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THE FUTURE OF TECH: Embracing the right technology with the right people for business success

THE FUTURE OF TECH: Embracing the right technology with the right people for business success 3

THE FUTURE OF TECH: Embracing the right technology with the right people for business success 4By Pete Hanlon, CTO of Moneypenny

Technology is advancing quicker than ever before, and never more so than in the field of communication. In this landscape of constant change, we can be sure of this fact. And embracing the right technology will be instrumental for sustained business success.

The challenges of the last few years, for all their anguish, have brought to the forefront what can be achieved and what is on the cusp of being achieved in communication. More than anything, it has highlighted that we value human interaction. By combining high quality people with great technology, together these two elements will shape the way the world works as we step into our new future.

Here’s my take on what I think this year has in store for us.

COMPUTERS WILL BETTER UNDERSTAND US

Over the past few years technology companies such as Google, Facebook and Open AI have been releasing increasingly complex natural language models to power Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. These language models are the foundation for much of the improvement we see today allowing computers to extract meaning from written text. To give some idea of the rate of innovation, language models such as ELMo released in 2018 had approximately 94 million parameters.

Think of a parameter as a neuron in the human brain. Today we are seeing models such as Megatron from NVIDIA with 530 billion parameters and we expect the upcoming GPT-4 model from Open AI to have 100 trillion parameters. To put that into context, the human brain has an estimated 86 billion neurons. As these models increase in size, they pick up more information about how we structure language, the relationship and meaning of words and the intent of sentences.

It means going beyond supervised learning to reach human-level intelligence, meaning, in turn, that they will be better at understanding us, organizing, and processing information and engaging in intelligent dialogue.

AI WILL BECOME EXPLAINABLE

As AI systems and Deep Learning models become ever more complex, it becomes increasingly challenging to explain how systems make predictions. Deep learning models are often trained on billions of data items. However, if we want to understand why a complex model gave a particular prediction it is almost impossible to do in a way that is understandable to humans.

To trust AIs that drive our cars and help run our lives, we need to be able to understand the processes they went through to make a prediction. We may trust the autopilot on our cars, but it comes with responsibility, and you want to know what it will do when it must decide.

Just as decision-makers in big business, who are using AI to analyze insights and deliver better predictions, they need to understand why to be accountable.

This is a vast area of research by all the large tech companies and many research groups and I expect this to be a field of research that will improve significantly over the next twelve months.

MASS ADOPTION OF NO-CODE / LOW-CODE PLATFORMS

For as long as I can remember we have been talking about tools that allow people with no formal programming background to write computer programs. The idea was first raised in the 70s, but the systems back then were just too complex. However more recent low-code, no-code platforms are making it significantly easier to write programs to automate processes within a business.

If you can work with an Excel spreadsheet, there is a good chance you can develop complex solutions using these new platforms. In traditional software development, programmers needed to build an application from scratch, requiring expertise, time and money. Low-code platforms, especially cloud-based will shorten this development process, helping businesses to be more agile and work smarter, perfect for the new way of working.

We are starting to see the mass adoption of this technology and I expect it to continue to rise in popularity over the following year, effectively democratizing the ability to automate business processes.

SECURING THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Most companies have been doubling down over the past few years to improve security and reduce the threats of cyber-attacks but an area that has been forgotten is securing the supply chain. Every piece of software we install within a business has the potential to become a cyber threat.

The impact of cyber threats coming from trusted companies in our supply chain is enormous. It is critical that the software that drives the digital ecosystem is secure and resilient, protecting our digital advances and equipping us with the tools to combat existing and ever-evolving threats. Mitigating risk in the supply chain will be a huge area of focus in 2022.

QUANTUM COMPUTING WILL CONTINUE TO BREAK NEW GROUND

Quantum computing is an exciting field within technology. These computers can solve certain classes of problems significantly faster than conventional computers and the potential for this technology is vast.

In 2019, Google announced in the Nature Journal that they have achieved Quantum Supremacy. This means they have solved a problem on a Quantum Computer that would have taken a state-of-the-art supercomputer years to complete. Since then, there has been some challenge around the validity of this claim however the field of quantum computing is a hot topic and will be a game-changing technology that will start to creep into our lives over the next few years. It has the power to impact all industries, transforming business models and it is happening. Leaders need to educate and equip their businesses with the tools to embrace it and look to the future.

OUTSOURCING WILL INCREASE

The pandemic has taught us to focus on what we do best and bring in experts when we need specific solutions. Businesses that adopt this model can grow, innovate and pivot faster which makes them more competitive in the constantly changing and evolving business environment we all operate in. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) has been growing over the years, and it is a trend that will continue to grow. It offers continuous innovation, agility, and cost-efficiency, it makes perfect sense. What is more important, however, is in accepting that the future is in working together, in close partnership, an integrated extension of business.

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