Machine Learning’s Business Impact

CEO Robbie Allen recently spoke about the business impact of machine learning at Adobe’s Think Tank on The Future of AI in the Enterprise.

“I really focus on three areas where I think that machine learning specifically will have an impact,” he said.

“One is reducing costs, and by that I don’t mean that we’re displacing the workforce. What I mean by that is that there’s lot of jobs out there that were never intended for people to do. But the only option was for people to do them, because we didn’t have software that could it on their behalf. So I think there will be a lot of those types of jobs – repetitive – it’s not ideally suited for humans to do in the first place.”

“Second is increasing efficiency, and oftentimes you’ll hear about potentially given people superpowers in their job, where not only can they do their job, they can do it a lot faster, a lot better, and they can be much more productive.”

“And then the third are is achieving new breakthroughs, and this is something I think is going to be really powerful as it relates to what you can get out of machine learning. As a society we have blindspots that we’re not aware of. For any new breakthrough that occurs, that only happened because someone else didn’t think to do that. Machine learning gives us an opportunity to discover new patterns, new ways of working that weren’t obvious before, and so I think we’re going to be able to see all sorts of interesting new capabilities in the enterprise as it relates to that.”

During the talk, Robbie was clear about the need to focus squarely on solving real business problems:

“So I think especially  when it comes to the enterprise, it’s less about ‘can we properly define AI,’ and really what problems are we trying to solve,” he said.

“And it goes back to, what are the key differences now between what we can do now versus some of the vendors that we’ve seen before. And it’s the computing power, it’s the availability of data, and it’s the advanced algorithms that have been created.”

“And I think really focusing on what problems can you solve with that, that’s really where it’s at for the enterprise, much more so than ‘are we ever going to create AGI, artificial general intelligence? Are we going to have sentient beings?’ There’s no path for that in the research right now and so to me it’s not even really worth talking about.”

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