Besa H. Bauta, Ph.D., Chief Data Officer, MercyFirst
Every sector is being impacted by the need to digitize and transform their infrastructure and services. It is common to hear that most organizations are going through some sort of a digital transformation journey, or that they are adopting the latest technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. In order to stay current and active, companies need to leverage technologies to streamline their operations, cut down on time to market for products, build-in efficiencies within the enterprise so that each sector functions at an optimal level. The push to market requires shorter time frames for both product development and deployment. This increased need to iterate at shorter time intervals has created a new demand for advanced analytics, cloud computing, and adoption of artificial intelligence applications.
The pace of digital innovation is outpacing the organizational capacity to adapt to the latest technological solutions. Most organizations are at various stages of adoption of different solutions, such as migration to the cloud of their on-premise infrastructure or seeking a combination of hybrid solutions. The lower cost of storage solutions by companies such as Googles Cloud, Amazons Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft’s Azure cloud storage has shifted the management of data centers from in-house management to cloud hosting options. The increased incentive to migrate to the cloud is also fueled by the shortage of information technology, analytics, and data science professionals who can manage the various technological solutions in-house. It is much easier to migrate operations to the cloud and have the various tech giants manage both the storage and backup of data. This approach also cuts down on the cost of having security and other structures in-house, especially in the ever-increasing cybersecurity climate.
The exponential growth of data from both enterprise business operations, as well as external data sources such as social media, sensors, and the internet of things, is also fueling the migration to the cloud. The era of ‘big data’ is only increasing, and it is ushering a new world of ‘mega data’ with expected growth at fifty times more data than currently generated, and most of that data will be coming from machine data.
In order to encapsulate this information for insights, new analytics applications are coming to the fore.
Arik Hill, Chief Information Officer, The New York Foundling
Most of these applications are leveraging artificial intelligence technologies, such as machine learning and deep learning to process massive amounts of data that cannot be processed via traditional methods. High-performance computing and developments in quantum computing could transform how businesses operate, use, and analyze mega data.
Modern technological solutions are creating new realities and making science fiction science fact. What we can only envision as the realm of fantasies and science fiction is moving fast to become our ever-present reality. Societies are transforming globally, and with over seven and a half billion people utilizing technological solutions such as smartphones, computers, and sensors, at some point in their lives, they will be adding to the global data bank every second. This means that we are only a few years from going from exabytes, zettabytes, to yottabytes. Humans on the planet are shedding data about every aspect of their lives and most of that data is being captured in social media platforms that are managed by social media giants such as; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, WhatsApp, WeChat, Pinterest, and many others. Companies such as Amazon and Alibaba are capturing individual preferences at a granular level. Therefore, technology companies have jumped onto the bandwagon of the latest analytics or intelligence applications. They see the value of how this burgeoning information cloud can be used to tailor products, as well as how it can address their own needs to make sense of the data that is being collected.
Modern technological solutions are creating new realities and making science fiction science fact
The new information age or the fourth industrial revolution is the maturation of analytics and artificial intelligence applications. We will see the automation of processes through Robotic Process Automation (RPA) of business divisions that are rotary. Artificial intelligence will mechanize workflows, business functions, and eventually redefine businesses and how we work. The promise of intelligent workflows is the reduction of waste and optimization of profit. In the era of hyper-optimization and automation, the question of humanity and ethics will play a role as we usher the fifth industrial revolution, the merging of man and machine in the workplace.
What does it mean to have intelligent applications augmenting our work and lives? And where do ethics and morality get factored into the implementation of these novel technologies? These are the challenges that we face as work gets redefined—requiring new generations to be trained in the latest solutions. In contrast, existing workers will need to be retrained or up-skilled to utilize these applications. Every revolution and era of innovation is a new stage in our evolutionary adaptation of overcoming the constraints of our work environment. The next step in our evolutionary pathway is to implement Chief Ethical Officers whose roles would focus on harmonizing technology with humanity. Technological progress holds the promise of solutions that are yet to be envisioned, and humankind’s role and responsibility is to use these solutions to address the needs of all members of society.