Mankind has long been intrigued by the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It’s one of the most promising technological advances of our time. When most of us think of AI, the first thing that pops into our minds is Hollywood depictions of human-like machines rebelling and wreaking havoc on earth. Reality is quite far from such ominous scenarios.
AI is a relatively young discipline of around 60 years that aims to enable machines to mimic some of the cognitive abilities of human beings by bringing together theories and techniques from multiple sciences, including computer science, mathematics, psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics.
The research and advances we’ve made in the field of AI are based on the idea that human intelligence can be deconstructed and analyzed as to allow machines to mimic the pieces and be able to execute simple or complex tasks in a similar way.
AI is constantly evolving, and previous benchmarks such as recognizing text or calculating function become outdated, and they’re no longer considered artificial intelligence, but basic capabilities of computers.
Nowadays, we are most familiar with different forms of AI, such as chatbots, virtual assistants, and self-driving cars. AI is also used to process vast amounts of data. More recent developments like Machine Learning (ML) have made it possible for computers to learn from experience so they can analyze data, recognize patterns, make decisions and perform certain tasks to reach a specific goal without human intervention. Essentially, they’re trained to mimic human perception, learning, and reasoning.
When referring to various aspects of AI, specialists prefer to use the names of the technologies involved, such as machine learning and avoid the term “intelligence” because although there has been extraordinary progress, the results are nowhere near stated ambitions.
With all the hype surrounding AI, it’s easy to think that it could be the solution to all our problems, but in this article, we will go beyond blockbuster movies and explore some of the real benefits of this type of technology for businesses.
Saving Time and Money through Automation
Businesses, no matter how big or small, are always trying to save time and money. Artificial intelligence integration makes that possible by allowing users automate certain tasks such as data mapping and integrate data with speed and precision. We often hear about how AI will take our jobs, but realistically speaking, AI is a type of technology that can take tasks. Though it’s not at a level where it can replace a human employee in toto, it enables business users perform certain repetitive, time-consuming, logistical operations, which means employees can spend their time doing more meaningful work.
Small businesses can only afford a limited number of employees, so it’s to their advantage to transfer some of these menial, time-consuming tasks to computers so they can increase efficiency and grow at a faster rate. Machines don’t get bored or tired no matter what kind of work they have to do. You can rely on them no matter what time of day and they can accomplish certain tasks much faster than people can, making them ideal for routine work.
Unlock Unstructured Data for Analysis and Interpretation
Structured data that humans can easily analyze and interpret is only a small fraction of the information available to us. If there’s one thing that the current AI systems truly excel at is analyzing unstructured and converting it into structured data.
AI systems have become vital for large companies that have to deal with enormous amounts of consumer data. However, small companies can also benefit from AI technology since their limited budgets make it very difficult to hire full-time data scientists or collaborate with analytics firms.
When small companies have access to intuitive and affordable AI tools for data analysis, they can learn more about their customers and their competitors. For example, regression analysis enables you to examine the relationship between a wide array of variables and determine how it influences your business.
Small business owners can also use AI-powered data analysis tools to keep track of their competitors across multiple channels and quickly detect price fluctuations or changes in PR strategies.
Streamline the Recruitment Process
Since AI systems are so good at data collection, analysis, and interpretation, they can also help companies streamline their recruitment process. AI technology can also help reduce bias ion the preliminary screening. We say reduce and not eliminate because even though computers are not guided by emotions, remember that they are trained to find patterns and mimic human decision-making.
For example, Amazon had to scrap its AI recruiting tool because it was gender-biased. But how is that possible? Even though it had no feelings or opinions about female applicants, it was given resumes submitted to the company over a period of 10 years, mostly from men, so based on the patterns it observed, it concluded that male applicants are the preferred choice.
Still, even though errors like these can happen once in a while, they’re a lot easier to fix than to change a real person’s bias regarding gender or racial equality.
Also, keep in mind that big companies like Amazon have more resources to deal with their enormous piles of resumes. Small companies, on the other hand, would have to either do it themselves or pay recruitment companies to do it for them. AI tools can speed up the recruitment process and reduce per-hire costs.
Improve Customer Experience
With the explosion of online communication platforms, businesses have never had so many ways to interact with their customers. As a result, customers expect far more engagement than before. AI-powered tools like chatbots can help enhance customer experience, increase loyalty, and boost sales.
Another important benefit is that AI systems can assist customers no matter what time of the day and can respond to a vast number of customers simultaneously. Advances in natural language processing have enabled chatbots to pick up nuances in conversation to better mimic human patterns of speech. Studies estimate that by the year 2025, 95% of all customer interaction will be handled by intelligent machines.
Moreover, most customers like personalized experiences. They love the fact that Netflix can show them which movies they’ll actually enjoy watching or that Spotify can make playlists according to their tastes. Amazon saw a 29% increase in sales after introducing a recommendation system.
This type of personalization wouldn’t be possible without AI systems analyzing consumer behavior to find patterns, create personas, and predict which content or products people would find most appealing.