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Tech with a conscience: Accenture report shows social responsibility driving tech companies

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Echo Alexa
The Accenture report cited Amazon’s efforts to embed itself into consumer households. Through the Echo and its AI assistant, Alexa, the report noted that Amazon is managing not just shopping needs, but also the daily demands of people’s busy lives. -- AFP

BREAKTHROUGHS in artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies are paving the way to the rise of intelligent enterprises and enabling companies to integrate themselves into people’s lives, according to Accenture’s annual technology report.

In its Technology Vision 2018 report titled “Intelligent Enterprise Unleashed: Redefine Your Company Based on the Company You Keep,” AI, cloud and other technologies are driving company innovation, and through the products built around these technologies, companies are able to create a deeper relationship with their customers.

“Technology is now firmly embedded throughout our everyday lives and is reshaping large parts of society,” said Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s chief technology & innovation officer, in a statement. “Just as cities developed around ports and then railroads, or people rebuilt their lives around electricity, the world today is reimagining itself around digital innovation — and, by extension, the companies that provide those services. This requires a new type of relationship, built on trust and the sharing of large amounts of personal information,” he said.

However, capitalizing on growth opportunities while also having a positive impact on society requires a new era of leadership that prioritizes trust and greater responsibility.

“There’s a new obligation — and a new opportunity — for companies to engage with people differently,” Mr. Daugherty said in the report.

The report also identified key technology trends likely to disrupt business over the next three years. These are:

Citizen AI

The report said that businesses looking to capitalize on AI’s potential must acknowledge the impact on people’s lives. Therefore “raising” AI to act as responsible representatives of their business is important.

Extended Reality

Virtual and augmented reality technologies are transforming the ways people live and work by removing the distance to people, information and experiences.

Data Veracity

By transforming themselves to run on data, businesses now face a new kind of vulnerability: inaccurate, manipulated and biased data that leads to corrupted business insights and skewed decisions. To address this challenge, companies must follow a dual mandate to maximize veracity and minimize incentives for data manipulation.

Frictionless Business

Businesses depend on technology-based partnerships for growth, but their own legacy systems aren’t designed to support partnerships at scale. To fully power the connected Intelligent Enterprise, companies must first re-design themselves.

Internet of Thinking

Creating Intelligent Distributed Systems. Businesses are making big bets on intelligent environments via robotics, AI and immersive experiences, but bringing these intelligent environments to life will require not only adding key skills and work force capabilities, but also modernizing current enterprise technology infrastructures.

Accenture surveyed more than 6,300 business and IT executives worldwide.