The world of business is changing, fuelled by data, devices and an ever-growing need for business insight. To keep up, UK businesses must adapt to two important trends: Ambient Intelligence and Data Culture. What will that transformation look like?

We’re already living in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. It is a world where about 200 billion sensors are connected to the Internet. It is a world where mobile devices outnumber humans. It is a world where we have created more data in the last 2 years than in the rest of human history. Businesses need to do things differently to account for the developments.

As if that wasn’t enough, whilst industry is accelerating, humanity is also accelerating. On the one hand, population figures are booming in many countries around the world. At the same time, we’re investigating technologies such as brain enhancing chips and exoskeletons that could challenge what it means to be human. Businesses need to account for these changes too.

Some of our brightest minds posit that there will come a day when artificial intelligence will overtake human intelligence – an event often referred to as the singularity. Science fiction filmmakers have been having fun with this one for years, depicting it as humanity’s darkest hour. But I think they’re wrong. For humanity to reach its full potential, we need to embrace the singularity.

When I look around the world today, I see companies in all manner of industries — computing, genetics, robotics, nanotechnology and many others – striving to imbue machines with greater intelligence. Why pursue intelligent machines with such passion? Because we now live in a world that produces such a deluge of information that humans can no longer make sense of it all. We need better tools if we’re going to be able to continue to make informed decisions.

Famed Futurist Ray Kurzweil once laid out the following timeline to the singularity:

  • 2010 – Supercomputers are able to emulate human intelligence
  • 2020 – Human intelligence computing available for $1000
  • 2029 – A computer passes the Turing Test by convincing a human that it is also a human
  • 2030 – Non-biological computation will surpass the capacity of all living human intelligence
  • 2045 – Singularity

If he’s right, we could be just 30 years away from the singularity. While that might be scary for some, I think the event holds enormous potential for good. Imagine having Cortana as a personal digital assistant that truly understands not just your data, but also its context and its relationship with the world via sensors. Imagine your phone being able to offer timely insight based on your location, people around you and your actions. We’ll be more productive that we ever thought possible.

Microsoft aims to enable you to be more productive in both your work life and home life, through leading productivity solutions on a comprehensive platform that can manage and make sense of all that data. Microsoft is at the forefront of applied artificial intelligence, including predictive analytics, machine learning, neural networks and leveraging data signals across products. And as amazing as that all is, it’s only going to get better. I can’t wait to see where this road leads us.

Want to learn more about how organisations are already using the latest machine learning and analytics tools to get more done and make better decisions? Attend one of Microsoft’s Data Culture immersion workshops to discover how your organisation can adapt to these exciting changes.

Register today for a Data Culture webinar.