Due its data processing capacity, artificial intelligence offers Swiss companies new opportunities.
Definition and examples of uses
Artificial intelligence (AI) aims to imitate human thinking abilities. It refers to all technologies and theories that make it possible to simulate human intelligence. Thus, unlike traditional computer programmes, AI can process and analyze Big Data (large amounts of data).
Artificial intelligence emerged in the 1950s thanks to mathematician Alan Turing who first instilled a form of intelligence to computers. Since then, AI is constantly progressing as it learns from experience based on the “machine-learning” principle. This method of learning by error is equivalent to a continuous training: the wider the database, the more lessons the AI can learn and refine its results, which in turn allows it to analyze and solve complex problems and even be predictive.
Google, Microsoft, Facebook and all major businesses today use artificial intelligence. For example, vocal recognition has been a great success these last few years. Chatbots (or dialoguers) such as Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa listen and translate the natural human language to carry out/ initiate a search through the database and formulate a response via vocal synthesis. Some AIs also serve to control devices remotely such as smart vacuums, autonomous cars or connected watches. Facial recognition or the automatic management of a network (water, traffic lights, street lights, etc.) are other examples of uses.
Since the invention of the concept in the 1950s, AI raises fear of obsolescence of man/the human being. The intervention of people nonetheless remains indispensable to program the machine, to introduce the right criteria, and to “ask the AI the right questions”. For the AI to be truly useful, a collaboration with man is therefore essential. In 2018, PwC also stressed that the development of these technologies should remove as many jobs as it will create.
Opportunities for Swiss companies
Today, a person uses AI nearly 220 times a day. According to the “Data Age 2025” survey carried out in 2017 by IDC, an information technology consulting firm, this frequency is likely to increase to 4,800 times a day in 2025. From financial risks assessment to assistance in medical diagnostics, AI affects all industries. Nevertheless, the report “Artificial Intelligence” published in 2018 by Swisscom stresses that only one in five companies expects AI to apply in its industry.
The technological shift of AI can be an important efficiency gain for businesses since it is not only able to sort a lot of data quickly but also organize them and make them sustainably useable. It also offers a quick response tailored to customers and can predict a consumer’s online shopping pattern.
"L’intelligence artificielle: Enquête sur ces technologies qui changent nos vies", Enki Bilal, Laurence Devillers, (2018), Editions Flammarion.
"Understanding Artificial Intelligence", Nicolas Sabouret, (2020), Editions Taylor & Francis Ltd.
"Artificial intelligence for dummies", John-Paul Mueller, Luca Massaron, (2019), John Wiley & Sons Inc.