When people think of the term Artificial Intelligence, or AI, they may imagine humanoid robots performing mundane tasks that people once used to do. And, for many years, this is how scientists and researchers viewed the technology. In the 1950s, John McCarthy, who is considered one of the fathers of AI, described AI as any task performed by a machine or program that a human would need to apply intelligence to complete.
Since the days of the first AI, however, technology has improved tremendously and researchers are finding that AI can offer more than just a simulation of what a human is capable of. According to AI researcher Francois Chollet, intelligence is not only the ability to think through a task, but it also relates to how a system can adapt and improvise in a new environment to improve on the task. In his words; “intelligence is not a skill itself – it’s not what you can do, it’s how well and how efficiently you can learn new things”. So, if we look at AI as a means to improve on existing systems, then we can start to see some of the potential AI has to improve the way we do business.
While pioneers in AI continue to find new uses for the technology, there are already businesses that are benefiting from AI technology in various ways. In this article, we explore some of the ways in which AI can help businesses succeed in the Age of Technology.
Save Time by Letting AI Deal with Mundane Tasks
When it comes to AI, one of the best uses of this kind of technology is the automation of everyday, mundane tasks that are essential in the running of the business. This can include tasks such as basic administrative reports, scheduling meetings, and even sifting through emails to determine which ones need to be answered and which ones can go straight into the trash. By using the right AI-based tools for these tasks, businesses can eliminate the possibility of human error as well as save valuable time and resources. Click here to learn more about how AI is helping streamline business operations as well as what a degree in machine learning can offer graduates.
Easier, Quicker Hiring Processes
While AI can help with some of the more mundane aspects of running a business, it can also be used for some of the more important tasks of departments such as human resources. In particular, AI can help businesses shave valuable time off their hiring processes.
Hiring new staff can be a daunting and time-consuming process and human resource departments for big companies typically have to sift through hundreds of applications when looking for new staff. AI filters take a lot of the legwork out of this process by filtering out applicants that are not suitable for the job; however, this is not the only way recruiters are using AI technology to make smarter hiring decisions. Companies such as Pymetrics, who specialize in matching applicants to jobs, use AI technology to create aptitude tests that other companies can use to score candidates and thus narrow down their applicant pool. By providing employers with valuable insight into candidates before they even meet them, AI can help save businesses valuable time during the hiring process and also ensure that companies choose the best candidate for the job.
Improve Your Marketing with AI
Marketing is one field that is seeing a huge benefit from the use of AI technology, where it is not only being used by marketers to develop new strategies but is also instrumental in allowing marketers to target ads to audiences based on their browsing histories and information gathered from social media and other sources. AI can also assist with improving both the creative look of ads, as well as the content they contain, in order to be more appealing to customers. Through the use of targeted ads, businesses can optimize their digital advertising campaigns and ultimately save time and money on their marketing.
Aside from using AI to improve advertising, AI can also be used to improve a business’s content marketing process, an aspect of AI that even big companies like the BBC have been quick to capitalize on. Content creation is a tedious and involved process that is not only time consuming but also requires huge amounts of manpower. To make this process easier and more rewarding, AI is being used to give marketers data-driven feedback that can help streamline their content creation. This is achieved by offering recommendations on the type of content they should focus on as well as the topics for their content that they should create that will result in better engagement levels as well as more leads.
Identify New Opportunities with AI
As AI systems continue to be fed huge amounts of data that is freely available online, so do businesses have more insight into their customers than ever before. While this insight is often used to streamline and improve a business’s existing operations, it can also be used to identify new opportunities as well. For example, a business may be selling a particular product for a specific purpose; however, data relating to that product may reveal that customers are using that product for other purposes.
An example of a well-known product that was designed for one purpose but which gained popularity for another reason is Listerine. This commonly-used mouthwash was created in 1879 to be used as a sterilizing agent during surgical operations and it was only in 1895 when dentists discovered that the product was also very effective in their field. Seeing its success, the company behind Listerine decided a rebrand was in order and, in 1914, Listerine became the first prescription mouthwash that could be sold over the counter in the US. While this process of transformation took 35 years, with AI and machine learning technology, businesses can now get this type of information in a matter of months after releasing a new product.
Using AI Chatbots to Improve Customer Service
In the Age of Technology, most business owners understand that having a website where customers can reach them regardless of the time of the day is important for the overall success of their business. Unfortunately, having a person available to provide information on products or service offerings 24/7 is just not feasible to most companies. Enter the chatbot.
Chatbots are advanced AI programs that can replicate human conversations. Chatbots are commonly used for customer support, where they can either provide customers with a way to find out further information about a business’s product offerings or services, or they are used as a first-line response for support desks. Using complex algorithms that help the program interpret the written text to identify what a customer may be asking, chatbots can respond to customer requests or queries or, if the task requires input from a person, refer customers to the right person.
For example, a chatbot on a customer helpline may be able to assist customers with basic queries or troubleshooting relating to a product or, if the issue is too complex for the bot, it may be able to gather the information that a human support agent might need to respond to the query timeously.
AI Can Make Buildings More Efficient
While many industries have embraced remote working environments, the reality is that many businesses still require physical office spaces or warehouses to deliver their goods or services to customers. Unfortunately for these businesses, one of the biggest monthly costs of running a business is often attributed to utility bills such as electricity and water. The good news is, thanks to AI technology, businesses now have access to tools that can help optimize the performance of their building.
Buildings that make use of AI systems to automate processes such as heating, cooling, ventilation, and even security, are called smart buildings. This building automation can be achieved with the use of sensors and other internet-of-things devices that can give an AI system feedback regarding conditions in the building. The AI can then adjust the settings to accommodate the needs of the occupants of the building. For example, a heat sensor in an office could provide the AI system with information regarding the ambient temperature in a room. Should the temperature in the monitored office be too low, the AI could adjust the heating in that room to bring it up to the desired temperature. However, if the AI detects that the room in question is also empty, then the heating would not be adjusted, saving valuable energy.
While a full smart building is something that many businesses could only dream of, the reality is that AI technology is already being used to create hybrid buildings that are not only more efficient than traditional offices in terms of energy consumption but can also help boost the building’s security as well.
As technology experts and researchers continue to explore the capabilities of AI technology, businesses are finding more and more ways to use technology to make smarter business decisions as well as streamline their existing processes. What the future holds for AI is uncertain, but what is clear is that businesses who wish to survive in an extremely competitive marketplace need to embrace machine learning and AI technology if they wish to succeed.