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The business world is at a critical inflection point. Organizations are increasingly adopting the latest technologies as part of their digital transformation journey. Data is expected to play a key role in helping businesses succeed in this journey and ultimately power the digital economy making it the ‘oil’ of the future. More than data, technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain are expected to have a profound impact on the digital economy.
In fact, the World Economic Forum has predicted a number of innovations that will shape the hyper-connected digital world and could become mainstream over the next 10 years. These include: tax being collected by government through blockchain; the first AI machine will be on the board of directors of a business; the first robotic pharmacist in the US; first transplant of a 3D-printed liver; and people wearing clothes connected to the Internet among others. Technologies like blockchain and AI are bound to change lives to such an extent that life without it would be almost unthinkable. AI can elevate the human workforce to meet challenges of the future and can create more jobs than it’s expected to displace.
In 2020, AI will become a positive net job motivator for UAE, creating 2.3M jobs while only eliminating 1.8M jobs, according to Gartner AI warrants the close attention of the board because it presents opportunities when applied well and risks when applied badly. Organizations that successfully exploit AI can disrupt the market, drive growth and manage commercial risks. Yet, AI technologies also present serious ethical, legal and programming risks that need to be managed carefully. What’s more, AI is poorly understood by businesses, with many organizations unsure as to when and where they should use it.
This technology can enhance complex decision-making processes, which is why it is viewed as a catalyst for transformation in every industry. When AI is combined with Big Data and analytics, it becomes an even more invaluable tool for finance functions as it can enable organizations to better understand their customers and even help create future strategies. Having said this, boards should understand how AI technologies are being applied inside and outside their organisations and ensure that they have the appropriate structures in place to manage ethical issues and understand how it is addressing the issue of algorithmic bias.
They also need to be aware of emerging frameworks, policies and legislation to ensure that their business has the right balance between algorithmic transparency and accountability. Furthermore, blockchain will transform trusted transactions just like the Internet did for communications. There are countless examples of where blockchain’s secure, shared ledger can save businesses time and money. Especially in the shipping industry where blockchain replace mountains of paperwork.
Instead of every single party – manufacturer, shipper, buyer and any other intermediary – all relying on their individual paperwork to track a shipment from beginning to end, blockchain would allow all stakeholders to see every step in an open, secure ledger. We are witnessing paradigm shifts in new business models and eco-systems to cope with the new technologies.
IBM leads the way
IBM clients chose IBM for a reason. IBM leads the way in a number of areas crucial to cognitive business. First, cognitive computing itself – with systems that understand all data. Second, analytics – IBM has the deep expertise you need. Third, cloud – offering 100% of relevant software on IBM cloud. In mobile, IBM developed iOS apps for each of twelve industries, in partnership with Apple. IBM security technology protects over 12,000 clients, including 90 of the fortune 100. Finally, IBM systems – with support for millions of transactions and quintillions of files and over 99.999% system availability.