What exactly is the Fourth Industrial Revolution -- and why should you care? The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It's the collective force behind many products and services that are fast becoming indispensable to modern life. Think GPS systems that suggest the fastest route to a destination, voice-activated virtual assistants such as Apple's Siri, personalized Netflix recommendations, and Facebook's ability to recognize your face and tag you in a friend's photo. As a result of this perfect storm of technologies, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is paving the way for transformative changes in the way we live and radically disrupting almost every business sector.
For us and many other companies, trust has become a competitive advantage. As businesses race to adopt artificial intelligence (AI), their ability to use it ethically--and in ways that generate trust from customers, partners, and the public--will become a competitive differentiator. This means companies need to make ethics and values a focus of AI development. Some reasons for this are obvious: Three-fourths of consumers today say they won't buy from unethical companies, while 86% say they're more loyal to ethical companies, according to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer. In Salesforce's recent Ethical Leadership and Business survey, 93% of consumers say companies have a responsibility to positively impact society.
"If you want to know where to make money over the next two decades, look for companies that are finding ways to automate jobs that are currently being done by humans...that you wouldn't have thought previously could be done by a machine. Truck drivers are one thing and Google as well as Tesla have a great head-start in disrupting that market, but lawyers, doctors, teachers, customer service and sales reps – there are companies that are turning these professions into lines of code, and they're going to make a lot of money." Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a roughly 25bn a year market today and Gartner projects that it will be the fastest growing enterprise SaaS segment over the next few years, reaching over 40bn in annual spend in 2019. The importance of this market is being underscored by the all-out war between tech titans Microsoft, Salesforce, and Oracle who have already spent close to 40bn in the past two months on CRM-related acquisitions including LinkedIn ( 26.2bn cash), NetSuite ( 9.3bn cash), and Demandware ( 2.8bn stock). Companies today are striving to leverage what is rapidly approaching the zettabyte scale data loads that customers are uploading to the cloud every year, and most CEOs understand that getting a better customer 360 will be a key driver of their firms' success.
In September 2016, Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff informed employees, customers, and investors that Salesforce would be an AI-driven company. Earlier that year, Microsoft released its Tay research chatbot project through a Twitter Account. Microsoft shut down Tay after only 16 hours because it started to mimic the deliberately offensive behavior of other Twitter users, and Microsoft had not given the bot an understanding of such inappropriate behavior. With chatbots as one of Salesforce's most promising customer service-related technologies, Kathy Baxter, in her role at that time as Principal User Researcher, was curious about understanding what went wrong with Tay. She also wanted to know how that type of AI-enabled system behavior could be avoided at Salesforce.
FOR the second straight year, Deloitte surveyed executives in the US knowledgeable about cognitive technologies and artificial intelligence,1 representing companies that are testing and implementing them today. We found that these early adopters2 remain bullish on cognitive technologies' value. As in last year's survey, the level of support for AI is truly extraordinary. These findings illustrate that cognitive technologies hold enticing promise, some of which is being fulfilled today. However, AI technologies may deliver their best returns when companies balance excitement over their potential with the ability to execute. A year later, and the thrill isn't gone. In Deloitte's 2017 cognitive survey, we were struck by early adopters' enthusiasm for cognitive technologies.4 That excitement owed much to the returns they said cognitive technologies were generating: 83 percent stated they were seeing either "moderate" or "substantial" benefits. Respondents also said they expected that cognitive technologies would change both their companies and their industries rapidly. In 2018, respondents remain enthusiastic about the value cognitive technologies bring. Their companies are investing in foundational cognitive capabilities, and using them with more skill. Thirty-seven percent of respondents say their companies have invested US$5 million or more in cognitive technologies. Another reason is that companies have more ways to acquire cognitive capabilities, and they are taking advantage.