The Florida Venture Forum hosted an event focused on the leading trends in Artificial Intelligence (“AI”). The panelists included EVP AI Enterprise at Wells Fargo, CEO of Acclivity in the Healthcare AI Solutions space and CEO of randrr in the Recruiting world. Attendance was strong with business leaders from Financial Services, Technology, Healthcare and Business Services companies.
A wide-ranging discussion covered the many breakthroughs and triumphs in developing AI and the roadblocks in commercializing the technology in areas such as self-driving, machine-diagnosing and the future of autonomous decisioning.
Several notable takeaways:
- What is it? – Artificial Intelligence is a complex series of algorithms that learns and adapts after each iteration. The result is a technology that synthesizes the learning features of human behavior that can eventually predict and understand patterns.
- AI is Big – AI covers a wide range of areas including business intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics.
- Threat or Benefit? – Perhaps most surprising was the audience’s concern about the disruption potential AI represents. The common theme that the panelists proposed revolved around AI being a tool for professionals to use, not a replacement for the professionals.
- Timeline to mainstream? – As with most cutting-edge ideas that have applicability across nearly every sector in the economy, the acceptance and practical application will take time. For example, it took a Google bot, Duplex, over a year to learn the reservation system displayed at the Google I/O event in May 2018.
At face value, AI is used to identify and predict patterns or rhythms from large sets of data. The predictions are evaluated and continually learned upon each iteration. AI’s ability to analyze patterns make it, in some ways, better than human senses and less subject to human fallibility. This makes the technology stand out in functions like facial recognition, object recognition and even speech analysis.
Three Markets Experiencing AI’s Impact
The discussion was lively between panelists and the audience, as the topic has top of the mind interest from entrepreneurs to corporations and governments. Of the top 100 AI startups identified by CB Insights, nearly a quarter function in the Finance, Healthcare, or HR space. Notably, over 25% of the venture funding for AI startups is allocated in these three fields. Each of the three panelists represented a sector and provided the following commentary:
- AI is used in a range of Finance functions from identifying credit card fraud, to machine controlled chatbots within banking apps and even in predicting stock prices.
- AI is finding a wide range of applications in Healthcare including the most sensitive decisions, such as predicting a patient’s life support outlook from analyzing millions of insurance claims records of deceased patients. The data contains the types of diagnoses used and the level of care that was needed during a specific period before a patient’s death. AI can be used to arm decision makers with the most informed analysis of the patient’s expected quality of life and life expectancy.
HR – Recruiting
- AI is actively used in Recruiting, specifically online interviews, to determine the best question to ask next after listening to an interviewee’s response. AI also plays a role in succession management, analyzing when a position will become open and who within a company would be a good fit.
The Florida Venture Forum – Panel Discussion on AI
One way to look into the future of an industry is to follow the money. If venture capital funding is any indication, the AI “wave” is growing to be quite large. CB Insights, a leading technology source, described 100 recent AI start-ups that are redefining industries from Financial Technology to Robotics to Agriculture have raised more than $11 billion in funding. And established companies are embracing the AI trend, as well. As a measure of AI’s importance, in 2016, AI was mentioned less than 50 times during public company earnings calls. By the start of 2018, AI was mentioned more than 800 times.
Another trend that is likely to accelerate the expansion of AI is the prevalence of open source software that allows for efficient sharing in code development. Developers are no longer starting from scratch, but rather, building upon the code of others. Finally, the effectiveness of AI relies on the quality and quantity of the data inputs; the more willing people are to share their data, the more rapidly AI can learn and connect the dots of opportunity.
A clear consensus on the future of AI is automation, particularly where traditional systems are reaching natural limits. For example, in Healthcare, hospice has experienced very little innovation. However, the aging population is taxing the hospice system with a heavy burden falling on otherwise productive family members. How can AI add capacity or improve the effectiveness of hospice? It seems certain that AI will play a role by progressing quality in the future of our lives.