You probably have the notion that this topic is about robots and droids, behaving in a human-like form and attitude. But artificial intelligence or AI is almost everywhere, in places you might not expect. How you got to this page is possibly a product of AI. It was designed to think the way you do. The keywords you typed in were perceived by an AI acting like a “librarian,” searching for the literature you need from gazillions of potential results.
What is Artificial Intelligence and How Does it Apply to Business?
Artificial intelligence is the ability of a machine to learn and think for itself, in essence it is programmed to learn, think, act, and provide solutions in the most human way possible based on current input and data they have gathered over time.
The term artificial intelligence was coined by a computer scientist John McCarthy in 1956. From then on, various books and even Hollywood movies tried to show us examples of AI. But AI’s evolution has come a long way, as these milestones of business interest in AI demonstrate:
Artificial Intelligence Milestones
1997 - An IBM supercomputer named Deep Blue defeats world chess champion Garry Kasparov under tournament conditions.
1999 – Sony introduces AIBO robot pets
2005 – Honda introduces ASIMO, a humanoid robot and the most advanced in the world at the time
2011 – Emergence of virtual assistants Siri (Apple), Now (Google) and Cortana (Microsoft)
2016 – Ross Intelligence becomes the world’s first AI research attorney using IBM’s Watson computers.
2017 – Hanson Robotics introduces social robot Sophia to the world. This robot can process visual and emotional data. It aims to connect and build relationships with humans.
According to studies, the human brain’s storage capacity is around 2.5 petabytes or 1 million gigabytes. That storage is equal to three million hours of TV shows which will take 300 years to continuously and completely play.
The role of AI is to store, process, and analyze such big amounts of data and make it readily accessible to users – in excess of what humans can actually do.
The uses of Artificial intelligence are found literally at our fingertips. It is everywhere we go, it is what offers us comfort and convenience.
Examples of Artificial Intelligence Applications in Use Today
Here are examples of the applications of artificial intelligence in business in five industries that affect our day-to-day living.
The auto-pilot feature of an airplane, the way ride sharing applications connect you to the drivers, and the way your mobile phone maps give you your exact estimated time or arrival, are all AI.
Your mobile phone’s security feature has evolved from simply asking for a 4-digit PIN, to programming your fingerprint and recently, facial recognition. Even your mobile banking, money remittance, and shopping applications incorporate AI.
3. Social Media
Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms identify who you should tag on your photos. Their AI shows you ads of stores near you, will recommend people you may know, and will suggest feeds relevant to you.
Don’t you just love how Spotify, YouTube and Netflix remember the genre of music and videos that you enjoy? AI automatically sorts your favorites into “Recommended for You”, “Daily Mix” and more.
Predictive texts, auto-correct, auto-fill, chatbots, language translation, auto-responders are among the AI-powered features in the field of communication.
What the Future Holds for AI and Small Business
Artificial intelligence has evolved and proved to be more than just about robots and droids. AI applications in small business processes are helping them grow and become more efficient in every aspect of their operations.
Here are six areas of small business operations where AI will continue to grow in usefulness.
1. Customer Service
Customer service, data collection, and engaging in an intelligent interaction between consumers and a program has never been this easy. ChatBots are being used by companies in their websites via live chats and on social media where you can easily click the concerns you have at hand and a chatbot will provide you with the answers in the least possible time.
An example of this is Mobile Monkey, a Facebook Messenger marketing app that uses an AI chatbot and automation features. Their user-friendly chatbot software can assist with list building, drip campaigns, chat blasts, Facebook ads, and various customer service functions. Their software interface lets you customize your chatbot without the need for coding skills or programmers.
Online shopping just became more fun. Upon searching for a particular product, the algorithm of your favorite shopping site automatically offers you the product you are looking for a similar product you may want to consider. Its algorithm maps the keywords, imagery, and other information to provide you the best possible options.
3. Workplace Management
Scheduled emails, meeting schedulers, and project management applications are among the tools that make an employee’s life easier. It offers time-saving convenience and allows employees to focus on more productive and creative tasks rather than spending time on mundane tasks.
From the most simple task of finding specialists, laboratories, specialty clinics within your location and up to the most sensitive robotic intervention on the most delicate surgeries, AI has played an important role in the field of healthcare. More doctors believe that in the coming years, AI will enable real-time discussion and information sharing that will prevent medical malpractices and misdiagnosis.
5. Internet Security
Have you ever travelled out of the country, tried logging in to your email, but had it flagged as suspicious activity? Since AI analyzes behavior, your sudden transfer to a new location tells the system that it might not be you who is accessing the email. Similarly, the banking industry has become more accessible through the availability or mobile and internet banking, yet is more sensitive to any unusual activity.
6. Supply Chain and Logistics
With consumer data analytics, order and delivery systems are more efficient. As shopping becomes easier, manufacturing and delivery also need to keep up. Centralization of information requires big data and when there is big data, there is AI to quickly manage it.
Conclusion – AI In Business
Artificial intelligence has come a long way and it will surely evolve by incorporating the most basic human emotions to continuously improve user experience. Currently, artificial intelligence’s only evident human emotion is anticipation. It gives us what it thinks we need based on anticipation using the data that has been programmed.
Artificial intelligence technologies in business have a huge role in making business and its employees more efficient. But we are still far from losing our jobs and being replaced by AI. It is something to embrace and use fully for our benefit.
Usman Raza is the co-founder of a Christian Social Media Agency and marketing strategist working with various brands online. Usman is the content marketing manager at an Email Marketing Agency, PSDtoWPService, and Nano Hearing Aids. He is devoted to helping small businesses bridge success gaps by providing in-depth, actionable advice on digital marketing, SEO, and small business growth.
Follow him on Twitter @usmanintrotech.