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Weekly articles predict humanity’s imminent implosion due to the malevolent intentions of our AI overlords, but focusing on the non-doomsday ramifications of technological advancement is a better way to spend your time. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation present many opportunities for business owners, and being able to read the landscape, as well as being prepared to move quickly to implement change, is the best way to minimize disruption moving forward.
According to a PwC survey of over 1,000 North American business executives, 20% of organizations will implement AI enterprise-wide in 2019. AI is broadly defined as the ability of tech to perceive, reason, learn and problem-solve – qualities more typically associated with matter between our ears.
If you’re wondering how artificial intelligence might affect your business in the short term, and even over the long haul, this article will help you keep your finger on the pulse. While it’s true that many companies lack the foundational practices to generate value from AI at scale, you might even decide to AI-enhance your office or supply chain sooner than you’d planned.
1) Smarter tech to inform decision-making
Companies continue to invest in cognitive software capabilities, and although only the major players have deep enough pockets to realistically expect yield from such investments in the near term, empowered computer algorithms will undoubtedly play a key role in business across industries in the future.
What does this mean in real terms? Well, it means that as AI becomes more proficient at analyzing and interpreting mountains of data, and doing so faster than ever before, businesses have the chance to build better, more personalized and profitable campaigns. It means that as AI apps harvest patterns and insights from text, numbers, still images and video, you can better apportion budget and resources based on the insights gleaned from the advancing field of artificial intelligence and deep learning.
As well as helping to improve decision-making, AI integration offers the potential for automated decision-making, helpfully taking decisions out of the hands of customer service reps, consultants or in-house strategists. Of course, it is important to offer transparency to customers and to monitor judgements and ensure they are, well, better than those which would be taken by staff members.
2) A streamlined supply chain
The supply chain is one of the more obvious areas that AI can help to improve, enabling enhanced agility and accuracy via the automation of manual processes. From AI-equipped machines such as inventory-taking drones to program-guided vehicles like driverless warehouse carts and improved data analytics and anomaly-detection software, smart tech is making the supply chain less fallible than ever. To make the most of AI in your supply chain, the adoption of natural language processing (NLP, the tech at the heart of Amazon Echo), robotic process automation (RPA) and deep learning technologies will be essential in the near future.
3) Continued focus on mobile
In the coming years, smartphones will have AI built directly into the hardware via a dedicated processor, a knock-on effect of which will be the popularization of features such as real-time speech translation. So, what does the incorporation of smarter AI into mobile devices mean for you? Well, the proliferation of new applications presents myriad opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes, and exploiting relevant apps will help open avenues for ROI. Furthermore, optimizing your site or service for mobile will continue to pay dividends. Naturally, you’ll also need to think about using mobile developers who possess a sound knowledge of both artificial intelligence and machine learning.
4) Customer relations
Engaging with customers is an integral part of any B2C enterprise but artificial intelligence is expected to alter these customer support processes in the coming years. AI-powered software solutions including sentiment analysis technology mean you won’t need a human to properly gauge a customer’s tone of voice, thus helping businesses respond more effectively to concerns, complaints and queries. After all, clients who have a pleasant experience with a company are more likely to want to share that experience with others, both online and offline.
Incorporating AI into your customer experience (CX) strategy, for example by using automated live chat software, will help you to give better, more dynamic answers, and quicker; it’ll help you cut down on the man hours needed to research solutions and help you build stronger engagement and consumer trust. It’ll also yield predictive insights, putting you in a position whereby you can automatically recommend similar items or services a customer may be interested in.
5) Recruitment practices
What’s the best way to hire? There might be a different answer to that question in a few short years, as AI is predicted to replace 16% of HR jobs within the next decade (Undercover Recruiter). The integration of AI into your recruitment processes could make the endeavor to find the next bright-spark candidate easier and quicker, thereby saving you time and money. It’s not just a case of finding the right candidate that artificial intelligence can help with, but also finding the best fit, which AI can do by rapidly assessing a candidate’s online presence, matching it to the company ethos.
AI-powered video interview platforms, meanwhile, utilize biometric and psychometric analysis to gauge interviewees’ tone of voice, evaluate micro-expressions and assess body language. Of course, you could continue to do things the old-fashioned way: but if your competitors start to constantly snatch the best candidates from the hiring pool, you won’t be long in embracing complex technology to secure a signature.
6) Improved cyber security
One of the most common ways to use AI in business is to track and identify behaviors consistent with fraud. Clever apps and software can also regularly self-adjust as they scrutinize and learn from data over time. Given the data breaches that have hit the headlines in recent years, and also the fact that cyber-attacks continue to grow ever more sophisticated, incorporating AI into your business is vital to protect consumer data, inspire trust and deliver true business value. Of course, the danger is obvious: AI can be used by both sides, both those seeking to attack and those determined to defend. This should be kept in mind at all times.
To summarize, remember that AI is not here to replace all of our existing processes: it is here to augment and improve, where necessary, and to help us work smarter. This applies to robotic process automation as much as computer vision, machine learning and other forms of AI.
Tech is not yet infallible (user-friendly AI remains incredibly tricky to implement) and perhaps it never will be, but AI can gather and analyze data quicker than people can – and it can work alongside people much like any effective tool. It can also eliminate or significantly reduce mindless and repetitive tasks and bolster productivity.
With the use of AI in business certain to continue at pace, use it to improve your standard business processes, streamline strategic output and remove guesswork from your decision-making. Embrace the future.
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