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How Is Canada’s Leading Technology Company Adopting Artificial Intelligence?

On January 31, Canada’s leading technology company CGI Group Inc. (TSX:GIB.A)(NYSE:GIB) reported first-quarter results.

The Montreal-based IT company did well, reporting quarterly revenue growth of 5.3% year over year in addition to expanding earnings per share by 10.1% over the previous year. Margins held steady close to 14%; meanwhile, bookings were a little more than 100% of revenue, meaning the company was able to effectively replace its backlog with new orders.

CGI continues to gain momentum with its strategy to meet the growing demand for digital information — a trend the company’s president and CEO George D. Schindler said is one “we expect to continue for years to come, and one that is clearly generating opportunities to both build and buy.”

There are several elements to the company’s strategy, including turning big data into data analytics and ushering in the new era of connectivity and mobility by way of the Internet of Things, but perhaps most intriguing is CGI’s “Intelligent Automation Framework.”

CGI delivers on the Intelligent Automation Framework through applications in business and IT consulting, system integration and managed services, and outsourcing solutions.

Many of the applications are already in place today, such as automated functions that need to be triggered by humans to carry out repetitive tasks, like, for example, macros or scraping the internet to retrieve online data sources.

Then there are the enterprise-level systems that are either operated by people or are sometimes rule-based, managing high-volume processes for a business, such as reporting internal controls for an accounting department.

Then there are the systems CGI operates that don’t require any human involvement at all. These systems operate based on an automated analytics framework to arrive at their own decisions.

One example where you may have already experienced this is web-based chatbot interfaces, where you log on to a company’s website, and they have a computer respond to your inquiry or FAQ in a personalized direct-messaging format.

The next level up is algorithmic automation, and this is where it starts to get really interesting.

Algorithmic automation is where programmers develop a script that uses predictive analytics and machine learning to create a narrow frame for automated intelligence and reasoning.

This technology allows computers to use information they have been given by their programmers to not only solve complex problems but create unique solutions to optimizing processes for a variety of applications.

Even today, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of algorithms trading assets on the global stock exchanges.

The very last stage is artificial intelligence (AI) itself — widely considered to be the next wave of the future.

AI is capable of emulating all the capabilities of a human — even empathy — with the ability to use reason to think through and hypothesize about problems.

Bottom line

Some have already proclaimed that the next 10 years will see the greatest technological advancements in human history.

The potential applications of AI are nearly infinite, and many believe that once AI becomes mainstream, computers will be capable of solving problems that humans would not be able to solve in 10,000 years.

Whether it’s through an investment in CGI Group or in one of the other leading-edge technology firms that are making serious advances in AI technology, you don’t want to be kicking yourself in 10 years, wishing you had got in while the opportunity was there for the taking.

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Fool contributor Jason Phillips has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. CGI Group is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.

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