Artificial Intelligence in business

THE POWER OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) IN BUSINESS

Transforming Operations, Improving Customer Experience and Improving Decision Making

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not the future, it is the present. It provides a computer program the ability to think and learn on its own. It is a simulation of human intelligence by machines allowing them to do things that would normally be done by humans. At its core, AI uses statistical and probability methods to make predictions that are based upon trends found in the data.  AI can be classified into different types based on their capabilities and functionalities. One of the most common types is Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), which is designed to perform a specific task or set of tasks, such as playing chess or driving a car.  ANI is widely used in various applications and is the most common form of AI today. There is also Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), known as strong AI or human-level and Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) that surpasses human intelligence in all domains.

 

Many of you have probably heard about a popular AI tool that has gotten a lot of press lately,  Chat GPT, launched by OpenAI.  It is a free AI-based Chatbot tool that has gained popularity for its human-like communication abilities, resulting in a predicted 100 million active monthly users. Chat GPT excels in language generation tasks such as translation, answering questions, and writing. It responds to natural language input with human-like responses.  This technology has opened up new opportunities in the business world, especially in the customer service industry.

To learn more about Chat GPT read more here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2022/12/28/what-does-chatgpt-really-mean-for-businesses/?sh=4454f0527d1e

 

AI has the potential to bring many benefits in a wide range of areas. Moreover, AI is playing a crucial role in the business sector, assisting businesses in adapting to changing market conditions, making better-informed decisions, and remaining competitive in an ever-evolving business landscape.

 

In fact, many businesses are already reaping the benefits of AI, from small startups to industry giants like Amazon and Google. As such, AI has become an increasingly important tool for businesses of all sizes, and a key factor in driving innovation and growth in the digital age.

Artificial Intelligence in business

ADVANTAGES OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN BUSINESS

Let’s take a look at some of the ways AI is being incorporated into business processes today: 

  • Automating Repetitive tasks Using AI to assist in automating repetitive tasks is one of the most powerful uses of AI today. It enables us to build upon the basic if-then-else static automations. This is because automation is typically based upon pre-defined rules, whereas AI brings that to the next level to simulate human thinking.  AI-powered automation is really helping businesses streamline their operations by automating repetitive tasks such as data entry and invoice processing. A couple of concrete examples of this is having a process read contact information from spreadsheets and inserting into a company CRM system or using OCR to read unstructured data from timesheets and status reports and generating invoices. 


  • Improve Customer Experience – AI is being used to improve customer service.  Businesses can increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, ultimately leading to increased revenue and growth. AI-powered chatbots and digital assistants can provide 24/7 instant customer support, answering questions and resolving issues in real-time, and saving companies a lot of money.  This is increasingly important with the competition for workers these days.  A couple of examples are chatbots powered by AI to answer customer questions.  This is often employed on company websites.  Have you ever used SIRI or even called your cable company’s customer service line only to have an AI-based system respond to simple questions ? If you are like me, you probably get tired of interacting with these AI tools.  However, these tools are able to answer many questions, and only transfer to live customer service agents for more complex issues. This is a very common place to Gen Zs and here to stay.  

  • Increase Forecasting Accuracy – AI can help businesses make data-driven decisions by providing insights and predictions based on large amounts of data. This can help businesses identify trends, predict customer behavior leading to a better-informed business. In Oil and Gas, there is a saying, Data is the New Oil.  This only highlights the importance of data. But why so much talk about data?  It is because data is a core component of AI models.  An example of this is employed by companies like Amazon who can determine where to place supply warehouses and what products to stock so when a customer orders products, they get products delivered in the shortest amount of time.  Today, it is not uncommon for us to place an order on Amazon and receive it the same day.


  • Data Analysis – The implementation of AI data analysis can assist businesses in processing and analyzing large amounts of data with speed and accuracy, while also uncovering insights that may not have been apparent using traditional data analysis methods. Here is how it is different: In the past, analysts would spend hours using data visualization and mining tools to find insights and trends captured in data.  However, now, AI technology assists with data analysis, enabling users to more quickly and accurately identify trends that can turn into opportunities. A very common use of this in credit card companies in Fraud detection.  AI-powered algorithms can analyze large volumes of data to identify patterns and anomalies that may indicate fraud.  Have you ever used your credit card at a different bank location or city than normal, or even at a different time and received a text or email stating that your card was just used or a large purchase was made asking if this was you. 


  • Sales and Marketing – Utilizing AI could serve as a means to produce leads, assess potential customers, and interact with them. Additionally, AI may be useful in generating content for marketing campaigns, such as crafting blog articles, social media content, and email newsletters. 


  • Training and development – By utilizing Artificial Intelligence, businesses have the opportunity to create training materials and deliver feedback to their employees. This can result in improved performance and increased productivity within the workplace. An example of this is self-paced, personalized training material used for personal development training to identify gaps and suggest other training.   


  • IT Support – One of the most time-consuming and important tasks that IT staff perform is support.  They are constantly fixing, answering questions and assisting employees from all areas of the business with issues. Employees lose hours of working time through technology issues, and these issues also lower morale when employees feel under-supported by their companies. But AI can really assist IT teams and save a lot of hours.  For example, the automation of some basic support functions powered by AI play a huge role in reducing the volume of routine tasks that must be manually completed, such as troubleshooting applications or responding to service tickets. Detecting an issue before employees even notice or report it saves a lot of time and resources.

  • Software Development – AI has so many uses but how can it be used to enhance software engineering ? Well there are many uses.  For example, in Automated Testing of software.  AI can be used to create and run tests automatically, which can help to identify bugs and issues in software code faster and more accurately than manual testing.  Another use of AI in coding these days is in code optimization.  AI can be used to analyze software code and identify areas where it can be optimized for performance, security, or other criteria, thus leading to faster, more efficient, and more secure software. Finally, AI is used in Natural Language Processing.   AI can be used to analyze natural language data, such as customer feedback or user comments, to identify areas where software can be improved or optimized. 


In general, AI plays a significant role in automation by helping businesses increase efficiency and effectiveness. Businesses can leverage various AI technologies, including machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision, to improve decision-making. Overall, by leveraging AI technologies, businesses can streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve the quality of their products or services, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.  However, even with all the positives, there are many negatives about using AI.  When considering the implementation of AI in business, it is crucial to be aware of and take into account the potential drawbacks.

DISADVANTAGES OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN BUSINESS

  • Cost of implementation – AI can be costly due to several factors. Firstly, AI requires significant investments in hardware, software, and infrastructure, which can be expensive for business. Secondly, AI accuracy can be severely impacted by lack of or inaccurate data.    The process of collecting and cleaning data to feed into AI algorithms can be time-consuming and expensive. Finally, ongoing maintenance and updates of an AI system can also be costly, as they require continuous monitoring and improvement to ensure optimal performance.

 

  • Reduction in jobs – Artificial intelligence can automate tasks that were previously performed by humans, leading to job loss or reduced job opportunities in some industries.  This is one of the greatest fears of AI and automation.  For this reason, AI has become very controversial.  People envision AI taking over all jobs.  Research shows that AI will take some jobs. However, people will always be necessary.  According to the Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum for 2020,  the World Economic Forum predicts that 85 million jobs will be displaced by automation and technology advances by 2025.  However, more new roles will be created – 97 million, as humans, machines and algorithms increasingly work together.  The overall feeling is that many jobs will either change significantly or no longer exist, but even more jobs will be created, resulting in a world where work will look differently, but still thriving with opportunities. 

 

  • Data privacy and security – AI relies on data to function, which can raise concerns about data privacy and security. AI systems can have unintended consequences, such as privacy violations or security breaches, that were not anticipated during development or implementation. Organizations are increasingly concerned about company secrets getting released and becoming part of data repositories used by models. 

 

  • AI can be biased – AI models are trained on large datasets, and if the dataset is biased, the AI system can learn and perpetuate that bias. The algorithms used in AI systems can also be biased if they are designed with certain assumptions or preconceptions. This is why it is extremely important that AI system designers are composed of a diverse set of persons from all backgrounds.  Unintended biases exist and can present themselves leading to inaccurate results by models. 

 

  • Lack of emotional Intelligence – AI lacks emotional intelligence and may struggle with tasks that require empathy or human interaction. They cannot replace human emotion.  The model cannot interpret that a person can ask the same question and based upon the emotion, could mean two totally different things.  Humans can immediately see this and respond accordingly. 

 

  • Trust of Data

One of the true concerns about AI algorithms is where the data is coming from. For example, if the model returns results that indicate that persons from a background like a certain food, one may ask, where did you get that data. It can be incorrect.  It is causing model builders to be as transparent as possible about data. 

 

Businesses cannot afford to wait before implementing AI into their business. It is already here and used everywhere.  Those who continue to wait will see competitors blow by them and they may be out of business before they know it.   It is important for businesses to acknowledge the drawbacks of Artificial Intelligence, yet it’s imperative to embrace its utilization. By doing so, businesses can begin to benefit from all the positives and mitigate the potential issues.

INTEGRATE AI INTO YOUR BUSINESS!

When businesses do take the plunge into AI, it requires careful planning and execution. Here are some steps to consider:
  1. Identify business problems that AI can help solve – Start by identifying the areas in your business where AI can make a positive impact. 

 

  1. Set clear goals and objectives – Determine what you hope to achieve by incorporating AI into your business. This could be increasing efficiency, improving customer satisfaction, or reducing costs.


  1. Evaluate data needs – AI requires large amounts of data to learn and keep evolving. Businesses should ensure that they have relevant data before implementing.  And of course, garbage in = garbage out, which means organizations should evaluate the quality of data, availability, and accessibility.

 

  1. Invest in the right talent – AI requires a unique set of skills, including data science, machine learning, and software development. Due to real concerns about biases, it also requires a diverse set of persons in skill and background.  This will give businesses the best chance, along with guidance and tools tailored towards aligning business goals with the implementation process.

 

  1. Choose the right Technology – There are many AI technologies available, including machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision. Organizations should take the time to choose the technology that best fits their business needs and goals.

 

  1. Test and refine – A good strategy is to start with Pilot AI projects and collect feedback. This enables organizations to start small and continuously improve and refine AI applications. This iterative process will help ensure that AI solutions meet business needs.

 

  1. Monitor and maintain – AI systems require ongoing monitoring and maintenance to ensure they continue to perform effectively and efficiently.

In closing, although Incorporating AI into a business can be a complex process, it can lead to significant benefits and competitive advantages. There is no time better than the present to begin the journey. It is not going away, so we might as well see how to use it properly. 

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