Disruption from artificial intelligence has arrived, but some business leaders are unsure about the best way to embrace and leverage this technology to gain best the results. Unfortunately, those who ignore AI are at risk of being left behind by the ones who are already using the technology for innovation.
Analyst firm Tractica predicts that the annual growth from AI enterprise software will skyrocket from $644 million in 2016 to almost $39 billion by 2025. Services related to this industry could reach nearly $150 billion over the same period. So, what exactly is AI and how might this technology impact the business world?
What is AI and Why It Matters for Our Future
The term artificial intelligence was conceived in 1955 by Dartmouth math professor John McCarthy who later organized a conference on the topic. Economist Herbert Simon predicted in 1957 that a machine would beat humans at chess within a decade (it took 40 years). While AI has come a long way since the term was coined, there is still some distance to travel on this journey of machine learning.
AI and machine learning are now so common in the business world and our daily lives that most of us interact with it without realizing it. Rather than becoming a replacement for human ingenuity and knowledge, AI has become more of a support tool that allows humans to produce more and make better decisions.
How AI Will Be a Catalyst for Changes in the Business World
Some companies are already making use of AI while others just have plans to do so. A 2017 MITSloan Management report on Reshaping Business With Artificial Intelligence revealed that 85% of companies believe AI will provide them with a competitive advantage. That being said, less than 39% of companies have any sort of AI strategy in place.
Some of the ways that businesses are already making use of AI today include:
- Uber’s team of developers uses machine learningto drive its mapping and mobile app development.
- Travel site Expedia reports that its core services were built using machine learning, which also helps the company detect fraud.
- Ocado is using a combination of cloud APIs and Google’s open source TensorFlow machine learning tools to support its AI projects, including a process to deal with service-related emails.
How AI is Changing How Job Roles Are Defined
Many people make the mistake of believing that AI is only going to impact the manufacturing sector. The point of AI isn’t necessarily to replace jobs, although this may happen, but to take the burden of some tasks away so that we are freed up to be more productive elsewhere.
Take sales, for example. A salesperson is only as productive as the time that they are permitted to devote to the art of selling. Everything involved in the sales process has value, such as lead generation and follow-up, but the one thing that a salesperson can’t and shouldn’t eliminate is the personal attention that they give prospects.
AI is now being used extensively in sales to identify prospects, prioritize emails, handle scheduling, and even electronically communicate with others. AI can also analyze past deals to determine what works as well as what doesn’t so that a salesperson is spending their work time as efficiently and productive as possible.
Artificial intelligence already impacts many aspects of business and our daily lives. Over the next several years, the advances in AI innovation are going to create a shift in the way that we work and conduct business. Aside from delivering greater efficiencies in business, AI has the potential to give those who embrace it a competitive edge in their chosen market.