Artificial Intelligence Latest Innovation Going from Living Room to Board Room Technology

Artificial intelligence continues to show great promise, but integrators and customers must show great caution when employing it.

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Machines are getting smarter than ever. They can turn on our lights, order us things we probably don’t need, and start meetings for us. But what happens when artificial intelligence doesn’t work the way we expect? Can something as benign as board room technology become insidious?

That’s a concern Zdi CIO Jay McArdle has when it comes to machine learning, or artificial intelligence, calling the prospect of letting machines take the lead “scary” during the Fresh Horses session focused on the latest technology at the CI Summit last month.

An AI device is only as good as the data sets it imports, he says. You can help the device learn what a cat is and teach it to recognize it as a cat when it sees something similar, but that doesn’t always guarantee success.

“We don’t know what it’s recognizing and we don’t know why it fails when it fails,” says McArdle, who’s hopeful about the prospects of artificial intelligence in commercial systems integration.

“It’s never going to be 100 percent accurate, but it’s going to get better over time. The more it listens to your conversation, the more it can add context,” says McArdle.

Amazon recently announced it’s releasing a version of its Echo device that’s suited for the workplace, an acknowledgement from the creator of one of the most popular devices in the space that its potential is far greater than just helping at home.

Read next: Internet of Things Isn’t New! Why the IoT Call to Action Now?

Bruce Kaufmann, president and CEO of Human Circuit, sees the growth of AI in the commercial market as similar to the rise of iPads in board rooms, restaurants and other settings after first proving themselves to be popular and reliable in homes around the country.

“If a C-level person is going home at night and running his home through an AI device, they have that same expectation that board room technology becomes that easy, too,” he says. “They want things to run how they should run. And it’s not just voice command. There’s an intuitive nature to it.”