Big Data

My top 5 Analytics and AI predictions for 2019


This is the last post of my series about the topics I care most about. This time, I will focus on Analytics and AI. Especially the last topic (AI) has been a major buzz-word this year, so it is interesting to see what might happen in 2019. Therefore, my predictions for 2019 are:

1. Governance will be seen as major enabler – or blocker – for self-service analytics. Self-service Analytics will become a key goal for most companies

Let’s stay on the ground: a “deal-breaker” for Advanced Analytics and Data Science is often the inability to access data (fast) or bad data quality. Both topics can be handled well if data governance is treated with major investments within enterprises. I often see data scientists waiting for days or weeks to access data. Once they have access to data, they only figure out that the quality is very bad. Let’s face it: data governance wasn’t important in enterprises nor attractive. Nobody I know was stating that he applied a great data governance strategy. Other topics are more interesting to talk about. Nevertheless, if an enterprise continues to treat data governance as done till now, it will block data science from being successful. A lot of consulting companies currently market the term “self-service analytics” – but this is simply not achievable without data governance in place. Next year, more and more companies will figure this out and either apply a data governance strategy or risk to fail with their data driven efforts.

2. AI will continue to be a buzz-word, creating even more confusion in 2019 than it did before

I don’t know how you felt about AI the past year, but I had some really great “aha” moments. A lot of vendors approached me and wanted to talk about their great AI solutions. When I started to ask questions, the answer from (sales staff) was – “don’t worry, our AI takes care of it”. When looking under the hood of the technologies, it was often just a simple rules engine – no smart AI! I started to call this “rules based AI”, as there was no magic involved. When asking some vendors how they would explain AI, they simply said: “don’t worry, only the smartest people understand it”. I found this to be sort of offensive as they considered themselves as not smart enough – and even me :). I even asked if their AI is already rules based, and they said yes. So, one thing is very clear: AI is a buzz-word. Everyone is talking about it, but hardly anyone understands it. Same story as with the cloud, just some years ago. This trend will continue and finding real AI solutions (no, I won’t mention which I would consider as real – no ad placement in here) will be tricky. Many companies will buy “AI” solutions as it is trendy and they want to be part of it or simply don’t want to loose in this growing market. However, many of them will figure out that their AI isn’t as smart as they would have hoped for.

3. Google will use it’s advantage in AI to catch up in the Cloud

This basically reflects what I already wrote in the post some days ago in the Cloud. When it comes to the cloud, the #3 in the market is definitely Google. They entered the market somewhat later than AWS or Microsoft did. However, they offer a very interesting portfolio and competitive pricing. A key strength Google has is their AI and Analytics services, as the company itself is very data driven. Google really knows how to handle and analyse data much more than the two others do, so it is very likely that Google will use this advantage to gain shares from their competitors. I am exited about next Google I/O and what will be shown there in terms of Analytics and AI. 

4. Voice is the new Bacon

One of the many things AI should solve is voice recognition. It is one of the strength of mankind and one key development factor for us becoming what we are. With AI, we already see significant advances in intend recognition for written text (e.g. Chat, E-Mail, …). We carried out a project recently and could classify intent in e-mails with very little effort. However, voice is still an issue – especially if you are operating in a market with 4-6 million native speakers only. In order to go for significant automation of customer care, it is inevitable to go for voice recognition. But will it work? Ask yourself. Do you have Alexa or Google Home at your flat? Yes? I think we can answer this immediately. It only works poorly and is somewhat of an issue. However, next year, we will see significant improvements in this space, mainly driven by business demand. When we look at what Google presented during Google IO, this is the way to go. I believe that this year we will see much more of these services. Expect a lot to come in 2019 around Voice.

5. Rise of the python

Python is already the most popular language when it comes to data science. However, other languages like R are still in this space. Now, since many new data scientists come fresh from the universities with an IT background / major, python will continue to grow. This will also be reflected in new packages and add-ons for Python. Other languages won’t see so much effort and new and exciting tools will be available for Python only. Python still lacks capabilities for data visualisation when compared to R, but also this will change during 2019 and Python will continue to grow for this as well.

So, this are my 5 predictions for Data Science and AI. What do you think? Where do you agree or disagree? I am looking forward to our discussion!

I lead a team of Senior Experts in Data & Data Science as Head of Data & Analytics and AI at A1 Telekom Austria Group. I also teach this topic at various universities and frequently speak at various Conferences. In 2010 I wrote a book about Cloud Computing, which is often used at German & Austrian Universities. In my home country (Austria) I am part of several organisations on Big Data & Data Science.

2 comments on “My top 5 Analytics and AI predictions for 2019

  1. Herbert Zaczyk

    I really hope to see more in the area of Explainable AI, because this whole “black box” reasoning is still a struggle to explain to people, who are still accustomed to the traditional programming paradigm “if-this-than-that”

    • Good point Herbert. I actually call it rule based AI ;). There is quite some interesting work in the make regarding explainable AI and I think it could become big towards the end of the year 🙂

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