Comb through headlines pertaining to artificial intelligence over the past 12 months and you’ll see the pendulum of conversation around the machines swing from gushing optimism to doomsday scenarios and back again.

The machines will render hardship obsolete for humanity. The machines will take our jobs. The machines will extend human capabilities to their furthest reaches. The machines will enslave humans, or kill us off, or both. Elon Musk thinks they might kill us all within five years; Mark Zuckerberg wants one in his home, keeping watch over his infant daughter.

But the most extreme predictions unfold in a hypothetical, potentially distant, future when AI systems are smarter than humans. It’s probably safe to say we won’t be uploading our brains to the cloud or fighting off Terminators in 2016. So what can we expect?

The innovations we’ll see in the year to come in AI will be largely incremental, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be important, say engineers and entrepreneurs. It’s the difference between having Apple’s Siri in your pocket and actually talking to her. We’ll see tweaks to the technologies that comprise the systems being deemed artificially intelligent, and perhaps more significantly, we’ll see shifts in the conversation about the technology. Here are five predictions….