Duncan Stewart, Director of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte, Canada, spoke recently, in an interview on CNBC, about machine learning being the dominant tech trend around the world.

“Machine learning is the big one, not AI. AI’s a very broad field, we are talking about the very narrow field of machine learning,” he said.

According to research, according to Stewart, Deloitte predicts that the next 12 months will see significant progress in augmented reality, mobile device usage, and increasingly sophisticated chips. But the most dominant trend will be machine learning — when programs predict or explain using large amounts of data without being explicitly programmed

In places like Southeast Asia, the dominant tech trend will not be artificial intelligence as a whole, but rather it will be the more specific AI field of machine learning according to a researcher.

Stewart, however, added that it’s not just major tech firms employing machine learning, big companies like Amazon and Netflix use machine learning all the time to analyse and improve user experiences, predicting what their next purchase or binge viewing may be. “I am seeing large companies do more and more with machine learning in their own data centres — this isn’t just Google, Amazon and Microsoft, the big cloud guys — this is Southeast Asia companies making investments in new chips to accelerate machine learning,” he said.

Behavioural analysis tech companies are more and more in demand, developing platforms that help protect against fraud and other criminal activities such as cyberattacks and hacking and while consumer products like Google Home and Amazon Alexa have long used machine learning as a buzzword, enterprise applications such as voice recognition, natural language processing and fraud detection are picking up, according to Stewart. A large part of that push comes from significant improvements in computer hardware.

“The hardware is about a million times better over the last two years. That means Deloitte is predicting that the enterprise — the business use of machine learning — will double in 2018 compared to the year before; it will double again by 2020. Now that’s exponential growth in a market that’s already worth tens of billions of dollars in size.”