Why AI is more important than big data for IoT development

Artificial intelligence won’t solve every problem, but its current applications are already fundamentally reshaping the way we do business and collect data.

artificial intelligence / machine learning

While the development of the internet of things has revolutionized heavy industry, online shopping, localized data collection and virtually every other aspect of modern life and business, innovators are still struggling over the future of the IoT, and how they’ll get there. While many see big data as the driving engine behind the IoT, savvy investors and entrepreneurs have shown that the real power behind the interconnectivity phenomenon is artificial intelligence.

Tapping into the potential of AI won’t be easy for innovators, but doing so will be far more profitable for the IoT’s future than relying on big data alone. As programmed intelligence grows to new and greater heights, its ability to optimize the IoT will only be enhanced.

A new way of thinking

While artificial intelligence has largely been confined to “narrow” applications, such as operating robotic arms on an assembly line or handling other repetitive, simpler tasks, new developments in AI are changing the way it’s impacting the market. Today’s AI is increasingly capable of operating as a prediction engine, being used to foresee and exploit forthcoming market trends more so than being used as robotic labor.

As the quality of AI’s predictions continues to grow, companies in virtually every industry will come to rely on its accurate forecast more so than on big data analytics. While investments in big data will serve companies for decades to come, the potential of big data can only truly be realized when it’s paired with advanced AI capable of putting it to good use.

As the specialized hardware needed to exploit truly advanced AI continues to develop at a breakneck pace, the option for companies to use AI will also grow cheaper. So much of the data that flows through and enables the IoT can only be made helpful through the use of or with help from AI, meaning that developments in AI will more so than anything else shape the future of the IoT.

Making use of the data

IoT sensors are rapidly coming to be embedded in virtually every modern structure and home, meaning localized data collection is more optimized now than ever before. As the volume of data collected grows, only AI with deep machine learning capabilities will be able to crunch it effectively.

As cognitive computing capabilities become more impressive, companies will come to rely on them to replace or supplement their beleaguered human staffers. As Forrester’s report notes, AI investment is likely to grow by a staggering 300% in 2017 as companies realize the gold mine of potential that rests in harnessing the power of algorithms.

By relying on advanced AI to spur further development in the IoT, companies and individual innovators will be able to better predict the outcomes of business decisions before they’re even made. AI will helpfully point out the common pitfalls made by startups trying to create IoT applications, and will help successful startups optimize their performance once they get off the ground.

All of the wondrous insights granted by big data analytics are virtually useless to the IoT if they’re not properly handled and exploited. Analyzing the information generated by literally billions of IoT devices will simply be out of the hands of mere humans, who can’t possibly hope to gleam more than terabytes of information accurately. Only by turning to AI to pick up the slack will the IoT be able to continuously grow and spread to new devices.

Leveraging AI

As more robots are used in every sector of the economy and become connected to the IoT, companies that leverage AI-driven insights will be those that succeed in the market of tomorrow. AI will boost the efficiency and broaden the potential scale of the IoT as it exponentially grows and becomes capable of handling even more data.

AI is quickly coming to automate even the most complex and fragile of operations, such as mining ventures. As the IoT grows and more connected devices are used in tandem with one another, machine learning capable of keeping up with the dizzying amounts of data will be necessary for future business endeavors to succeed.

As a new generation of AI explicitly designed to work alongside of humans is born, current ways of doing business or predicting future trends will come to be entirely revolutionized. While AI is often lambasted as the boogeyman coming to take jobs, its ability to integrate human workers into the IoT economy could be its most impactful effect.

AI won’t be able to solve every problem in the marketplace, but it’s current applications are already fundamentally reshaping the way we do business and collect data. A failure to work with the machines could simply result in a firm being replaced by them. For all the challenges in the field, companies that prioritize AI development now will be well poised to master tomorrow’s market.

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