Artificial intelligence (AI) is all around us. In our homes, workplaces and almost everywhere we go. In fact, you probably engage with AI on a daily basis and don’t even realise it. But before you start to panic that the machines are quietly gathering together to bring society to its knees, we thought we’d set the record straight on a few AI myths.
AI, while being technical in nature, is an extremely human-driven concept. It’s built by humans, for use by humans. So, forget the science fiction robots. Here’s how artificial intelligence for business is changing the world.
What is artificial intelligence?
It’s a very broad term, and the concepts of artificial intelligence and machine learning are far-reaching. By definition, AI describes human-like intelligence exhibited by machines. Within that, there are several other technologies at play, such as natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, robotics, machine vision and automation. In business, perhaps the most common example of AI is the chatbot. Many companies now use chatbots to connect with customers, provide information, and even facilitate sales.
It’s important to note that all AI begins with humans. Someone has to design the AI software, input the correct data, and get it ready for learning. As fanciful as it sounds, machines can’t just automatically start learning and doing things on their own. This is all triggered by human intervention.
Artificial intelligence for business examples
Let’s look at some of the common uses for artificial intelligence in business.
Chatbots: Chatbots vary in their level of AI. Some are simple button bots that can only respond to certain queries and take conversations in a certain direction. Others, with natural language processing and machine learning can do a lot more, and become more effective with every interaction.
Automation: When you use software to automates certain processes or move through a workflow that reacts to your input, this is a type of AI. Your CRM, for example, uses AI to help guide your sales and marketing efforts.
Data analysis: Many software systems designed to analyse large volumes of data are backed by AI. This allows the analysis of far more data in a fraction of the time. It also increases accuracy.
Robotics: Industrial manufacturing businesses have been using robotics for years, and this is also a form of AI. Robots range from basic, single function machines through to complex systems that learn to perform new tasks.
Machine vision: AI can now be built into certain equipment to view, analyse and detect things such as movement in security vision, or even low stock levels in warehousing.
The myth: AI replaces humans
Finally, let’s debunk the popular myth that AI is replacing humans. Certainly, AI can remove monotonous, boring functions from everyday life. But AI is actually supposed to complement humans, not eradicate us. When using artificial intelligence in business, the idea is to improve service and increase efficiency. This allows humans to handle more of the things they’re good at, such as creativity, strategic thinking and decision making.