IDG Contributor Network: Is there a future for off-the-shelf AI?


There’s no two ways about it. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the wave of the future and . Companies recognize the competitive advantage it gives them: the ability to generate greater efficiencies, provide better customer service, and predict outcomes that can lead to better business decisions.

In the last decade, the availability of tools to aggregate vast amount of data was the hot thing. Now, this proliferation of data is the biggest reason that AI has taken off. AI gives us a way to do something with all that data. Today, analyzing raw data has become important to understand customer behavior, trends, and future outcomes.

Traditionally, companies would custom-develop solutions in-house. But eventually, big providers realized that they could meet a broad need by mass-marketing solutions that would be cheaper, faster, and more readily available than customized ones. This is how off-the-shelf solutions took off, and has since sparked huge debates about whether to build or buy.

So, given this historical trajectory, as AI becomes more mainstream, will users be able to pick up their favorite app right off the shelf? Unfortunately, not—that’s just not the way that AI works.