Beyond AI: Machine intelligence ushers in a new value-creation era

Posted by Nitin Mittal on March 16, 2017

Artificial intelligence (AI) may be in the headlines today, but machine intelligence is the future of advanced analytics. Machine intelligence is the collective term for cognitive computing capabilities that create value by augmenting employee performance, automating complex workloads, and developing human-like “cognitive agents.” Machine intelligence should be on your radar, because your competitors are probably all over it.

As we describe in our 2017 Tech Trends report, Machine intelligence: Technology mimics human cognition to create value, machine intelligence is helping companies differentiate from their competition by providing many new value-creation opportunities. For example: A leading US hospital is training machine intelligence systems to analyze 10 billion phenotypic and genetic images to improve patient care by giving providers a holistic view into patient history.1 Banks are using cognitive sales agents to understand and respond to customers’ spoken questions—up to 27,000 at once in dozens of languages—improving responsiveness and customer engagement.2 A global insurer has deployed a machine learning virtual engineer to address IT network issues globally. Unlike its human counterparts, the bot works 24/7, so the days of support services queues and backlogs are likely over.

Value-creation opportunities appear along a spectrum. One point on the spectrum is cognitive insights, where machine intelligence provides deep visibility into what has happened before, but also into what is happening now and what is likely to happen in the future. Business leaders can use these insights to guide workers and augment their performance. Call centers around the world are already using these systems.

Cognitive engagement, where machine intelligence systems engage with people, is another area of opportunity. Cognitive agents are already in consumers’ homes, responding to commands to play music, adjust the temperature, and tune the TV or radio. Soon business tasks and processes might be performed more efficiently and accurately by even more advanced forms of cognitive engagement—cognitive agents that admit patients to hospitals, answer technical support or HR-related questions, or interact with customers paying bills or updating their accounts.

The third opportunity, and potentially the most disruptive, is cognitive automation. Cognitive tools, such as machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA), develop deep domain expertise and then automate related tasks that used to be performed by highly trained people. For example, one health care company is using deep learning technology to analyze radiology images, achieving up to 50 percent greater accuracy than human radiologists.3

Bottom line, machine intelligence is helping companies move from a legacy world of retrospective data analysis—a world without the additional texture of human cognition—to a new universe where systems make inferences and predictions, augment human activities, and amplify human intelligence, automate tasks, and, ultimately, entire processes. A new value-creation era is emerging. Ready to get started? I’d like to hear from you.

1 Tech Trends 2017: The kinetic enterprise, Deloitte University Press, February 2017
2 Ibid
3 Ibid


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