During all my years evangelizing the internet of things, I have been explaining to customers, partners and friends that IoT can positively change the way we do business and the way we live our lives. I have been asked if IoT is a new revolution in our society or if it is just one step in the technological evolution of the digital revolution. Today, the debate continues, but whether evolution or revolution, the internet of things is here to stay.
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I definitely think it’s an evolution. The development of the internet of things is a bold move. IoT is not just a leap from the internet. The internet of things brings with it an evolutionary force that we rarely see in technology.
It is important to not scare conservative enterprises. It is not about ripping out current automation systems to replace them with new technologies. End users will resist rapid and radical change because of the increased risk of downtime and associated costs.
Therefore, I think this debate should be framed in a more general question: What Age period are we living?
The Connected Age
I consider the start of the Connected Age when the term “internet of things” was coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999. Kevin probably envisioned the move to sensorization would transform every industry in the world.
The main driving force behind the Connected Age is data: data that can be collected, data that can be analyzed, data can be shared and data can be used to improve service offerings. Data is the new oil in this Age.
Global sensorization is driving new ideas and thoughts that will ultimately drive innovation in our personal, business and working lives. Sensors data is opening up new opportunities, driving new business models and taking innovation to new levels.
We are still living in the Connected Age. I expect this Age to end in 2025, not because there will not be more things to connect, but because it is when most “things” will become intelligent and start being controlled by robots.
The Robotic Age
Reading “Genesis of AI: The first hype cycle,” I rediscovered how artificial intelligence was born and evolved until now. But it wasn’t until after I read “Your data is crucial to a Robotic Age. Shouldn’t you be paid for it?” that I realized we are entering before 2025, not without a certain fear, the Robotic Age.
According to IDC, “By 2019, 40% of digital transformation initiatives — and 100% of IoT initiatives — will be supported by AI capabilities.”
Qualcomm also envisions a world where edge AI makes devices, machines, automobiles and things much more intelligent, simplifying and enriching our daily lives.
AI has emerged as the most exciting capability in today’s technology landscape. Its potential is rich for large, complex organizations that generate massive amounts of data that can be fed into AI systems. AI-driven companies will represent the future of broader parts of the economy, and we may be headed for a world where labor’s share falls dramatically from its current roughly 70% to something closer to 20-30%. At the same time, the number of robots will increase.
Robotics and artificial intelligence have reached a crucial point in their evolution. A robot is no longer just a mechanical device capable of interacting with its environment and carrying out an assigned task. At present, research laboratories all over the world are developing and implementing sophisticated robots in technical, practical and even philosophical tools. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that there are still problems in the land of AI.
The Cognitive Age
For those of you who believe the mind is the center of all things, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote two editorials that point to wider transformations that are shaping the world in which we live.
We could consider the start of Cognitive Age being when Facebook abandoned an experiment after two artificially intelligent programs appeared to be chatting to each other in a strange language only they understood. The two chatbots came to create their own changes to English that made it easier for them to work — but which remained mysterious to the human.
Are we sure Facebook shut down its artificial intelligence program? Facebook is not the only company — or government — running secret AI programs. Are you scared?
There are many myths about Cognitive. This article, published by Deloitte Consulting, may help dispel five of the most persistent myths.
“Start thinking how to prepare yourself and your business for the Cognitive Age.”
As I explain in “Bring your own cyber human (BYOCH) part 1: Augmented humans,” we are on the path to becoming cyber humans. To live in the Cognitive Age, I encourage companies to invest in how to enhance our senses and increase our intelligence to compete with and win over robots.
The Connected Age is a fact. Arm predicts 1 trillion IoT devices will be built by 2035. For those who think IoT is a revolution, don’t be worried because we are just living in an evolutionary process.
With the introduction of AI and machine learning, enterprises will be able to embark on projects never thought possible before. The Robotics Age is going to be a great challenge for humanity. The fear of being inferior to our creation, not being able to control them, competing with machines for jobs and having to obey them will really mean the beginning of a revolution.
What does AI mean for the future? What will the implications and the risks be? Will AI really understand humans? With its current skills, humanity will be inferior to the cognitive systems that will populate the Cognitive Age. That is why I encourage governments, private laboratories and researchers to work on Augmented Human projects so we do not become slaves to our uncontrolled inventions.
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