With growing economies, emerging talent and connected population, APAC is potentially a key region to drive the growth of Artificial Intelligence
If you ask people whether they think artificial intelligence (AI) will have an impact on their daily lives, many won’t admit to having playbacks of science fiction films in their minds. While pop culture might have influenced how we imagine futuristic technologies might look like, what most of us do n’t realise is that technologies like AI are already here and look set to stay.
In Asia Pacific, AI adoption is already so robust that a vast majority of organisations have already implemented AI in one form or another within areas such as information technology, supply chain and logistics, as well as research and development.
Data is the most fundamental building block that drives AI technology, enabling the likes of Siri, Cortana and Alexa to exist. While AI seems to have no issues merging seamlessly into consumer lifestyles, the road for businesses seems slightly bumpier in comparison.
AI for today’s needs and tomorrow’s goals
People and businesses are unanimous in their opinion that AI will impact daily lives, and that there are productivity gains to be enjoyed through the adoption of this technology. Overall, we can expect to see a spike in the frequency, flexibility, and immediacy of data analysis across industries and applications to drive business decisions.
One example is the financial services industry, which has seen the rise of robo-advisors providing consumers with advice around their personal finance and investments in real-time. It may not be far off in the future that AI technology in this space becomes robust enough for businesses to leverage too. This will ultimately remove the stress and complexity of manual number crunching, and offer insights at greater speed and accuracy to facilitate quicker decision making in an industry where time is money.
This highlights the key role of Edge computing. Since the creation of the first hard disk drive, we’ve seen IT infrastructures evolve from individual mainframes to decentralized servers, and now, mobile and cloud computing. Today, we are also increasingly seeing compute that takes place at the Edge to cater to the expanding need for the real-time responsiveness that AI, predictive analytics and machine learning technologies demand.
Asia Pacific is at the center of this digital transformation. According to IDC’s Data Age 2025 report, global data growth is expected to rise exponentially to 163 zettabytes by 2025, and with its vibrantly growing economies, emerging pools of talent, and highly connected population, APAC is potentially a key region to drive this growth. We see evidence of this in government initiatives such as Singapore’s Smart Nation vision, China’s goal to become a world leader in AI, and India’s NITI Aayog that will initiate the country’s first-ever national policy on AI – all of which point towards APAC’s appetite to embrace AI and the opportunities it brings.
Infrastructure is key to realising productivity gains from AI
Success often depends on ensuring that you start with a solid foundation. Similarly, for organizations looking to reap the benefits of data analytics and real-time data processing, proactive steps must be taken to build a robust infrastructure to support and reshape the data that they collect.
The reality of implementing AI within an organisation is not a simple task. Organisations are yet to invest sufficient man hours and budgets when it comes to AI development and implementation.
However, budgets and resources are just part of the puzzle – oftentimes there are multiple factors at play such as whether there is a clear strategy and direction within the business backed by the commitment from senior leadership and the right talent to drive overall AI adoption within an organisation.
Of equal importance is ensuring that the right ‘tech’ is in place to support any sort of AI development. Our interactions with data are expected to increase 20-fold to once every 18 seconds by 2025, putting greater demands on businesses that collect consumer data. The expectation for organisations to keep data accessible while being safe and secure will be of paramount importance.
(The author B.S. Teh is senior vice president of global sales and sales operations at Seagate Technology)