Artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, machine learning, unstructured data, neural networks, deep space nine... seem to be hitting the headlines in a number of spheres at the moment (apart from the last one perhaps).

Its a real buzz word bingo - they are easy words to use in the context of a threat to jobs or as the answer to a quicker better service, but also easy to confuse in exactly what these technologies will impact and how. 

The recent announcement of the 147 teams who will compete for the IBM Watson AI Xprize does make for an exciting exploration of the world of the possible. It also indicates that if these terms are going to be a part of our day to day lives (and the slow but sure evolution of change in financial services!) we should probably explore in a bit more detail what they mean. This discussion thread on the "periodic table of AI", as a way to make sense of the functional impact of AI, seems a good start point.

Simply thinking about whether the task is to assess, infer or respond creates a structure to assess opportunities, and expand this growing lexicon.