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Can AI help to predict the future?

AI Predict Future

Theoretically, unless you believe in crystal balls or Tarot cards, you can’t predict the future.

However, according to Dr. Kira Radinsky if you see an abandoned car in the street, and it’s a rainy day (providing cloud cover for villains), then you can calculate that there’s a 3.7 times greater probability of a crime happening in that street.

As Dr. Kira Radinsky, eBay’s director of data science (Israel) and chief scientist, explained at “The Future of AI Launchpad” – a one-day Launchpad seminar organized by the Amdocs Innovation group – if you have a big enough data set of past events, you can build a system to look for patterns that repeat, and then use all of that to predict future events.

One of Radinsky’s most impressive successes was her prediction of the 2013 cholera epidemic in Cuba, its first in over a century. The system she built, (which includes all the news printed in the New York Times since 1880), identified that if you have a drought and a year and half later there are floods, the probability of cholera is much higher for countries with a low GDP and low concentrations of clean water – for example Angola and Bangladesh.  When her system identified these weather patterns close to Cuba, it successfully predicted a cholera outbreak two-and-a-half months in advance. Given this knowledge, and the fact that cholera can be treated very easily if you send clean water, the outbreak was effectively contained.

Radinsky then cautioned that present-day systems are far from foolproof in terms of predictions, providing the example of Google getting the flu wrong when the Google Flu Trend missed the peak of the 2013 flu season by 140 percent. It did so, explained Radinsky, because it confused searches for “flu” with those of “swine flu”.

So given that artificial intelligence and machine learning have not yet cracked it in terms of totally predicting the future, what do human experts in the AI field expect the future to hold?

Speaking in a panel discussion, SAP’s Izhak Shoshan predicted that “in our lifetime, we will lose the ability to differentiate between the real and virtual” while Raanan Yogev, from Kryon Systems, made the point that while people can’t touch AI, it will touch everything.”

According to Microsoft’s Seth Juarez, this AI industrial revolution will commoditize “cheap human thought”, just as the first industrial revolution commoditized cheap human labor. However, Juarez was optimistic for the future, arguing that “we’ll be free to solve the real human challenges that AI and robots can’t solve. They’re not going to replace humans.”

And hopefully Juarez is right to be optimistic – after all, it was down to us humans to send the clean water to Cuba, once the predictive analytical calculations had been made…

ABOUT LAUNCHPAD: This is a new open-innovation initiative that allows Amdocs to investigate new trends and technologies, and identify key use cases that can form the basis of Amdocs’ strategy and roadmap. This platform brings innovators across Amdocs groups together with ecosystem players such as startups, large enterprises and Academia leaders to co-ideate and co-innovate around new technologies.

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Amdocs wins TWO Leading Lights awards (and we’re very proud about it)

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awardA finalist this year in a whopping four categories, Amdocs walked away with two prestigious Leading Lights Awards – Outstanding Communications Technology Vision and Best Deal Maker – at the disco-themed gala dinner last night in Austin, Texas. (Unsurprisingly, no additional awards were picked up for our dancing).

 

Leading Lights is the communications industry’s leading awards program, run by the Light Reading publication, and subsequently, the competition for these awards is tough, to say the least.

 

Amdocs received the Leading Lights award for Outstanding Communications Technology Vision for our strategy behind our “Intelligent CSP” vision. This award is given to the company which Light Reading identifies has having the most innovative, transformative strategic vision for the global communications sector that harnesses next-generation technologies including artificial intelligence/machine learning, fog networking, robotics, drones, virtual or augmented reality and any other developments that will shape a 5G world.

 

Amdocs’ “intelligent CSP” vision enables our customers to become intelligent communication service providers by accumulating, managing and transforming data assets to design dynamic, tailored omni-channel experiences that deliver real-time actionable business value.  This vision is turned into reality through aia, Amdocs’ new digital intelligence platform, which turns CSPs into “intelligent telcos”. It’s not just the industry’s only solution with telco-specific intelligence use cases, taxonomies and terminologies but it also is the first to use an integrated, cross-organizational, horizontal approach across a service provider’s front and back-end telco systems and processes to  create cross-domain value.

 

Amdocs also won The Best Deal Maker award for the impressive same-day acquisition, in three separate countries, of three privately-owned companies: Vindicia, Brite:Bill and Pontis. All three acquisitions were part of the execution of Amdocs’ strategy of expanding its digital play to help service providers transform to capture the world of on-demand services and digital immediacy.

 

The judges pointed out that the award is given “to the company that has consistently demonstrated good timing, judgment, and execution in high-profile acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures, and other multi-company financial arrangements.”

 

 

zur giving award
Amdocs’ Zur Yahalom (c) AT&T’s Roman Pacewicz (r)

Also at the dinner, Amdocs Senior Vice President Zur Yahalom presented AT&T’s Roman Pacewicz with Leading Light’s Most Innovative Cloud Service Award for AT&T’s development of ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy), in which Amdocs was a co-creator and integrator. ECOMP now forms around 80% of the original source code of ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform), the Linux Foundation’s open-source management and orchestration (MANO) system.

 

 

Amdocs’ role as a key industry player in network functions virtualization (NFV) and open source was already recognised last year with Leading Lights’ Most Innovative NFV Product Strategy (Vendor) award.

 

Blogger: Jeff Barak is Amdocs’ corporate editor and manages the company’s corporate communications services team. He joined the company in 2008 after more than two decades as a print journalist.

 

 

 

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