SalesPal CEO Ashvin Naik, Google Cloud’s Chanchal Chatterjee, Audioburst’s Rachel Batish and T-Mobile’s Chip Reno discuss the future of artificial intelligence at the Global AI Conference in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle) Artificial intelligence can rev up recommendation engines and make self-driving cars safer. It can even . But what else will it be able to do? At today’s session of the , a panel of techies took a look at the state of AI applications — and glimpsed into their crystal balls to speculate about the future of artificial intelligence. The panelists included Chanchal Chatterjee, AI leader at ; Ashvin Naik, CEO of , which markets AI-enabled sales analysis tools; Rachel Batish, vice president of product for , an audio indexing service; and Chip Reno, senior advanced analytics manager at . The moderator was Shailesh Manjrekar, head of product and solutions marketing for , a multi-cloud data storage and management company. Here are five AI frontiers that came up in today’s conversations, plus a couple of caveats to keep in mind: Smarter grocery stores: AI-enabled grocery shopping was pioneered right here in Seattle at , but the trend is catching on. Today called the Intelligent Retail Lab in Levittown, N.Y. Britain’s takes a different tack: Users fill up a virtual shopping cart, then schedule a one-hour delivery slot. Google Cloud helped Ocado develop the , including a recommendation engine that figures out customers’ shifting preferences, an algorithm that handles and prioritizes customer service emails, and a as Ocado’s previous system. Energy-saving server farms: Chatterjee pointed to how Google used its DeepMind machine learning platform to . Before AI was put on the case, 10 years’ worth of efficiency measures could reduce energy usage by merely 12 percent, he said. Within six months, AI brought about a 40 percent reduction. “That was a huge difference that AI made in a very short amount of time that we could not do with 10 years of research,” Chatterjee said. Financial market prediction: Hedge fund managers and bankers are already , detect market manipulation and assess credit risks. But Chatterjee said the models are getting increasingly sophisticated. AI is being used to predict how margin trades could play out, or whether undervalued financial assets are ripe for the picking. AI models could even anticipate . “When the lock-in period expires … that’s a great time to short,” Chatterjee said. Deeper, wider AI conversations: Chatterjee predicted that our conversations with voice assistants are likely to get wider, deeper and more personal as AI assistants become smarter. Audioburst’s Batish said conversational AI could provide a wider opening for smaller-scale startups and for women in tech. “Women are very much prominent in conversational applications and businesses,” she said. Salespal’s Naik agreed with that view — but he worried about the dearth of compelling applications, based on his own company’s experience with voice-enabled devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home. “They’re gathering dust. … We use them just to listen to music or set up alarms. That’s it,” he said. AI for good, or evil? Chatterjee said AI could be a powerful tool to root out fraud and corruption. AI applications could be built “to see what influence relationships have on outcomes — that tells you if there are any side deals being made,” he said. But Batish worried about the rise of , virtual and . “I’m actually afraid of what that could bring into our world,” she said. “It would be interesting to see how companies are trying to be able to monitor or identify fake situations that are being built out of very complicated AI.” Watch out for job disruption: Many studies have pointed out that automation is likely to disrupt employment sectors, especially in the service, manufacturing and transportation sectors. “Anything that is repetitive, that can be extracted from multiple sources, that doesn’t have a lot of creativity amd innovation, is at risk due to AI,” Chatterjee said. “That means that more people will have to move into other sectors.” Watch out for the hype: “I’d like to see people get away from the hype a little bit,” T-Mobile’s Reno said. “I’m on the client side, so I see all the pitches involving AI and ML or deep learning. … A lot of times, AI is not applicable to certain use cases where we’re applying it. Just good old-fashioned statistics or business intelligence is fine. So I think that the future of AI relies on getting past the hype and getting more into aligning these awesome tools and algorithms to specific business cases.”
The Seattle Mariners like to say that their fans are “True to the Blue,” but the new look and some of the amenities at T-Mobile Park, the team’s newly named hometown stadium, could lead people’s allegiances to take on a magenta hue. T-Mobile, the Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier, took over naming rights during the offseason for what had been Safeco Field for 20 years. Next Thursday, fans will enter T-Mobile Park for the first time for the Mariners home opener. GeekWire got an inside look on Wednesday, as workers busily hung new signage, painted, prepped a preview menu and tended to the grounds. Giant pink and white T-Mobile Park signs are now hung above the home plate entrance (above the statue of Mariners great Ken Griffey Jr.) and elsewhere. But the sign T-Mobile customers will want to look for is on the left field side of the stadium, along South Royal Brougham Way. At the T-Mobile Customer Entrance, the carrier’s customers will gain fast-track entry through a gate with magenta accents — all they have to do is show the attendant their phone. Gimme a P A R K. New T-Mobile signage gets lifted into place on Wednesday in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) The special entrance at T-Mobile Park, which allows faster access for customers of the wireless carrier. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) The ability to to use fast track and avoid the lines at other gates — presumably full of AT&T and Verizon customers? — is good for any event at the ballpark and is a practice that T-Mobile also employs at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Once inside that particular gate, fans will be in close proximity to The ‘Pen, Powered by T-Mobile. The reimagined experience near the bullpen behind the left field wall and wrapping around behind center field, is probably where guests will see the most magenta. Steel support beams were being painted magenta on Wednesday and will serve as indicators of where mobile charging stations are located. Each beam will have 32 outlets. Fans trying to use their phones, at least if they’r eon T-Mobile, will also see benefits. “In regard to coverage, we’ve increased capacity in and around T-Mobile Park by three times,” said Krystal McIntosh of T-Mobile. “So there should be no problems uploading, streaming, showing all of your Instagram stories when you’re here at the game.” Magenta signage points the way down to The ‘Pen where fans can watch a pitcher warm up or explore more food and drink options. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) A painter turns a green beam magenta to highlight the location of wireless charging stations at T-Mobile Park. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) T-Mobile also had an interactive Home Run Challenge set up on the plaza beyond center field in which fans are invited to step up to the plate and hit a ball off a tee into a screen. The animation — which makes it look like you’re hitting the ball toward the Space Needle — tracks the power of your drive. And, because it all ties back to T-Mobile, the challenge lets you hit in 4G and 5G settings. I hit four balls on Wednesday and in 4G they were weak grounders back toward the infield and in 5G I hit towering home runs. T-Mobile’s Tech Experience will also extend outside the ballpark, at least through opening day, as the company is taking over the corner of Edgar Martinez Drive South and 1st Avenue South, next to Henry’s Tavern. And T-Mobile Tuesdays, in which customers already get free stuff and deals as a gesture of appreciation, will extend to T-Mobile Park when the Mariners play at home on that day of the week. GeekWire’s Kurt Schlosser takes the Home Run Challenge at T-Mobile Park. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) A “Welcome to T-Mobile Park” sign is attached below the press box behind home plate. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) T-Mobile didn’t just get into the game when it decided to go after naming rights in Seattle. The company was already a sponsor of Major League Baseball, and just extended that deal another four years. , T-Mobile continues to be the Official Wireless Sponsor of MLB, as well as the title sponsor of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby during All-Star Week. Customers can also get a free full season of MLB.TV through their T-Mobile Tuesday app from March 26 through April 1. Elsewhere in The ‘Pen, where Seattle hip-hop star Macklemore will perform on Thursday before the game against the Boston Red Sox, fans can get their hands on a new signature cocktail called the Magenta Mojo. T-Mobile partnered with the Mariners and enlisted of Seattle’s Rob Roy to come up with the drink, which of course is just the right color for the new park. Built to be refreshing and “disruptively light,” Apte said the drink will help fans “stay in that good-sportsmanship mood.” It will sell for $12.50, and if you want a blinking magenta ice cube tossed in, the price jumps to $15.50. The Mariners and T-Mobile also hosted a menu preview to show off new vendors and food items that will be available at various points around the park. Crowd Cow co-founder Joe Heitzeberg grabs a burger featuring his company’s beef during a menu tasting at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) The Grand Salami Sandwich is a tribute to Fave Niehaus, Hall of Fame broadcaster for the Mariners. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) Seattle chef and restaurateur Ethan Stowell is a partner with the Mariners and he was on hand Wednesday, as was a new burger with his name on it, featuring a hyper-local beef patty from , the Seattle-based startup and online marketplace for quality beef products. We also sampled bites from burger chain Li’l Woody’s, Fat’s Chicken and Paseo. And the tastiest fare may have been the new Grand Salami Sandwich, a tribute to beloved Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus that will be available at the ballpark’s Sultan of Sandwich. Speaking of food, we did ask whether T-Mobile CEO John Legere would show up at the park to host an episode of his weekly show in which he plugs his company and shares a cock pot recipe. There will be at least one, we were told. Old Safeco Field signage is ready to be taken away on the mezzanine at T-Mobile Park. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) Meanwhile, as the smell of burgers and fresh magenta paint filled the air, signs of the old Safeco Field — including some signs — were still visible around the ballpark as workers scurried to get the name change in place before the team returns next week. Trash cans along the mezzanine still had the Safeco logo. Other directional signs marking seat sections and so forth had been removed but not yet been carted away. But above the stands in left field, on a sunny and warm day that definitely felt like baseball weather, the iconic clock tower sign, with Seattle’s skyline rising behind it, had been changed to T-Mobile Park. The time had come.