Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with substantial disruptive potential that is just beginning to break out of an emerging state into broader impact and use or which are rapidly growing trends with a high degree of volatility reaching tipping points over the next five years.
Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017 set the stage for the Intelligent Digital Mesh. The first three embrace ‘Intelligence Everywhere,’ how data science technologies and approaches are evolving to include advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence allowing the creation of intelligent physical and software-based systems that are programmed to learn and adapt. The next three trends focus on the digital world and how the physical and digital worlds are becoming more intertwined. The last four trends focus on the mesh of platforms and services needed to deliver the intelligent digital mesh.
The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017 are:
AI and Advanced Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced machine learning (ML) are composed of many technologies and techniques (e.g., deep learning, neural networks, natural-language processing [NLP]). The more advanced techniques move beyond traditional rule-based algorithms to create systems that understand, learn, predict, adapt and potentially operate autonomously. This is what makes smart machines appear “intelligent.”
“Applied AI and advanced machine learning give rise to a spectrum of intelligent implementations, including physical devices (robots, autonomous vehicles, consumer electronics) as well as apps and services (virtual personal assistants [VPAs], smart advisors), said Mr. Cearley. “These implementations will be delivered as a new class of obviously intelligent apps and things as well as provide embedded intelligence for a wide range of mesh devices and existing software and service solutions.”
Intelligent apps such as VPAs perform some of the functions of a human assistant making everyday tasks easier (by prioritizing emails, for example), and its users more effective (by highlighting the most important content and interactions). Other intelligent apps such as virtual customer assistants (VCAs) are more specialized for tasks in areas such as sales and customer service. As such, these intelligent apps have the potential to transform the nature of work and structure of the workplace.
“Over the next 10 years, virtually every app, application and service will incorporate some level of AI,” said Mr Cearley. “This will form a long-term trend that will continually evolve and expand the application of AI and machine learning for apps and services.”
Intelligent things refer to physical things that go beyond the execution of rigid programing models to exploit applied AI and machine learning to deliver advanced behaviors and interact more naturally with their surroundings and with people. As intelligent things, such as drones, autonomous vehicles and smart appliances, permeate the environment, Gartner anticipates a shift from stand-alone intelligent things to a collaborative intelligent things model.