This week Manthan catches up with AI expert and influencer, Dr. Craig Brown.

Craig is a “techpreneur” and big data subject matter expert. The CEO of STEM Resource Partners, Craig works diligently to increase the use of natural everyday language in technical fields to help facilitate the conversation between tech companies and professionals.

MANTHAN: How has the growing complexity of data, driven AI development?

CRAIG: The increase in machine learning and cognitive computing capabilities and the data that is generated, as a result of these capabilities, is a major contributor to AI development.  Automation mixed with decision support are the current forms of AI development leading the charge, but more use cases for AI are currently being uncovered.  So the answer to “How has the growing complexity of data, driven AI development?” is basically “AI development is dependent on complex data, therefore the more complexity the more valuable AI becomes.”

MANTHAN: Why do you think we are now on the verge of AI living up to its promise?

CRAIG: AI has been around for decades now.  The early years of AI primarily existed within the manufacturing and customer services industries.  These industries had the most practical use cases applicable to utilizing AI for automation.  Things are changing.  Transportation, healthcare, insurance and finance are developing more and more practical use cases that can utilize AI, very effectively.  Machine learning and big data are what is making the difference, allowing AI to finally live up to its promise.

MANTHAN: Can you give a recent example of AI being used in a business to the benefit of customers?

CRAIG: Insurance companies are using mobile devices to collect real time driver data allowing business to turn data into discounts and rate adjustments.  Customizing pricing to risk has been a huge problem in the past for this industry.  The data on drivers maintained by the state was not reliable considering that drivers could alter the stats by entering into programs like defensive driving and probation programs for fees.

AI drastically changes this.  The customers that are and have been safe drivers are finally getting the discounts they deserve.  Progressive and Allstate are giving drivers back millions per year while they are getting the returns applying risk factors raising the rates of those drivers that were the reason the rates were super high.

MANTHAN: Which industries do you think will be impacted by AI in the next 5 years?

CRAIG: Transportation, Insurance, Healthcare are currently and will for the next 5+ years be transformed by AI.  Banking (finance), manufacturing & hospitality will also go through some updates related to AI development.  Government is also going to be impacted in many ways as well.

MANTHAN: How do you foresee retailers responding to AI-driven technologies?

CRAIG: Digital transformation is doing wonders for retail but it’s going too slow.  Black Friday 2016 was the first time the retail industry really listened to the data to save on operations costs with store hours.  Mobile apps and in-store instant offers (via wireless transmissions to customers taking advantage of free Wi-Fi) is really beneficial, for those that have implemented it.  It’s still a work in progress for most.

MANTHAN: What is the most interesting AI development (product or technology) you’ve seen this year?

CRAIG: The IBM Watson platform is spreading into “everyday life”.  The use cases involved are very similar to how IBM got started with the “Computer”. Bringing a technological solution to people needs.  The recent partnership with Tax Services, Automotive Companies, Healthcare, Universities, Law Enforcement, and a few others stands out in my mind as very innovative.  IBM Watson is finding ways to bring Cognitive Computing, Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics to common problems.

Thank you Craig!