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Jeff Kagan: What AI Means to You and Your Company

The growth of artificial intelligence could soon lead to a great deal of confusion...
Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan.
Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan.

Let me ask you a question: What does AI mean to you? You may think it means artificial intelligence. That is the most widely known definition. However, other meanings are creeping into our consciousness like augmented intelligence and ambient intelligence and with that, things are starting to get awfully confusing.

In a world that’s full of advancing technology and rapid growth, investors, customers, media and analysts are all getting confused. You would think the people who name new technologies would be smart enough to create different names for different technologies. That way, when we use the abbreviation it wouldn’t get so confusing.

The Definition of AI is Getting Confusing

No such luck. Apparently, the people who decide on names for new technologies are not marketing people. If they were, they would create a different name with a different abbreviation. They would want to keep their technology clear and separate from others. They would want to both create a new name and own that name in the marketplace. They would want to be the Kleenex of the tissue business.

Instead, we have so many different industries that are growing and they all share the AI handle. That’s a recipe for disaster. Well, maybe not disaster, but confusion, and that can be a disaster in today’s crazy marketplace.

Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Intelligence, Ambient Intelligence

What’s the difference between these different technologies? Artificial intelligence is when machines show intelligence. There is a rapidly growing artificial intelligence sector. Augmented intelligence, which is the term that IBM (IBM) Watson uses, is artificial intelligence is designed to assist people and not replace people. Ambient intelligence is newer, and is an electronic environment which senses the presence of people and responds. It is thought to play a role in consumer technology, electronics, telecom and the computer, eventually.

So, what have we learned here? These three versions of AI are all both similar and different. They all use AI technology to enhance and improve the lives of consumers, business people as well as companies, governments, healthcare and more.

There is a sense of rhythm to the way each different sector uses AI. However, each of these sectors are different, and that’s the problem. This similarity and difference will be confusing to everyone going forward.

Master Brand Concept for AI

This is like the master brand concept. Companies with several different products and several different brands, typically use the master brand concept. Companies like Samsung, LG, General Electric (GE) and more, are large players and have different companies which compete in different segments. Each company has its own brand, and that is used to compete in a sector. However, all the companies are part of a larger corporate parent, the master brand.

That’s why you can buy a Samsung Galaxy Android smartphone and a Samsung big screen TV and a Samsung refrigerator and freezer. Each is made by a different company. Each company is owned by the parent Samsung.

Create a Structure for AI, IoT, Cloud Computing and the Cloud

That’s the way AI should be structured. Today, there are several, different versions of AI, and as the next several years pass, I imagine there will be more. Each wants to be understood and they all want to grow. There is a synergy to using AI if it is done correctly. If it is done like a pyramid. If AI is on top and each different AI sector is beneath.

AI, IoT, Cloud computing and the Cloud are all part of a larger transformation in industry-after-industry. It’s important to wrap our arms around this problem now, while we still can. We need to create a structure for the AI industry in order to keep track of it all before it gets away from us. All these different sectors need to be understood by everyone including investors, consumers, business customers, the media, analysts and the industry.

That’s the challenge we all face. Are we up to it? That’s the real question…

Jeff Kagan is an columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay, FinTech and communications technology. Email him at [email protected]. His web site is Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan

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