May 012017

Once upon a time computers were unusual, getting time on one was only for select employees of large corporations and scientists. Famously IBM’s Tom Watson forecast there would only be a need for five computers, although it seems he never said that.

Today we’re surrounded by computers in everything from our cars and phones to our teapots and razors and now we’re considering how those devices will affect our future workforce.

At the core of the discussion about computers and the future of work, is artificial intelligence. What’s notable though is it’s unlikely that AI is going to be an competitive advantage for technology vendors as the functions become built in.

This is already being seen with Microsoft building AI into its databases and increasingly the intelligence is going to built into the chips themselves.

In our recent interview with Xero founder Rod Drury, he flagged how AI is going to drive small business accounting. Drury was speaking at the Sydney AWS summit where the hosting company was showing off many of its AI driven services.

While artificial intelligence is going to be embedded and almost invisible to the user, it is going to be important. A good example is Google’s struggle to maintain quality and honesty in its local search results, a process that is beyond the company’s resources if done manually.

For the software vendors, the quality of their AI features is going to be one of their key selling points. This is why AWS, Amazon and almost company in the industry is announcing their own initiatives. Google itself should be one of the leaders in this field.

As automation becomes increasingly taken for granted, artificial intelligence is going to be seen as a fundamental, and invisible, part of computing.

While AI is going to be essential for the technology vendors, for users we won’t notice it as long as it works properly.

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