Many aspects of CI work may be influenced by innovations in machine learning.

Kurt Hahlbeck, Management Consultant at Hugo Enterprises continued Conley’s discussion on technology’s influence in his interactive presentation about how machine learning will reinvent human intelligence gathering.

Robots, AI, and machine learning all comprise various forms of automation, says Hahlbeck.

Hahlbeck asked attendees about their receptivity to automation and machine learning; it appears that about one-third are excited about the opportunity, while only a few resist the technology. Most are ambivalent.

Recent technological advancements include pattern recognition, supervised, unsupervised, and reinforced. One that is somewhat unknown is that of unsupervised technology—we may not be able to determine what mechanical decisions will result.

Some examples:

  • Mood box (music played according to listener’s mood)
  • Immediate translation
  • Robotics and bots
  • Writing (prose and reports)
  • 3D printing

There are three factors to drive the pace of technological change: exponential growth of computing, the digitization of everything, and recombinant innovation—the implication of creativity.

The government has begun to respond. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified threatened jobs, and the Obama administration issued a paper that was largely optimistic in its views of technology’s impact—the new administration is not concerned at this time.

It has been determined by one study that 47% of occupations in the U.S. are likely to become automated; another source says 9%; a PriceWaterhouse assessment comes in right about in the middle of this spectrum.

In the headlines, Consumerist says “Yum Brands CEO: Robots will take over fast food jobs in next 10 years,” and another source says: “At BlackRock, Machines are Rising Over Managers to Pick Stocks.”

Further, “Automated Dermatologist Detects Skin Cancer with Expert Accuracy,” (CNN) and “Robot Lawyer Makes the Case Against Parking Tickets,” per another source.

Thought leaders reflect a wide spectrum of beliefs on the topic.

Hahlbeck asked the audience “What will this mean for the competitive intelligence profession?”

Some thoughts and implications are:

  • Research function (data collection)
  • Predictions (pricing, B2B situations)
  • “If-then-that-what” string logic to filter alerts
  • Ethical impacts: A machine will assemble personal information, for instance—when does it become unethical with this massive capability?
  • How are bots to be programmed—what are ethical methods for updates?
  • Will technology enable us to forecast decision-making, considering an emotional component based on previous behaviors?
  • Economic impact: number of analysts required