I'm getting excited about the upcoming BPM Conference in Lisbon on May 25th. The conference is going to focus on the impact of AI and Cognitive Technologies on Business Process Change and I've been asked to keynote it. (For more information on the conference, please check: lisbon.bpmconferenceportugal.com )
I happen to think that Ai and Cognitive Technologies are about to have a very large impact on BPM. Ironically, it not as if the change will be dramatic — it will be more of the same. We have been automating business processes for decades now, and Cognitive Technologies will simply allow us to do more automation, using process analysis and redesign techniques very similar to what we have been using. That said, however, the pace is going to pick up, and automation is going to reach into new areas of business. Decision support applications are going to multiply and in some cases human decision makers will be replaced. In far more cases, however, human decision makers will be augmented. I noticed a story recently where a clerk, searching a store was wearing a headphone. The cognitive application had looked at a list, developed a best path for acquiring the items and was providing that information to the clerk who was actually in the warehouse gathering up the items.
Other developments, like self-driving cars, which will probably combine robotics (Vision, Stearing) with Decision Support (analyzing traffic situations, choosing a route) and natural language (interacting with the passenger) to totally revolutionize a whole collection of industries. Think of the changes in taxis, in delivery vehicles, in long range shipping, and in personal transport.
I'm impressed with how rapidly technologies and knowledge of the possibilities of cognitive interventions are spreading. If your BPM group isn't already talking about this, they should be.