Will Microsoft’s A.I. Vision Disrupt the End User?
At this year’s Microsoft Ignite conference, I was very fortunate to win a Keynote VIP ticket… meaning I was seated in the front row while Satya Nadella (Microsoft’s CEO) gave his groundbreaking presentation.
Yup, nothing beats that! It was absolutely wonderful to be present for all of the new and exciting announcements from Microsoft. Imagine being close enough to feel it!
During the Keynote, Nadella reaffirmed Microsoft’s shift in vision from “Mobile First” to “A.I. First.” It took me about a week to absorb what this fully meant and to own it.
My pet sheep, #Braam, also accompanied me to Ignite—and I’m not sure who enjoyed it more! Braam expressed his interest in becoming a Microsoft #InternSheep, and he was rewarded by #MSIgnite with an avatar and badge.
Does this have anything to do with Microsoft’s A.I. vision? In fact, it does, as you’ll see soon.
Defining Artificial Intelligence
Popular films like “The Terminator,” “Blade Runner,” and “Ex Machina” have caused many folks to have reservations and negative associations towards the idea of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). Personally, I suspect a lot of it stems from the fear of losing control (or of evil robots).
Excluding pop culture, what is the actual definition of A.I.?
Artificial Intelligence noun | / ˌärdəˈfiSHəl inˈteləjəns / 1: a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers 2: the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior
My means of coping through life’s difficulties has always been to look for the silver linings amidst any situation and to avoid focusing on the negative. With Artificial Intelligence, I’m choosing to do the same.
The Benefits of A.I.
Artificial Intelligence will not only help workers earn back their valuable time, it will also allow individuals to focus on innovative and creative tasks. During the conference, Satya Nadella reiterated this sentiment, stating, “Let us use technology to bring more empowerment to more people.”
A.I. is truly a revolution, not an evolution. We’re not optimizing the wheel to go any faster than it already is… We’re changing its shape and function entirely.
What Do I Need to Know About A.I.?
As with all systems and processes that we optimize and automate, we need to ensure scalability, governance, and accountability.
Imagine that a dot matrix printer is set to print ten tickets every day at midnight. Hypothetically, the printer process will fall into a loop on February 29th, printing thousands of tickets ceaselessly because adequate use cases and user acceptance were not accounted for. Similarly, would a coffee machine continue to keep pouring if the user fails to press the “Stop” button?
User error has almost always been the root cause of machines going rogue, and malfunctioning technologies are caused by missing steps or gaps in the programming phase.
Artificial Intelligence is no different. As the impact of the process increases, so does the responsibility to ensure both the positive and negative user acceptance tests. In turn, these safety mechanisms allow us to regulate and maintain control for when things go (unexpectedly) wrong.
What is Microsoft’s Vision for A.I.?
When Bill Gates created Microsoft Research in 1991, he had a vision that computers would one day see, hear, and understand human beings. Scary? A bit.
However, instead of emphasizing everything that could go wrong, let’s imagine that computers could help bridge the gaps between what we can’t see, hear, and understand on our own—allowing us to do more, learn faster, and be better.
During my Digital Literacy session at Ignite, I explained that everything around us is continuously evolving, and yet as a race, we’ve mostly stagnated. We still have only two ears, two eyes, and two hands, but the sheer amount of information we deal with on a daily basis is doubling each year. Upskilling not only helps us to deal with more, it also allows us to become more efficient.
Artificial Intelligence in Your Day-to-Day Life
Artificial Intelligence is already here, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Think about your daily interactions with Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Bixby, Skype Translator, and a whole lot more. Even if it’s to get a quick update on the weather, your upcoming events, or messages, A.I. is already making an impact on your day-to-day life. (And not in the scary ways!)
Not only is this just beginning of A.I., we have a lot to anticipate as it begins to incorporate IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Quotient). Once machines are able to harness the ability to truly learn and correct, it will become a personal experience for all of us.
So, Have Personal Assistants Improved Our Lives?
In my life, the use of personal assistants is becoming more and more of a staple to my daily activities.
For example, MyAnalytics helps me manage and prioritize my time by providing insights on how productive I am around my meetings and emails. Clutter and Junkmail (Focus Inbox) lets me focus on the most important messages, while Delve (Office Graph) shows me the content that is most relevant to my interests. All the while, Alexa and Cortana help me deal with tasks that I’m too busy for.
I’m sure personal assistants are also helping you with things that you may have taken for granted. Remember what it was like before Voice Search and Predictive Text?
Will A.I. Disrupt Life for the End User?
Disruption is often associated with confusion, which is why change management is crucial. Users who are not equipped with the skills to integrate apps and services will not trust decisions or information provided from systems.
For example, when my bank launches a new internet banking platform, I’m disrupted. However, If I embrace the change and adopt the new workflow, it will undoubtedly be to my benefit.
This brings me back to #Braam. I’m currently involved in a project to “Build Braam a Brain.” I absolutely love what I do, and helping people is my mission, but I can only do so much and help so many people. If I can leverage the knowledge I have to build a database where users can ask #Braam a question and receive a response (BOT), I would be one step closer to aiding those who need it.
The next step would be to further develop #Braam to learn from questions and responses, as well as have a sense of humor and EQ. Ideally, I’d like to have a conversation with #Braam (not only because he’s cute!), as he’ll not only make a great virtual assistant, but also add tremendous amounts of value to my business.
However, this does not mean that I’m replacing myself. Rather, I consider it duplicating myself, meaning I’ll have more time to achieve more.
And what’s Microsoft’s mission? “Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
It’s human nature to be afraid of being replaced. We need to realize that the entry of A.I. will open doors for us to achieve more, learn more, and become more.
Knowledge is power. If you’re afraid, learn! If you’re still afraid, learn more.
Be part of the change you want to see in the world. Get involved if you have an opinion. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
Do More with Metalogix
A.I. is undoubtedly the gateway to the future, and as we all learn to adopt machine learning and automation, we’ll move towards a more successful and effective means of work and collaboration.
In the meantime, let Metalogix free up some of your time to do more and achieve more. See how Metalogix’s industry-leading solutions can help you gain back the resources to accomplish what you want, while maintaining control of everything you need to do.
P.S. Soon enough #Braam will be able to write these blogs for me! :)
Tracy is a Microsoft MVP and an energetic, hyperactive adrenaline junkie who sees challenges and issues as opportunities and thrives on improving processes, environments and the general quality of life. Her broad knowledge about IT and Business gives her the ability to communicate on both levels and convey meaningful requirements and narrow the (ever present) gap between the two.