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January 2017, Vol. 6, No. 1

Machine learning business applications increase IT productivity

With another tsunami of hype about the wonders artificial intelligence can bring, IT professionals would be wise to seek higher ground until they can sort out exactly how machine learning business applications can help them. We have seen this hype a couple of times before. On and off through the mid-1980s and 1990s, a variety of AI-flavored prototype technologies promised to automate out of existence any number of technology issues bogging down IT productivity. But each time, the hype misled many potential customers who were disappointed in the commercial products -- if they were delivered at all -- and the air quickly came out of the AI balloon. Visions of American businesses resembling something out of Star Wars ended up star-crossed. "In the 1980s, there was an enormous amount of AI startups that collapsed after a few years because, in part, expectations were too high," said Mike Gualtieri, vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research. "People still associate AI with sci-fi movies or something like Westworld ...

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