The Dartmouth Conference of 1956 gave birth to what we now know as artificial intelligence (AI). Nowadays, people often associate AI with self-aware robots and beings, just like those featured in countless sci-fi films. However, there is more to this bold idea than what pop culture portrays – artificial intelligence proves to be beneficial and can transform nearly any business today.
Experts believe both AI professionals and AI hardware are needed, as this type of machine learning technology clearly has a strong influence in people’s lives. For instance, phone apps like Siri and home devices like Alexa all demonstrate the use of AI in everyday tasks, often without people realizing it. When it comes to a business perspective, AI drives many companies in regard to handling of data as well as making certain decisions.
Types of AI Available
Businesses can use AI in different ways, depending on the type of AI technology available, as well as what it can contribute to the organization. Right now, AI can help with three very important business needs, namely process automation, cognitive insight, and cognitive engagement.
One of the most obvious uses of AI is automating various processes. Tasks such as transferring and updating data entered via email or call centers, extracting information from multiple documents, or even “reading” documents through natural language processing can all be done automatically.
Sometimes referred to as robotic process automation (RPA or RPAAI), this type of AI is the least “smart” in the sense that they do not automatically acquire intelligence or learn on their own. Instead, human developers add code to add these new learning capabilities and intelligence.
AI can gain insight through data analysis, by using algorithms in detecting data patterns. These types of machine-learning can help predict what a customer will most likely buy based on their internet search patterns and what websites they view (automation of targeted ads). They could even help identify credit and insurance fraud, or even analyze warranty data on manufactured products and automobiles, and help insurers with detailed and more accurate actuarial modeling.
In relation to cognitive insight, AI can also engage with customers and employees through chatbots and the like. Technology such as 24/7 smart customer service, internal employee questions, and even product recommendations, as well as health treatment and other service recommendations can all be automated, thanks to AI.
AI Business Benefits
In recent a Deloitte survey of 250 executives whose companies use AI, titled “Artificial Intelligence for the Real World,” about 51% of respondents said their primary goal was to improve their already-existing products, while about 22% mentioned reducing headcount via automation.
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Among the benefits the executives cited were:
- 51% – Enhance the features, functions, and performance of existing products
- 35% – Optimize internal business operations
- 36% – Free up workers’ creativity through automation
- 35% – Make better decisions
- 32% – Create new products
- 30% – Optimize external processes including marketing and sales
- 25% – Pursue new markets
- 25% – Capture and apply rare knowledge when needed
- 22% – Reducing headcount through automation
Such cognitive tools are appropriate for many applications, which highly affect a business:
- Increase in AI Professionals, No Threat to Human Jobs
One of the big issues about getting AI in businesses is that there might be a threat to human jobs. However, many experts like Deep Varma, Trulia’s Vice President of Data Engineering, say AI will augment jobs – not replace them. “As companies’ AI capabilities get stronger and grow larger, we’ll see AI augment existing software and applications and actually enable humans to be more productive, effective and accurate,” he said. AI professionals will be of higher demand as well.
Experts believe AI will replace low-level work, but will contribute to higher-level jobs. A new Gartner report revealed that one in five workers will rely on AI by 2022, and that AI will also create as many as 2.3 million jobs by 2020 (albeit eliminating 1.8 million jobs in the process). Jobs in education, healthcare, and the public sector will still demand human workers.
- AI in Cybersecurity and Countering Cyber Attacks
AI prevention technologies are all the rage, as they can automate deception tech products, and could even detect and analyze advanced attacks, as well as defend against them proactively. While certain people may be able to get AI on the side of actually performing cyberattacks, experts see that AI, when combined with human intelligence, is a power combo. “Combining human intelligence with technology that is inherently capable of continuously adapting and becoming smarter provides a competitive edge to defenders that’s primarily been absent from most cybersecurity technologies to date,” said Eyal Benishti, Ironscales founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
- Boost in Marketing and Sales
Many companies today already rely on AI software when it comes to strategizing customer reach. Some AI software could even help analyze the best tactics for messaging potential customers and formulate strategies. Predictive analytics can help identify which sales strategies work as well, and which ones need refining, in addition to determining which customers are most important.
“AI has the ability to remove repetitive tasks that are repeated daily and improve employee focus where it adds more value and enhances the quality of engagements, such in interactions with customers, follow up support cases and improved customer satisfaction,” Sayer Martin, Orchestrate’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) and co-Chief Technology Officer (co-CTO).
- AI Accessibility for Everyone
T3 president Ben Gaddis calls 2018 as “the year of AI democratization.” There are many AI platforms coming in from major names like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. “Developers finally have tools that they can leverage, at scale, for pennies on the dollar compared to 2016-2017,” he said.
- Chatbots become the Norm
Although many experts still predict AI will not fully transform the enterprise yet, many chatbots and AI voice technology already exist – but have not reached their full potential. In 2018, many customer-facing companies are starting to leverage interactive chatbots. NGDATA’s CEO Luc Burgelman said, “Leveraging AI to continuously learn from omni-channel data and power customer interactions will be critical for companies in 2018.”
There is still a lot of adjustment when it comes to digital transformation, but AI voice assistants can alleviate some of the issues helpdesk workers face. IFS global industry director of service management Mark Brewer said, “This can both make businesses more effective and lighten the load for a stretched workforce.”
- AI + UX
AI can help optimize the user experience (UX), and Quick Base’s strategy and product marketing leader John Carione thinks it can drive application efficiency as well. “For low and no-code applications, this means using AI to help app development tools understand usage patterns in order to automatically adapt to their specific role,” he said. This “more fluid” end-user experience reduces security and compliance risks while improving productivity as well.
- AI Removes Corporate Biases
Many see AI as a great tool for human resources (HR) and administrative processes. Things such as hiring people often leave room for prejudices and human emotion, but AI can help act on information in an impartial way. Dell EMC global CTO John Roese explained how AI can do such tasks and still exercise human judgment whenever necessary. “In the short-term, we’ll see AI applied to hiring and promotion procedures to screen for conscious and unconscious bias,” he said. “By using emerging technologies to these ends, ‘bias check’ could one day become a routine sanitizer, like ‘spell check’—but with society-wide benefits.”
As machine learning and expert systems merge in 2018, AI can cut costs while ensuring accuracy and speed. Through eliminating time-consuming, routine aspects of a job, AI helps free up a person’s time so they can focus on other, more creative, and non-routine tasks at hand. When businesses of today learn how to integrate AI into their systems, they have more room for improvement and for creating income, and less room for errors.