Many would remember the time in the 1990s when computer systems became the staple of every home and business. From being a machine that a select few used to becoming The Machine that is indispensable to system computers have come a long way. Today for most of us, the use of artificial intelligence in business makes it impossible to imagine our life without technology playing a significant role in it at every hour, if not a smaller unit of time. If we talk of artificial intelligence in small business, there is absolutely no aspect of business today that can be done without some interaction with computer systems or the other. You may not see it happen when you interact with the business, but that certainly does not mean the interaction with the computer does not exist. All primary functions of a business, be it supply chain, marketing management, financial management, people management, or any other aspect that one can think of are linked to technology.
What was true for computer systems and technology 20 years ago is now true for artificial intelligence. It is no leap of faith to imagine artificial intelligence being as involved in our lives in a few years as computer systems are today. The pace at which this technology is becoming a part of our lives is much more accelerated than the one mentioned above. At this rate, it is evident that there will be plenty to see if artificial intelligence in small business as well as large. Keeping this in mind, it is next to impossible to imagine any companies in an ecosystem where artificial intelligence is absent. With that in mind, let’s look at the use of artificial intelligence in business, where and how the impact lies.
Before we can embark on that journey, however, it is essential to remove any misconceptions about Artificial Intelligence. It is no longer something to see in science fiction books and movies. Today, Artificial Intelligence is a part of our everyday lives, even when we may not be aware of it. From a business point of view, be it chatbots or holding interviews (Volvo car recently), Artificial Intelligence is doing it all.
So what is Artificial Intelligence, how is it linked to Machine Learning and Deep Learning? Artificial intelligence is an umbrella term used to describe computers and software, showing insight and intelligence similar to humans. This generally includes planning, learning, and problem-solving. On the other hand, machine learning is a specific form of AI where algorithms help a machine work on large amounts of data quickly. The more data fed into the algorithms and worked on, the more the machine learns how to work on the data. It is restricted by the extent of the algorithms entirely. Deep learning is a specific form of machine learning. Here, the system works to analyze multiple factors at once and may collect data as needed from its ecosystem and environment. It has limitations too, but those are much more subtle. The best example of this can be self-driving cars.
Now that you know what each term is let’s deep dive into the possible advantages of artificial intelligence in businesses now and in the near future:
As machines become smarter and more adept, more and more decision making backdrop work can be carried out by them. From simple calculations and probability analysis to complex factor analysis based on real-time data from the ecosystem by use of deep learning is on the horizons if not already present. This will mean businesses can change their turn around time into a fraction of what it was when these tasks were manual or semi-automatic. Artificial intelligence can also help businesses look for what may not be obvious or visible to them. It is important to note that a machine has no preference bias when it comes to data analysis unless fed into its algorithm. This means that the aspects of human error that may have existed in manual decision making are likely to be completely negated here. This may be a huge investment for businesses but is likely to only get more popular and intrinsic with passing the time, especially in large corporations.
Chatbots are not unknown to anyone today; however, many may not know that most corporates today use one in their instant help to visitors sections on their websites. With a detailed and well-designed chatbot, it is possible a person may hold an entire preliminary conversation with the business without needing human input at that moment. As AI betters and becomes more prominent, this will become more and more prevalent. It is likely to come to a stage when machines may handle all primary communication for a business. As no machine has passed the Turing test yet to be passed by any machine, there are clear limitations to this use of AI. However, the present state is already at a point where companies will save a lot on money and time by using AI in communication systems for their business.
Customer and employee management
The tone of the speaker or their word usage, along with their needs, is something that machines today can understand, analyze, and respond to by words or actions. Many aspects of dealing with customers or employees are clerical or mundane tasks that can be carried out today by machines. This allows a business to free up time and resources for use in other venues. Not only has this, using AI in this department, had an earlier unimagined advantage to businesses. A machine does not feel hurt or angered. The use of AI entirely avoids a human conflict that often arises in dealing with customers and employees on many matters. This also leads to happier customers for the company and non-irate employees on all ends of the spectrum.
Once businesses start looking into where they can introduce AI, they will see just how much it can do in the supply chain of their work. It does not matter if their business is of manufacturing or not. It is also inconsequential as to the size of the business. Supply chain in one form or another is a necessary component of all businesses. From inventory stock-taking to self-driven delivery, AI is making it all possible, and all businesses will save on time, resources using AI. As mentioned earlier, there is the advantage of no human error in the process. In the case of the supply chain, this means less manhandling and fewer losses for one reason or another. Each of these adds to the profit or reduces the cost for the business, thus making it a much-needed option to be explored.
Today, machines learn almost everything about the systems and ecosystems they are a part of. This helps businesses use AI to detect fraud and lapses in ordinary work patterns online. What this translates to is that AI can help businesses keep their cybersecurity on point. From logins to data transfer, all can be monitored by the AI in real-time. Any irregularities or possible fraud can be blocked and flagged. The system can learn to become better at this along with learning exceptions and high alerts as more and more data is passed and processed by the business. In its final call, this can allow the cybersecurity to be top-notch for the business and its users.
The above are only some of the many benefits that come from businesses adopting AI into their systems. As time would pass, AI will become not just the smart choice but also indispensable. It is best that businesses look to get ahead in this at the earliest.
Helen Wilson is a marketing manager at Savah. She is a keen follower of technology and loves to write about the latest trends and tips from the tech industry.