Instead of breaking systems with ransomware, adversaries will leverage new tools to conduct harmful assaults on targeted subjects and organizations.

A staff member stands near a computer as it participates in the CHAIN Cup at the China National Convention Center in Beijing. A computer running artificial intelligence software defeated two teams of human doctors in accurately recognizing maladies in magnetic resonance images on Saturday, in a contest that was billed as the world’s first competition in neuroimaging between AI and human experts. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)ASSOCIATED PRESS

While the hip, ubiquitous business buzzwords are cryptocurrency and blockchain, the truly formidable factor of what is being called the fourth industrial revolution is Artificial Intelligence. Whether praised as a panacea for greater business efficiency or the feared as the demise of humanity, Artificial Intelligence is upon us and will impact business and society at large in ways that we can only begin to imagine. Fasten your seatbelts. Here’s what a few influencers in the arena say is on tap for 2019.

First, Ibrahim Haddad, Director of Research at The Linux Foundation says that there are two key areas to watch.

“2019 is going to be the year of open source AI,” predicts Haddad. “We’re already seeing companies begin to open source their internal AI projects and stacks, and I expect to see this accelerate in the coming year.” He says that the reason for such a move is that it increases innovation, enables faster time-to-market and lower costs. “The cost of building a platform is high, and organizations are realizing the real value is in the models, training data and applications. We’re going to see harmonization around a set of critical projects creating a comprehensive open source stack for AI, machine learning and deep learning.”

In addition, Haddad says that the Foundation is seeing more standardization around data licensing and AI. “We expect new efforts to emerge with the goal of curating and creating more open source data,” Haddad says that this development will then open discussions for critical questions related to privacy. Tools and policies will need to be developed to safeguard privacy and “anonymize” data that is discovered. “But at the same time, it will still be necessary to have ways to track the origin of data and remove bias so look for a hotbed of activity in this area,” Haddad notes.

The chancellery is illuminated in Berlin, Germany, 2018. A Russian-backed hacker group known for many high-level cyber attacks was able to infiltrate the German government’s secure computer networks, the dpa news agency reported Wednesday. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)ASSOCIATED PRESS

Others are predicting to arm and prepare against cyber attacks. Malcolm Harkins, Chief Security and Trust Officer at Cylance, a provider of AI-driven prevention-first security solutions offers an intriguing vision. He says that terrorist-related groups will attack population centers with Crimeware-as-a-service.

Harkins explains, “While these groups have been tormenting organizations and individuals for years, we anticipate more potentially destructive attacks in 2019. Instead of breaking systems with ransomware, adversaries will leverage new tools to conduct harmful assaults on targeted subjects and organizations. From attacks on data integrity that essentially kill computers to the point of mandatory hardware replacements, to leveraging new technology for physical assaults such as the recent drone attack in Venezuela, attack surfaces are growing and enemies will take advantage.”

To combat such actions Harkins suggests that organizations take inventory of their “attack landscape” to identify and mitigate potential threats before they are exploited.

However, working with such professionals to help with said task could create turmoil itself. “I think there’s also going to be a revolt from security buyers on the rising cost of controls,” says Harkins. “As the endless number of cyber attacks grows, thanks to the deepening implementation of Artificial Intelligence, the security industry will come under assault from its customers for perpetuating a growing burden of cost that’s simply not productive to the mission of the organization.”

According to Harkins, this sentiment will create a race for the development of even better yet more cost-effective technology from the industry as a backlash builds.

Without a doubt, China has made massive strides on the AI front and certain thought-leaders there has a different view from those here on U.S. soil when it comes to 2019 and this emerging tech arena.

Dr. Adam Zheng, a former venture partner of Lightspeed Venture Partners co-founded of, the largest dating company in China with over 200 million registered users, sees a new shift coming.

This co-founder of, a Los Angeles based Personal AI (PAI) company launched in 2014 with strategic backing from investors giants such as Tencent, Softbank and K11. believes that humanizing AI to make it more trustworthy will be the most important development in 2019.

According to Dr. Zheng, “If we sit in an autonomous car, we must ensure that we trust the AI system which is driving the car. When AI applications are about to mature, the trust of AI becomes more and more urgent. Similarly authenticating and managing people’s AI avatars will be key to create trust in acting with other’s AI avatars before they are willing to create transactions with them.”


Dr. Adam Zheng pictured left with his avatar, right.IMAGE COURTESY OF OBEN

It is for this reason that ObEN, for example, uses Project PAI Blockchain to authenticate and manage such AI avatars which the company is betting will be key to AI adoption.

“We believe that every person in the world will soon have a PAI, an intelligent avatar which looks, talks, behaves like its human counterpart, and self-evolves through interaction,” predicts Dr. Zheng. Through work with, ObEN and others in the space are focusing on developing a decentralized network which supports creation and verification of PAIs for users worldwide. Dr. Zheng believes that a trusted ecosystem where developers, businesses, and consumers in every vertical industry will create a massive business opportunity.

Finally, Joel Tetreault, Director of Research at Grammarly, a communication tool that offers users AI-powered suggestions in real-time, quite naturally, looks more deeply at the impact of language and AI for 2019.

“The last few years have seen AI models pushing the boundaries of understanding and generating language most notably in news translation,” Tetreault explains. He expects Natural Language Processing(NLP)/communication milestones to accelerate rapidly in 2019.

“I expect we’ll see NLP performance become more personalized. But a dirty little secret about industrial-strength AI is that many of these systems are trained and evaluated on datasets created and labeled by thousands of human raters. As we tackle more complex AI problems, the need for massive amounts of high-quality human judgments will increase, but there will be breakthroughs in leveraging machine learning techniques to make collecting those judgments more time- and cost-efficient.”

Hollywood, Los Angeles – Hollywood stars on the Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California.GETTY

Indeed the human factor, particularly sentiment, will be a deciding factor for AI in 2019 and beyond.

Watch for deep debates within the Hollywood community as certain companies feverishly work to leverage AI pattern-matching to create teams to replicate hit film and series projects much to the chagrin of diversity champions in the space. The volume will also be turned up around the potential deepening of AI and race as it pertains to the criminal justice system and bias.

AI will make us examine our personal and cultural values like never before as we barrel ahead to a new society, whatever shape that may take.

Via Forbes