AI and Automation_Hugh Nolan

Hugh Nolan, our Lead Solution Architect, was featured in this month’s Sunday Business Post Connected –  AI and Automation. 

Automation found its place on the factory production line long ago, but as new technologies promise to revolutionise work, questions have been raised about the social impact. Those fears are real enough, but other problems may be looming, writes Jason Walsh from The Sunday Business Post.

Adoption all areas?

“With some of the hype around AI/ML (machine learning) cooling off, we see many of our clients taking a very practical approach to AI adoption, and typically it falls into two areas,” said Hugh Nolan, Lead Solution Architect at Singlepoint.

Nonetheless, it is clear to not only industry observers but also those working at the silicon coalface that AI is now in a slower period than before. Some say this is precisely because it is moving from the lab to business, where real applications must be developed.

The first is in the area of data analysis, with ML techniques being used to gain greater insights into customer behaviour. “Our clients are seeking to use ever richer datasets and new data sources to enhance the customer’s experience and engagement,” he said. One knock-on effect has been job creation: something not typically associated with AI, at least in the pages of the press. “This has led to demand for data scientists but also for skilled data management and governance professionals to ensure that the data provenance and usage is aligned with the law, the interests of the business, and the customer,” Nolan said.

The second area is one of cost efficiency being driven through that most recognisable of IT trends: commodification. “Our clients are seeking to use off-the-shelf AI-based products to improve the customer’s experience of interacting with the business online,” said Nolan. The focus in this area is using AI to develop self-service systems that weren’t possible before. “An example would be ID verification as part of anti-money laundering processes. Where once a customer would have to interact with a business over postal mail or in person in order to verify their ID documentation, there are now AI-based technologies available that allow this to be achieved online in an automated manner,” Nolan said.

He said AI would only continue to improve. “Depending on your point of view, it could be argued that we are onto the 10th or 20th generation of AI. The pace of change and improvement in the technologies and techniques shows no sign of slowing. Looking ahead, the capability and use of AI is accelerating, as is human willingness to embrace the technologies,” he said. “This, in many respects, is the real measure of AI’s future.”

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