysis. In a manufacturing company, for example, AI can reduce the number of product defects. For a healthcare provider, AI can increase the accuracy of diagnoses and minimize prescribing errors, saving lives.
We’re only scratching the surface of AI use cases now. And we’re going to go further, but to bring the benefits of AI to every business, we need to make AI as easy to use as a MacBook. Only then will we unleash the true power of artificial intelligence. MACifying AI really is the next leap forward.
Dinakar Munagala is CEO of Blaize.
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