Artificial Intelligence in Simple Terms: Why does a business need AI?
The Rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the main reasons data has become so valuable and sought after. Both AI and data are trendy topics these days. AI allows computers to learn from their own experience, adapt to set parameters, and perform tasks that were previously only possible for humans. Computers can be “taught” to perform specific tasks by processing large amounts of data and identifying patterns within it.
The concept seems quite simply at a glance, doesn’t it? However, through our communication with a large number of people from a variety of industries, we noticed that many people do not fully understand what Artificial Intelligence is, how it differentiates from traditional analytics, and what the potential of using AI technologies for business can be.
In this article, we have used our relevant expertise to identify where AI can help your business most in gaining a competitive advantage. With that said, let’s define what AI is!
Data is the new oil
Most people are excited about the AI-driven future, however many are fearful of the unknown. In a recent study, 24% of respondents believed that AI will lead to the rise of robots and the enslavement of humanity.
This response is echoed in the business world and we experience it on a daily basis in communication with our clients. For the last 4 years, we have been working with a variety of companies around the world. Some common themes have emerged – a mix of excitement, opportunity, and confusion. Excitement because AI technologies, when applied correctly, are amazing and can do wonders for a business, not to mention some AI tools are quickly becoming a must for companies to stay competitive. Confusion, because many companies do not understand it fully and have often had bad experiences. These concerns are justified.
AI is the most important “gold rush” of our era, and of course, everything changes very quickly and it is hard to separate truth from fiction. Shocking statistics – about 40% of AI startups have no real AI. Instead many of them rely on humans to pretend to be AI.
Statistically, 84% of you have recently used at least one AI-powered service or device – this can be a smart speaker, intelligent chatbot, or predictive recommendation product. Google, Youtube, Facebook, Amazon – all of them are using AI to keep you engaged.
So, what IS AI, and another often-used term, Machine Learning?
Artificial intelligence is a science like mathematics or biology. It studies ways to build intelligent programs that can creatively solve problems, in a way that mimics human intelligence. One of the ways we implement AI is Machine Learning. “Machine learning is the study of computer algorithms that allow computer programs to automatically improve through experience.” The keywords here are “improve through experience”, which really means “improve through data”.
For example, at Integrio, we have professional expertise in implementing machine learning algorithms for hyper-personalization of the retail experience where we use it to predict what products, services, when, and what price point customers want to make their purchase at, and how to shift their behavior.
So, how to know if something is using AI?
There are nuances, but if you were to take away one key thing it is that AI is NOT rule-based. Think about it this way: Let’s say you need to create an algorithm to detect the capital letter A on a piece of paper. The traditional method would be to create a set of rules – that there need to be three lines that have to fit together at a certain angle, they have to be of a certain shape, etc. You can see how hard it is to create rules for all real-world scenarios, such as the page possibly being stained with coffee (which often happens to me) or it could be crumpled.
The AI method to this problem would be to develop a learning model. You show a large number of different images to the program and indicate which one is correct and which one is not – this process is called training. Over time the model will learn, similar to how our brain works, to determine whether a picture contains the necessary symbol.
In other words, in traditional programming, you or your developers code the behavior of the program. In machine learning, you leave most of that to the machine to learn from data.
When you go online and have to answer a captcha to prove you are a human and you are asked to type the text you see on the image – this is exactly what you are helping with - you are helping to train AI models. So, when in your business someone is trying to sell you an AI solution but it feels like a set of rules, it is most likely not true AI.
This also shows why data is so important and why it is often said that data is the lifeblood of AI. An AI system needs to learn from data in order to be able to fulfill its desired function. In the real world, especially in business, organizing data effectively is difficult and requires focus. Many organizations struggle to integrate data because of these reasons, especially when the data is from multiple sources.
Self-learning intelligent systems are widely used in almost all industries, especially in retail, banking, insurance, healthcare, and defense. Applying AI to your business may reveal inefficiencies in your day-to-day activities which, once rectified or automated, could lead to both time and cost savings. Modern artificial intelligence "learns" new skills every day, thus transforming our lives and making modern businesses more digitized.