Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence right now.
We expect the tech giants to be in on this (here are some examples regarding Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon), but AI is very important to enterprise IT vendors like IBM and Microsoft, too. (See Satya Nadella's AI keynote from back at Ignite.)
(Also, I’m assuming it goes without saying, but just in case, we're not talking about general AI like sentient robots, rather we’re talking about more specific types. Over the last few years there have been tremendous breakthroughs in machine learning, involving deep learning and neural networks. Here’s a primer from the Andreessen Horowitz blog, a16z.)
Anyway, it’s time ask: How will the rise of artificial intelligence affect EMM, desktop virtualization, and EUC?
A few initial thoughts
As EUC folks, we’re concerned with deploying, managing, and securing different types of devices, apps, data, and identities. So to recast today’s question, we could ask: Does AI produce new types of devices, apps, data, and identities for us to deal with?
You could argue that AI will mostly affect the business logic within apps and devices themselves. So AI will mean more new apps, and refreshing or replacing old apps, but they’ll still be delivered with the same concepts we’ve been dealing with for years—they’ll be desktop, web, or mobile apps, or maybe within devices. The same goes for data. If AI is mostly about business logic within apps, and we already know how to deal with them, then we should know how to deal with their output, too, whether it’s documents, APIs, or dashboards.
Naturally, AI is also coming to the business logic of security and management products; so IT’s apps are getting it, too. For security, many use cases are emerging, such as products that use AI to spot things that look bad, whether it be malware, malicious users, hacked accounts, or insecure configurations. For management, imagine having AI to help a user get access to all the apps and data that they need—we could have all the settings and apps ready to provision right when they request it. AI is also becoming part of the core productivity apps and the devices that we use every day.
What about more problematic effects of AI? Well, there could be many, and of course we can’t predict them all. AI helps enable better voice-controlled user interfaces (Siri), so that’s a potential worry. (Does Siri have to know about enterprise DLP?) And a lot of AI execution will happen at the edge, in small devices, so we can’t just think of them as dumb clients, and instead we’ll have to worry about them even more. These are just two of many potential issues to ponder.
Why worry about AI?
Today I’ve just scratched the surface with a few initial thoughts, but overall I know that AI is something that we EUC folks need to pay attention to. Whatever it turns out to be, we at least want the adoption to be smoother than when mobile and cloud got us all worried about BYOD and Shadow IT. Also, looking again to what forward-looking organizations like Andreessen Horowitz are thinking, there’s a pretty good chance that AI is going to be the next big thing to follow mobile and cloud. So this is why we should start thinking about AI.