James Henderson

Assessing the impact of AI on data science and machine learning

The future of data science and machine learning will be shaped by increased interest and investment in artificial intelligence (AI), with enterprise appetite spanning the edge to the ecosystem.

In response to the rising significance of data – and a market rapidly embracing generative AI – organisations are attempting to unleash the full potential of these emerging technologies irrespective of company size or industry sector.

“As machine learning adoption continues to grow rapidly across industries, data science and machine learning is evolving from just focusing on predictive models, toward a more democratised, dynamic and data-centric discipline,” observed Peter Krensky, Director Analyst at Gartner.

Addressing CIOs during a recent Gartner Data and Analytics Summit, Krensky cited five key trends as shaping the future of data science and machine learning.

  1. Cloud data ecosystems
  2. Edge AI
  3. Responsible AI
  4. Data-centric AI
  5. Accelerated AI investment

“This is now also fuelled by the fervour around generative AI,” Krensky added. “While potential risks are emerging, so too are the many new capabilities and use cases for data scientists and their organisations.”

According to Krensky, data ecosystems are evolving from self-contained software or blended deployments to full cloud-native solutions. By 2024, Gartner expects 50% of new system deployments in the cloud will be based on a cohesive cloud data ecosystem rather than on manually integrated point solutions.

“We recommend that organisations evaluate data ecosystems based on their ability to resolve distributed data challenges, as well as to access and integrate with data sources outside of their immediate environment,” Krensky advised.

Meanwhile, demand for edge AI is growing to enable the processing of data at the point of creation at the edge, helping organisations to gain real-time insights, detect new patterns and meet stringent data privacy requirements.

“Edge AI also helps organisations improve the development, orchestration, integration and deployment of AI,” Krensky added.

Gartner predicts that more than 55% of all data analysis by deep neural networks will occur at the point of capture in an edge system by 2025, up from less than 10% in 2021.

“Organisations should identify the applications, AI training and inferencing required to move to edge environments near Internet of Things [IoT] endpoints,” Krensky said.

Specific to responsible AI, Krensky said this makes AI a positive force, rather than a threat to society and to itself. It covers many aspects of making the right business and ethical choices when adopting AI that organisations often address independently, such as business and societal value, risk, trust, transparency and accountability.

According to Gartner, the concentration of pre-trained AI models among 1% of AI vendors by 2025 will make responsible AI a societal concern.

“We recommend organisations adopt a risk-proportional approach to deliver AI value and take caution when applying solutions and models,” Krensky explained. “Seek assurances from vendors to ensure they are managing their risk and compliance obligations, protecting organisations from potential financial loss, legal action and reputational damage.”

On the topic of data-centric AI, Krensky said this represents a shift from a model and code-centric approach to being more data focused to build better AI systems.

Solutions such as AI-specific data management, synthetic data and data labelling technologies, aim to solve many data challenges, including accessibility, volume, privacy, security, complexity and scope.

“The use of generative AI to create synthetic data is one area that is rapidly growing, relieving the burden of obtaining real-world data so machine learning models can be trained effectively,” Krensky noted.

By 2024, Gartner predicts 60% of data for AI will be synthetic to simulate reality, future scenarios and de-risk AI, up from 1% in 2021.

Collectively, investment in AI will continue to accelerate by organisations implementing solutions, as well as by industries looking to grow through AI technologies and AI-based businesses.

By the end of 2026, Gartner predicts that more than $10 billion will have been invested in AI start-ups that rely on foundation models – large AI models trained on huge amounts of data.

Furthermore, 45% of executive leaders reported that recent hype around ChatGPT prompted them to increase AI investments. According to Gartner, 70% claimed their organisation is in “investigation and exploration mode” with generative AI, while 19% are in pilot or production mode.


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