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Zoho Corporation 2023 Predictions: AI in 2023 is Exciting and Concerning

vmblog-predictions-2023 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

AI in 2023 is Exciting and Concerning

By Ramprakash "Ram" Ramamoorthy, Director - AI Research at Zoho Corporation

No, the robots didn't come for us all, but 2022 was still a year in which AI rose to prominence. Mundane consumer tasks, such as receiving customer support or recommended items to buy, became powered by AI, pushing the technology into the homes of even the least tech-savvy customers.

This momentum has been building for the last few years. According to McKinsey's "The State of AI in 2021" report, 57% of companies in emerging economies had adopted some form of AI, up from 45% in 2020. In 2022, an IBM survey found that, though AI adoption is gradual, four out of five companies plan to leverage the technology soon.

In 2023, I expect AI to continue evolving software within the industry, providing users with a deeper understanding of language and data, expedited decision-making, and a suite of smart tools to grow their businesses. However, the forecast is not all clear skies. Privacy will remain a central topic of discussion and fear among consumers, and the process of training AI continues to carry the potential for introducing biases. Additionally, the media and international governance have not caught up to where AI is headed in 2023.

Here's more on what to expect in 2023-how AI will adapt and what to do about potential issues.

Mainstream Adoption

While generally available as an add-on today, AI will likely migrate to devices, apps, and EX platforms on a native level in 2023. Expect software to arrive already equipped with AI, meaning consumers will no longer have the option to opt-in and will have to face the potential downsides of ubiquitous AI directly.

Privacy concerns are the main driving factors. Consumers, having read about data breaches at well-known companies, are understandably wary of giving out personal information to tech companies even if doing so improves their experience. Plus, governance and ethics, two factors that could serve to reduce apprehension, are not established industry concepts just yet. Hard to maintain consistency when, for example, California maintains strict regulations but most other states mandate nothing.

To prepare for an AI-first landscape, companies could begin emphasizing comprehensive privacy policies as competitive differentiators. Consumers are savvier these days about technical language, so these policies can really drill down into the details to build a foundation of trust.

Bias Reduction

Biases continue to make their way into AI. Sometimes, the technology has issues parsing accents; perhaps it can't present a balanced set of data points; at times, accessibility could be spotty.

Presently, the AI training process is where bias can emerge. This is because the current training options include purchasing synthetic data from third-party vendors-prone to distinct biases-or allowing the AI to comb the general, bias-prone internet for contextual clues.

To protect from bias, companies can install a human safeguard between the data collection and processing phases of AI training. These individuals can remove personally identifiable elements of data sets to ensure the AI is only absorbing what's relevant, as well as update their criteria as biases shift over time. With a little guidance, AI can mostly thrive on its own.

Media Narratives

In 2022, the media settled into a habit of repeating one of two conflicting narratives on AI. They alternate between lauding AI for its game-changing potential and admonishing AI for leading to the downfall of society.

As AI technology becomes more ubiquitous in 2023, the media is unlikely to change its approach. So, rather than twiddle their thumbs in anticipation of change that won't be coming, companies can try embracing direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing. This way, they can set their own narrative via word-of-mouth that counters some of the media's most egregious overstatements-and, at times, get ahead of growing negative AI sentiment.

However, the goal shouldn't be to take the media down a peg but, rather, to streamline the process between gaining customer interest and getting the product in their hands. Their firsthand experience speaks volumes louder than any article can.

The Future of AI is With Customers

AI technology is smart, but can't even scratch the surface of how intelligent customers can be. By soliciting detailed feedback from customers, companies can provide relevant, comprehensive updates to its AI-further pleasing customers and evolving the technology. Together, companies and their customers can ensure an AI-driven future pushes the technology envelope while emphasizing safe, secure, and unbiased data collection.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ramprakash Ramamoorthy 

Ramprakash "Ram" Ramamoorthy is Head of Zoho Labs and AI Research at Zoho, where he is in charge of implementing strategic and powerful AI features to help provide an array of business solutions well-suited for organizations of any size.

Published Thursday, December 15, 2022 10:01 AM by David Marshall
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