I recently had the opportunity to attend Huawei Connect 2020 to listen first-hand to how the global market leaders in 5G technology envision their 5-key tech initiatives (connectivity, computing, cloud, AI and applications) will shape the world around us. The main takeaway from this event was the importance data will play in powering next gen technological advancements and how digitalisation and 5G will be the driving forces around data creation.
It is clear for organisations embarking on or in the process of their digital journey there is great synergy to be had across connectivity, computing, cloud, AI, and applications. While data is undeniably the oil, a collaboration of cloud, AI and 5G can be viewed as the work engine driving intelligent insight. This rang true through a number of the keynote and plenary sessions and exemplified in Jinlong Hou’s (Cloud & AI BG, President, Huawei) session “Building an Intelligent World Together with Ubiquitous Cloud and Intelligence”
Few of us alive today have lived through a year so tumultuous, historic and, yes — that word again, unprecedented as the year 2020. We are seeing the biggest health pandemic since 1918’s Spanish Flu; the biggest threat to the world economy since 1929’s Great Crash; and the US is seeing the biggest civil unrest since 1967 — and these things are all happening at the same time.
2020 should have been technology’s time to shine.
I believe 2020 has been a wake-up call for humanity. As healthcare teams fight to keep the virus at bay, for industries the vulnerability of the human workforce has come to the fore. Yet technology can deliver powerful resources in the fight against COVID-19. An example is the use of unsupervised learning, a strand of AI, to quickly search tens of thousands of research articles on the virus and deliver potentially lifesaving answers to these scientists.
Over the past several decades, the speed of new technologies changing our everyday lives has been break-neck: from the smartphones in our pockets, to the drones above our heads, almost no part of the way we live our lives has been left untouched by the innovations from the world’s finest minds.
We have got so used to technology solving most of our problems that the expectations weighing on technology’s role in supporting organizations during and post COVID-19 are heavy.
Here is the truth: technology is able to help support organisations through these challenging times. Indeed, the technology is there: the artificial intelligence and the machine learning, the analytical tools, the scientists and engineers. There are pockets of expertise to be found all over the globe. The best scientific minds have been working on potential solutions and the work they have done has been nothing short of remarkable.
One issue is this technology has not been deployed well enough. If there is one lesson learned it is that the technology community needs to work better globally. A fragmented, siloed, compartmentalised approach just will not work in the face of global threats. A second issue I have seen in a number of cases is the right data at the right time is often not available to make the best possible decision. There is a greater need to plumb timely and relevant data into front end systems to truly realise value from applications such as AI. 5G promises to provide a solution to this issue, with the advantage of greater transmission speeds and lower latency for data movement. This would in turn allow for more interoperability in solutions and greater access to data where needed.
What is also needed is an effort to work together more internationally and recognise that global challenges need global solutions.
For this to happen there needs to be better deployment of the already available (and highly capable) technology at a national and even global level. We know that more than half of all AI models don’t make it into production. And organisations already recognised before the pandemic the need for ‘digital transformation’ so that data and analytics are used to inform every decision across the enterprise — meaning better decisions are made more quickly. The pandemic has alerted many organisations and industries to the fact they’re not as digitally advanced as they should be or perhaps thought they were. I am in fact fearful for organisations yet to embrace a digital first strategy. Now more than ever we rely on digital economies to drive growth.
I was impressed to see collaboration a recurring theme during the event with intelligent refining a novel application of collaborative optimization to enable refineries to operate securely and stably.
Other benefits around these technological advancements range from more personalised service offerings to the faster democratisation of information when you need it wherever you need it.
I believe in today’s economy; collaboration is more important than ever before. To truly benefit from the promise of technological innovations such as AI organisations need to be willing to embrace global challenges with global solutions. If 2020 is the year we learned about the true power of what humans can do, 2021 will be the year humanity is equipped with the technical power that comes from a global cooperation and trust in technology.
This article first appeared on medium.com
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About the Author
Dr. Iain Brown is the Head of Data Science for SAS UK&I and Adjunct Professor of Marketing Analytics at the University of Southampton.
Dr. Brown is also an influential
public speaker and published author.
With extensive range of doctoral research about machine learning techniques, Dr. Brown has often shares his precise insights about AI and machine learning.
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