While necessity is often the mother of invention, sometimes things work in the opposite direction. That is to say that it is increasingly common for concepts to be dreamt up and disseminated widely, at which point it becomes apparent that it is necessary to pursue them.
Artificial intelligence is an excellent modern example, and one which has yet to reach fruition in the real world. But there are all sorts of fictional works in which AI has appeared, with some painting a positive picture of its potential impact on society, while others are more cynical about the power of machines that can truly think.
Computational power has increased at an exponential rate, following the trajectory outlined by Intel founder Gordon E. Moore half a century ago, and in many instances exceeding expectations. And this has not only allowed for better performance from PCs and data centres, but also for power to be available more efficiently, making it possible to squeeze impressively capable chipsets into smartphones, tablets and laptops in recent years.
However, for artificial intelligence to move from science fiction to science fact, raw number-crunching might not be the only factor that needs to be taken into account. Data is the other key component in the AI recipe, because for any machine to think for itself it will need information to access and digest.
In many ways, big data solutions, based in the cloud, are already achieving this. Storing vast amounts of information and processing it in ways that would not be possible on a smaller scale, big data services are seen as the next big thing in the enterprise IT market, and for good reason.
The power of the cloud is such that it means individuals and businesses do not need to take charge of their own IT infrastructures but can instead rely on vast, remote facilities to which services can be outsourced. And it is in these data centres that everything from industry apps to websites are already being hosted.
Shrewsbury businesses can harness this from companies such as http://www.watmanworth.co.uk, who provide web design in Shrewsbury and can lower costs and improve uptime and functionality on hosting. And as emerging AI makes IT more automated, further improvements will follow.
There are some who believe that even with the benefits of big data and AI on the horizon, people should be concerned about the darker side of this technology and what it might make possible.
Aside from the sci-fi-influenced fears of a sentient machine attempting to eradicate humanity, there are other more realistic and legitimate concerns about what AI might do to business.
The issue of security is a persistent talking point for many, but it is also important to think about the impact that an all-encompassing IT system that can grow and learn without requiring human input will have on the jobs market. Everyone from programmers to lawyers may potentially face the prospect of being made redundant by AI in the future, although whether this fiction will become fact is unclear.