Calculating where artificial intelligence can do business

Some recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, though striking, can seem of mainly theoretical interest. It is one thing to generate impressive results in a research setting, quite another to apply them in practice.

For many businesses, the reality of machine learning has not lived up to the theory. Preparing and cleaning the data, training the models, generating consistent, usable results: all are often harder than they are made out to be.

But the AI era also has the power to surprise, and the advances can come in unpredictable leaps. Knowing how to tap these new capabilities as they become available, and working out how best to embed them in a company’s work processes, are quickly becoming essential skills for anyone aspiring to a leadership position in business.

This year’s most striking breakthrough in the technology — the language model known as GPT-3 — is a sign that advances in the

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