Imagine what the world would be like if we could harness the multitude of data generated each day to catalyze positive change. What if we had the ability to predict and stop crimes before they happened, or could apply these same methodologies to save lives with better healthcare? Sound like the plots of many familiar movies? With recent advances in artificial intelligence, these outcomes are not only possible, but an exciting reality!As we move swiftly into this new year, media, analysts and just about everyone is thinking about what will be ‘the next big thing’ in technology. Looking back at 2017, this was a hallmark year for AI enthusiasm and awareness. More industries and organizations embraced digital transformation and have come to value their data as a critical corporate asset. Now, building off of that momentum, 2018 will be the year that AI adoption reaches critical mass among organizations and professionals!In speaking with customers over the past year, I’ve learned that many have already begun to experiment with machine and deep learning and artificial intelligence; some proactive customers have put AI-enabled capabilities into production, and nearly all are expected to make investments in the coming months. By the end of the year, we expect most enterprise customers will have one or more AI-enhanced services or products in production, and that the majority of smaller and mid-size companies will be executing AI technology evaluations and pilot programs (with some already in production as well).When deployed strategically, AI technologies equip organizations to derive actionable data insights across virtually all industries, including energy, transportation, education, research, entertainment, hospitality, and so many more. In 2018, we predict the financial services, retail, healthcare and life sciences, and manufacturing industries will realize quick results with human-machine partnerships. Why is this the case? Optimizing Financial DataFinancial services companies already possess vast data sets and conduct advanced analytics on business and customer trends. This expertise fosters an ideal culture for evaluating and adopting more powerful methods, as data becomes fuel for deep learning approaches. Artificial intelligence can be used to optimize all facets of financial data reporting, from risk assessments and growth projections to client satisfaction and fraud prevention. The ROI of attracting new customers is easily measured, and in 2018, these organizations can further improve performance by better understanding customer needs and reducing fraud and security breaches. As AI enables automated financial decisions at scale, it will converge with another disruptive technology, blockchain, to secure and validate automated transactions.Maximizing Profit for RetailersRetail has many potential uses for AI, such as understanding the target markets of products, improving advertising with personal information, and detecting fraudulent online purchases and theft in brick-and-mortar stores. Next year, these capabilities will increasingly become mainstream for small and mid-sized retailers. Dell EMC retail customers will continue to maximize profits by promoting offerings to the most likely buyers and predictively purchasing commodities by time and location. These AI-enabled successes set the foundation for future advances in retail operations, like implementing fully-automated customer support and autonomous product delivery operations.Standardizing Efficiency in HealthcareOne of the reasons I love working in technology and for Dell EMC is the ability to help our customers leverage technology to advance human progress. In no field is that truer than in healthcare and life sciences, industries that are often the showcase examples for the power of artificial intelligence.From the discussions we’re having with our healthcare customers, it is likely that in 2018, initial research projects will evolve into standard operating procedures. There is an abundance of image data for many medical ailments, like tumors, which is being used to train AI models to detect these conditions earlier and more accurately. Early results are so promising, that many healthcare providers will regularly use deep learning solutions to support the diagnosis of cancer and other severe conditions this year. I believe the impact of AI in healthcare will be both wide and deep; as healthcare records become progressively digitized and input into deep learning methods, they will help researchers understand health risks, improve detection and monitoring of conditions, and even predict health issues before they arise. That’s incredible progress! Moving forward, I believe that the era of personalized medicine will be furthered by pairing AI technologies with increasingly comprehensive and blockchain-secured data from IOT and other sources that complement lab results and caregiver observations.Reducing Cost for ManufacturersCost reduction is of utmost importance to the manufacturing industry, whether the costs of components, failures, or maintenance. The ability to predict global supply chain costs and customer demand, and intercede before they occur, runs parallel to the advances in the financial services industry I wrote about above. Embedded within manufacturing facilities and complex equipment are sensors that measure item productivity and environmental conditions that impact reliability and maintenance, like power, temperature, and stressors. Our customers tell me that they are already benefitting from this data and leveraging it to develop AI-powered models to predict failures before they happen and improve customer satisfaction. For example, customers can be notified when firmware updates should be applied or support should be contacted, among many other use cases. Deep learning technologies are so powerful that we use it to bolster the reliability and support of our own offerings.To me it is clear – artificial intelligence and machine and deep learning will continue to grow as all types of organizations understand the incredible power offered by these technologies. That said, although revolutionary, the transformative results promised through artificial intelligence will not come without effort. To unlock the full capabilities of AI, organizations will have to do the heavy lifting of going “all in” on digital transformation, accelerating their computing methods, and embracing data sovereignty. It will be critical for data to be extensive collected, curated, and made available to all applicable uses cases.It’s About Knowing Where to StartAlthough artificial intelligence has been around for decades, it’s still difficult to understand and use effectively and requires the right expertise and technologies. Fortunately, Dell EMC is the premier vendor for data storage in the world, and we have decades of experience in managing data, enabling data analytics, and working with customers to design and deploy AI solutions for deeper insights. And, it’s about to get even better!In 2018, building on extensive work with customers and partners, Dell EMC will make simple AI solutions available to customers in all verticals. As we recently announced, our Ready Bundles for Machine Learning and for Deep Learning bring AI capabilities to the masses, including global companies, research labs, governments, and educational institutions. Our carefully designed, optimized, reliable, and scalable solutions integrate advanced processors, storage and networking technologies, and powerful AI-optimized software. These solutions simplify selection, deployment, adoption, and usage for our customers, thus minimizing the cost, effort, and frustration associated with DIY and public cloud solutions.AI is complex, but we’re focused on simplifying and accelerating the journey for customers and helping more organizations achieve its promise and potential in 2018. The revolution has begun, and we expect all businesses will use and benefit from AI-powered solutions as we close the decade. Dell EMC Ready Bundles for Machine Learning and Deep Learning will deliver these critical capabilities, empowering customers to innovate, compete, and change the world!Want to learn more about our thoughts on these topics? Read more about Dell Technologies’ 2018 predictions for artificial intelligence.