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CEOs prioritise cognitive computing tech

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CEOs across multiple industries expect cognitive computing to play a major role in their companies' future.

This is according to the IBM Institute for Business Value report titled: "Accelerating enterprise reinvention: how to build a cognitive organisation".

The research found while investment in cognitive is expected to yield significant competitive advantages, executives are prioritising its application in specific business functions, such as information technology, sales, information security and innovation.

Cognitive computing describes technology platforms that are based on the scientific disciplines of artificial intelligence and signal processing. These platforms encompass machine learning, natural language processing, speech recognition and human-computer interaction, among other technologies.

The study is based on a survey of more than 6 000 executives across industries with further analysis from leaders of each business function to determine the organisational priorities for applying and adopting cognitive computing.

Around 73% of the surveyed executives said cognitive computing will play an important role in the future of their organisations, and a further 15% said they anticipate a 15% return on investment from their cognitive initiatives, notes the study.

"The top three functional priorities to apply cognitive computing by the surveyed CEOs were: information technology - to support faster, more efficient planning, development and testing of enterprise software to enable greater agility and accelerated solution design; sales - to improve the efficiency of customer-facing services, expand customer account management capabilities, increase cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and improve efficiency of lead management - all with richer contextual understanding; and information security - to "enable faster, more reliable fraud detection or other activities within volumes of structured and unstructured data," reveals the study.

The Worldwide Semi-Annual Cognitive/Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC) found widespread adoption of cognitive systems and artificial intelligence (AI) across a broad range of industries will drive worldwide revenue from nearly $8 billion in 2016 to more than $47 billion in 2020.

"Software developers and end-user organisations have already begun the process of embedding and deploying cognitive/AI into almost every kind of enterprise application or process," says David Schubmehl, research director of cognitive systems and content analytics at IDC.

"Recent announcements by several large technology vendors and the booming venture capital market for AI start-ups illustrate the need for organisations to be planning and undertaking strategies that incorporate these wide-ranging technologies. Identifying, understanding and acting on the use cases, technologies, and growth opportunities for cognitive/AI systems will be a differentiating factor for most enterprises and the digital disruption caused by these technologies will be significant."

A Gartner study found that by year 2023, a third of all the work done by specialist lawyers, doctors, traders and professors will be done by smart machines or by less skilled, non-specialist people working with assistance from cognitive computing technology.

"Around 90% of the jobs we are familiar with today will be replaced by smart machines come 2030," predicts Gartner.

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