Anyone who is aged 40 or over has experienced one of the most significant growth periods for technology ever seen in a lifetime. They will remember when the Internet did not exist. We all used a single landline and had four channels on our television. One of the biggest areas of growth has been artificial intelligence which was previously the stuff of horror movies rather than the positive, productive technology it has become today. When it comes to business, AI is impacting most industries and offering new and better ways of working. So just how is it transforming businesses?
What is AI
To explore the impact it has on business transformation, we must first understand what artificial intelligence is. Already we are using artificial intelligence on a daily basis even if we do not realise it. Some of the tasks that AI is assisting with are entirely mundane, while others are gigantic and have a significant impact on the world. Artificial intelligence is something of an umbrella term as it encompasses many areas where computer software is able to engage in activities that would typically be considered human-like. This includes things like problem-solving, planning and, importantly, learning. There are two primary types of artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning.
Machine learning is where we take advantage of technology to enable us to process vast amounts of data incredibly quickly. This happens because the AI involved uses algorithms to improve on what they do every time they do it. This is said to be learning, but of course, behind that, we have humans programming it. However, it has enabled us to make breakthroughs faster, especially when large data is involved that would take humans decades to go through.
Deep learning is a specific version of what happens with machine learning and also uses neural networks which are programmed to engage in something called non-linear reasoning. Here we are using artificial intelligence to be able to deal with complex and multiple factors all at the same time. This is the sort of thing we see in self-driving cars and fraud detection. It is how the vehicles learn things like distance from other objects and calculate how fast they are moving, which gives them the ability to know how quickly they will progress along a route. They also have to be capable of making calculated judgments on things like changing lanes.
AI and Business
One of the primary concerns about artificial intelligence is that it would negate the need for humans to work and create independent thinking robots that take over the world, which is where the preconceptions of science fiction and horror come into play. The reality is actually AI has a very much supportive role in the human world. While it can work quicker at processing data than a human brain can, common sense is yet to be achieved. But in industry, it has undoubtedly allowed companies to progress quicker and grow more. It also enables the machine to deputise for humans when they are not available. Things like chatbots who answer mundane customer service queries at any time of the day and night are an excellent example of how artificial intelligence is supporting a business. Customer relationship management software is also expanding and being enhanced because of artificial intelligence. When using artificial intelligence in a customer service type way, we are able to offer up an experience that customers will see as personal and cause them to return to your store time and time again. For example, artificial intelligence can take notice of the customer’s previous orders and responses to questions in order to offer services that are likely to be relevant and therefore purchased. This can be done in an instant where it would take a human a few more minutes to look back over someone’s account. It also means it can be set up to target the customer with personalised advertising that looks like someone has put a lot of time and effort into preparing just for them when actually AI has done it in moments.
The limits of AI are hard to imagine at this stage cause for such a long time; it didn’t even exist. Artificial intelligence has been helping during the global pandemic with things like bedside monitoring and deep cleaning of hospital beds and wards. Surgical robots are used to ensure a completely steady hand but remember again, while there is an element of artificial intelligence, there are people involved to create the actual programming behind it. In the hair, makeup and beauty industry, artificial intelligence is being used to offer live virtual fitting rooms, where a customer can see an outfit, hairstyle or colour, or makeup on themselves virtually using an artificial intelligence-based mirror. When it comes to keeping our roads safe, artificial intelligence is being used in traffic lights, street lighting, and other areas to bring about safety and lower the risk of accident and injury. In security, artificial intelligence is already used widely in homes, from video doorbells to voice assistance. The latest smartwatches can offer ECG’s and fall detection, so it is easy to see how this is enhancing our lives rather than threatening them. It is undoubtedly an area that many young people are looking to move into when it comes to picking their career. With this in mind, computer programming and programming languages have become a popular choice for University courses. AI’s Role in Business Transformation