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February 2018, Vol. 6 No. 1

Slow to gain traction, AI apps on the verge of explosion

From chatbots ("Can I help you?") to killer bots ("I'll be back."), artificial intelligence runs the gamut of applications and emotions like no other technology. It's been nearly 70 years since AI first came into consciousness with humankind, yet only recently has it made serious inroads into business and consumer markets, mainly riding the coattails of its offshoot, machine learning.

AI's other offspring -- deep learning, cognitive computing, image recognition and natural language processing -- show plenty of promise but have barely left the womb. Yet market research and industry foot soldiers tell us AI is on the cusp of explosive growth in practically every major industry.

Along those lines, the February issue of Business Information opens with our editor's note, which provides a good dose of common sense and advice for businesses not to throw caution to the whirlwind of hyperbole surrounding AI. Companies anxious to apply AI, particularly machine learning, to their operations for fear they'll fall behind the competition, must first do their homework and separate fact from fiction, all the while keeping in mind that implementing AI apps is difficult and requires time, expense and the right kind of data.

Our cover story takes the issue of good data one step further and examines the very real dangers that bias in machine learning data sets can create. Data scientists have their work cut out for them identifying and pinpointing bias, especially since nearly all data inherently contains bias. In another feature, we look at the usefulness of today's AI tools, which, except for some niche AI apps, are not very useful, but they come with a whole lot of promise as a soon-to-be transformative force in business operations.

Also in this issue, a major components manufacturer uses AI apps to transform its assembly line process, cognitive computing can help improve a doctor's bedside manner, the benefits of AI and machine learning entice healthcare organizations to move to the cloud and humankind's range of reactions to AI's unlimited potential parallel those of the atomic age.

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