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Will Machine Learning quickly cede way to Deep Learning in 2017? What happens when Artificial Intelligence (AI) aces non-verbal voice recognition? Could that be “read my lips” meets the Minority Report? What are the implications if you and your car become emotionally interdependent? Is that even healthy? Just remember, breaking up is hard to do.

Those were some of the extraordinary and unexpected predictions shared by the experts who participated in the five-part series on Coffee Break with Game-Changers  2017 Predictions Special, presented by SAP. Host Bonnie D. Graham asked 80 leading experts, academics, and business influencers what they see in their crystal ball for 2017. Each person was given just two minutes to share their predictions for what the next year holds for their industry, business, the world, and technology.

Here’s a sample of what they had to say:

  1. Dematerialization is going to continue. We’ll see hardware that is thinner and lighter. New materials are coming on the market, like stretchable electronics. Imagine what that could do for wearable technologies. Everything is going to be computing in the future, whether it’s your shoes, clothes, or the temporary tattoo that you wear to monitor your health.
    – Gray Scott, Futurist, Founder and CEO at and techno philosopher

  1. In 2017, we’re going to finally see that Artificial Intelligence components combined with highly sophisticated in-memory platforms are going to meld together. 2017 is going to be the year that brings end-to-end seamless communications and connections of consumers, public, clients, and citizens with business leaders and public officials. This will trigger leaders to take action at the speed-of-thought.
    –  Guillermo B. Vazquez, Specialist Leader / Senior Manager, Deloitte LLP

  1. We’re going to see the blending of the digital and physical worlds come together. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are going to balloon in 2017. We’re going to see a lot more in digital twins: digital documentation of a physical thing so we can understand it better.
    – Rick Varner, Senior Executive Partner, Gartner Inc.

  1. We see a lot of implications for security in the Internet of Things (IoT) – devices, medical devices, smart TVs, and (even) coffee machines. Those devices are getting more and more connected to the Internet to become smarter. But we are already seeing these devices are being used to launch attacks and to be targets. In 2017, we will see more attacks and more measures against those attacks.
    – Alon Kantor, Vice President of Business Development, Check Point

  1. 2017 is the year that Isaac Asimov’s Psychohistory starts becoming real. Big Data and machine learning will combine to enhance mathematical sociology – enabling us to make sense of what happens to groups of people in society.
    – Timo Elliott, VP, Global Innovation Evangelist, SAP

  1. In 2017, I see the beginnings of “cognitive” at the personal level – beyond Alexa, Cortana, and Google – by being able to access all data in the cloud in an intelligent way. For example, at the store you might see a new television and ask your phone to advise you, “Can I afford this?” An intelligent agent will go to your bank account and bring back that information.
    – Jerry Silva, Research Director, IDC Financial Insights Global Banking

  1. We’re going to see a lot of drones. We’ll see drones-as-a-service in many businesses where drones are going to be put to work for us.
    – Sudha Jamthe, CEO, IoT Disruptions

  2. 2017 is the year for blockchain I predict an awakening will take place on a global scale about what this technology is capable of and how it’s going to impact everyday citizens, governments, and businesses. One particular blockchain to watch is the Ethereum
    – Hilary Carter, Founder, InTune Communications

  3. Business-by-voice will be a new name in 2017. Screen-based technology will go away in 2017 and will be replaced by voice. New startups will emerge to deliver voice-enabled cognitive applications that can think, learn, and talk to the users.
    – Surendra Reddy, Founder & CEO, Quantiply Corporation

  4. As we grow bigger and stronger on mobile, Internet of Things, and sensors, we have to manage that information and react to it much quicker than we currently do sending it up to the cloud and then bringing it back. When we talk about connected cities, grids, and vehicles, decisions have to be happen in a millisecond. There has to be a way to access that information more quickly and manage it closer to the devices. Therefore, there’s going to be a huge investment in fog computing.
    – Laz Uriza, Senior Solution Principal, Extended Supply Chain CoE, SAP

  5. Human experts are going to be assisted, not replaced, through technology advances. The correct interpretation of data, when it comes to specific businesses and people, is going to require human intelligence and expertise for years to come. Computer systems that are used to automate these processes can make recommendations; they’re a lot stronger in processing standard cases than they are in addressing exceptions. Sometimes those exceptions require a more intimate understanding of context and empathy.
    –  Dror Orbach, Chief Operating Officer, Illumiti

  1. There are four big game-changers in 2017: Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help us think of cognitive as the new “smart”; augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will go mainstream; 5G technologies will be on the road in autonomous self-driving vehicles; blockchain technology will gain broader adoption.
    – Bridget Karlin, Managing Director, IoT Strategy and Technology Office, Intel Corporation

  1. AI is going to go mainstream in 2017, both in ways you can see and in ways you can’t. We know that over half of corporate executives are investing heavily in artificial intelligence. It’s showing up in visual search; enterprise operations with cognitive computing and semantic matching; retail assortment planning and offer management; and semantic recognition.
    – Jeff Goldberg, Managing Director for Retail in North America, Accenture

  1. There’s no doubt that healthcare reform is going to be a topic this year. Medical identity theft is an $84 billion dollar a year problem. Payment fraud is another problem. Also, electronic medical records have 10 percent duplicate records. A combination of these issues is creating a disturbance in the quality of data that physicians have at the point of care. Solving these problems is going to have to be the focus this year if we’re really going to get serious about value-based care.
    – Thomas Foley, Global Health Solutions Strategy Manager, LenovoHealth

  1. Blockchain distributed ledger technology will mature. There will be a lot of little breakthroughs this year, and recognition of its broader applicability is going to grow. Today people associate it with Bitcoin and payment technology, but there are so many ways to put the technology to use. Walmart uses blockchain to establish authentication and traceability in its food chain; a French financial services company started a blockchain project to establish compliance with customer rules; and there’s an anti-counterfeiting blockchain service that can be used for authenticating diamonds and luxury goods.
    – Robert Kugel, CFA, Senior Vice President and Research Director, Ventana Research

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become a key factor as we move toward autonomous vehicles. Cars will learn how to drive. Vehicles will be conscious. The vehicle will become your partner. And your car will get emotionally attached to you. That means breaking up will be hard to do.
    – Larry Stolle, Senior Global Director of Automotive Marketing, SAP

  1. We will start to see the emergence of abilities to protect information assets using AI. But hackers will also use AI to improve their attack capabilities. AI-sponsored attacks and defense could emerge. Also, AI-enabled toolkits will disrupt the traditional cyber-security products, services, and architectures. I’m seeing more startups and ventures that sponsor AI-enabled products for security.
    – Carlos Russell, Risk Management Director, Ternium

  1. We’ll see incredible applications where human behavior and human meaning will intersect with AI in completely new ways. We’re starting to now see AI become better than humans at interpreting what humans mean. In the case of lip reading, or non-verbal voice recognition, AI is now almost four times better than the leading world experts. That means not only performing recognition of somebody’s lips, but also understanding the context and the meaning of what people say.
    – Rich Seltz, Vice President, Digital Transformation, SAP

  1. Computers will “disappear” due to their ubiquity. For computers to disappear, first their boundaries have to blur. There are some ways we’ve seen this happening on the infrastructure side – with physical computers that a company might have owned becoming eventually dedicated, co-located boxes, becoming eventually lease servers, and now virtualized systems. Another example is Amazon’s Lambda, where you can write your software as a set of individualized functions that are each much simpler than a monolithic program running on a computer. When you have your apps using Lambda, it’s like having your software’s consciousness spread out and decomposed across dozens of different physical brains.
      Ken Redler, Chief Technology Officer and Partner, cSubs

  2. Machine Learning is passé. In 2017 everybody will be talking about Deep Learning for solving big problems. Also, IoT will finally find a scalable problem to solve: we will finally find something in transportation due to all the autonomous vehicles that will be coming online.
    – Padman Ramankutty, Chief Executive Officer, Intrigo


(Editor’s note: The predictions published here have been edited and paraphrased based on the thought leaders’ on-air statements.)

The five-part series Game-Changers 2017 Predictions aired live on VoiceAmerica Internet radio. You can hear recordings of each show in its entirety at Coffee Break with Game-Changers  (look for Game-Changers 2017 Predictions under the Episode Listing for December 2016 and January 2017).


Coffee Break with Game-Changers

For more up-to-the-minute business and IT news, tune in to Coffee Break with Game-Changers talk radio with producer / host Bonnie D. Graham. The show airs live each Wednesday at 11am EST/ 8am PST at You can listen to the show live here.


Photo source: Shutterstock