Artificial Intelligence may have been inaccurately glamorized in films and media to give the average person the wrong impression of what it actually is in a practical context. We’re not talking about advanced robots that can mimic human behaviour and might hatch a plan to destroy humanity… well, not yet anyway.
AI and machine learning are actually something that has become a part of our daily lives so much so that you are constantly affected by it and using it, without even realising it. AI is responsible for product recommendations, credit score checking, customer service and so much more. Every time you absentmindedly scroll through your phone, AI is hard at work analysing your behaviour and adjusting what you see accordingly. Now this might sound scary and invasive – and privacy and data analysis are contentious hot topics right now – but when used responsibly, AI and machine learning are going to be at the core of business growth and development.
So how can AI positively impact your business?
In just a few short years, the amount of data available for analysis has skyrocketed – and data input is at the heart of machine learning. The more data, the faster it learns, the better the output. Data processing algorithms can be implemented in many aspects of a business to drastically speed up output. For example, AI can be used to handle invoice processing for an entire organisation, and slash the time it takes by more than 50%. An increase in efficiency means a decrease in operational costs.
At the most basic level, AI can process far more data at much higher speeds than any human or outdated software. It can discover patterns, predict behaviours, create complex models of consumer buying patterns and draw conclusions free from bias or prejudice. Not to mention eliminating human error and certainly not needing coffee or lunch breaks.
Subsects of AI such as Computer Vision and Optical Sorting Machines will mean a complete overhaul of quality control and vision inspection based practices – the automotive and pharmaceutical industries are among those making the best use of these technologies to maximise output and guarantee quality products.
Not a Quick Fix
One of the key things to understand about AI and thus make the best use of it, is that it’s not a quick fix – you don’t just use it to automate outdated business models or operational practices. You have to conduct a thorough analysis of how AI can make your product or service smarter, or how it can optimise your internal processes. Strategic AI integration is the only way for you to take full advantage of capabilities like sentiment analysis or fraud detection – it’s not just a band aid for fundamentally poor or slow operations.
Automation and overreliance on computers may be seen, by some, as a threat, since historically, whenever a machine gets smart enough, a real person loses their jobs. It is an inevitable fact of life that change and progress doesn’t happen without difficulty and sacrifice. But for every data crunching job lost to a computer, a new opportunity arises. AI will require hardware and software engineers, analysts, customer service, ergonomic user interface, not to mention a new generation of AI consultancies that will be revolutionising machine learning business solutions to help optimise and improve companies in all sectors. One door closes, a thousand more are opened. Yes, it will require a skillset that will be dominated by the tech savvy – but it will be their job to use their know-how to make your business a bigger success.
It’s all too easy for a product or service to fall short of expectations because the business operations failed to adapt to tech advances. Do you think any startup today could survive without a sleek, functioning app or a solid social media presence? With the rapid growth of this technology, in just a few short years, AI-based strategies will be an absolute must for any business model and machine learning competency an essential skill for management – but if you jump on the bandwagon now, you will be ahead of the curve and at a competitive advantage, while other businesses try to catch up.