TECH BUYER Feb 2020 - IDC Perspective - Doc # US45976220

Time and Distance, Water Heater Design and Manufacturing, Creativity in Fashion, and Homogeneity: Thoughts on the Promise and Danger of Artificial Intelligence

By: Jordan K. SpeerResearch Manager, Global Supply Chain

Abstract

This IDC Perspective addresses the underlying reductive feature of the way in which artificial intelligence operates, as observed across the supply chain in a range of areas including voice assistants, self-driving trucks, and healthcare. This discussion begins with an example from GE, which in 2012 began to reshore some of its high-end manufacturing from Asia, as a way to highlight the unexpected and problematic results that can arise when time and distance are inserted into a supply chain whose links need to remain closer together. Taking a view through that lens, in this document, we discuss how the valuable homogenization that AI produces could possibly have unwanted results when applied to creative endeavors, such as fashion, which thrive on constant innovation, and caution users to make sure to inject diversity into AI where warranted.

"It turns out that we can't all just silo ourselves off from each other and work to perfect an extremely narrow slice of anything, whether we're talking about water heaters or healthcare or energy or retail, because the world is connected and people and places and things must be looked at holistically," says Jordan Speer, research manager, Global Supply Chain, IDC Retail Insights. "Things fall apart when interdependent pieces of the supply chain are forced to work independently. It's an important analogous lesson to consider when we think about injecting AI into creative roles in the supply chain."


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