One of the biggest phenomena of the past decade was “Software is eating the world”. Today, there is almost no industry which is not run on software and delivered as an online service. This has resulted in new online giants such as Uber, AirBnB, Amazon etc. But now that so many businesses are leveraging software, I believe we are about to witness the next disruptive wave in the form of Artificial Intelligence – in which software will not only be used to ‘run’ services, but will also be able to ‘understand’ what service it is running, making it that much more powerful. This will be one of the most exciting opportunities that will generate a new wave of transformative companies.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not a new thing. It has been researched for decades. But even the best AI systems were always highly tuned for specific problems and required many ‘rules’ to operate successfully. However, in the past few years, a specific AI technique called Deep Learning is taking the world by storm, and many researchers are abandoning the classical AI methods and switching to it. Deep Learning relies on simulating large, multilayered webs of virtual neurons, which enable a computer to learn to recognize abstract patterns (somewhat similar to the way a human brain functions). It can be used to solve any general-purpose pattern-recognition problem, which means that any activity that has access to large amounts of data can find it useful. When you combine this with the fact that much more data is available today due to the proliferation of online services that log every transaction, improvements in storage, advancements in GPU and computing power, development of cheap sensors, and the growth of the Internet of Things (IOT) – this becomes even more interesting.