It was the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky that once said, “A good hockey player skates to where the puck is. A great hockey player skates to where the puck is going to be.”
When it comes to business there are a lot of great minds making predictions about the future. It is no surprise that technology is at the forefront of these predictions, but now the focus has shifted to ‘what type of technology?’
Do some research and you’ll discover that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the top of the list, and the smartest minds on the planet are saying it is the next big thing.
In fact, research firm Markets and Markets estimates that the AI market will grow to $5.05 billion by 2020. And by the end of the decade, it is expected that AI will be used in almost every industry.
It is time that business owners (even small ones) begin to understand what AI is, and how it can be used in your business.
Here are six questions I’m commonly asked about AI and these descriptions will give you a better understanding of it:
- So what is Artificial Intelligence (AI) anyway? Firstly, it’s worth dropping any Hollywood-style notions of AI and no, we don’t need to worry about the Terminator coming to life anytime soon.
Quite simply AI is a field of computer science that is aimed at programming computers to do things that are normally done by people — in particular, things associated with people acting intelligently.
While the field of AI has been around since the sixties, recent advancements in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and computer vision, coupled with exponential improvements in hardware and cloud storage, means the early promises of AI are set to become reality.
- Where is AI being used right now? The truth is AI is already all around us, but most people are unaware that it is even in use. Siri is probably the most popular example of an AI system at in action. Other examples include:
- Your GPS that uses AI to predict the time delay after a traffic accident
- An airline company that uses AI to price airline seats to maximize profits
- Cruise ships that analyze the nationalities and ages of travelers to predict what alcohol to order so they do not run out
- And banks using historic data to better detect fraud and stop suspicious transactions
- What will AI be able to do in the future? The answer is a lot. From helping a blind person walk through a new city without a guide dog, to detecting skin cancers using nothing but the camera in your phone.
However, in a business context, in the not too distant future AI will be used to:
- Read our emails and suggest responses based on years of previous replies
- Analyze the foot traffic of shoppers to suggest better store layout
- Analyze our finances to help us decide the best time to use offers and promotions
- Change the products and images on your website to match the age of the user
- And turn photos from your phone into promotional videos matched with original music
- What will AI do for me? In short, AI is going to play an important role in the advancement of every industry. The promise is that it will reduce costs, save time and help us all to optimize our business to increase our performance and profits.
- Do I need to be a software person to use AI? No, not at all. In the same way you don’t need to understand how a car is made to drive, the same is true for AI. All your need is an understanding of the core concepts at play and a curiosity to want to learn more. My advice: a little information can go a long way.
- Where do I learn more? While there are some great videos on YouTube and some short courses you can take, I suggest taking a look at a product that we developed called BRiN, a smart-phone app that is available free to all business owners.
Right now it uses computer logic (or simulated AI) to chat to you about your business. However, in early 2017 it will use more sophisticated AI to give you answers to thousands of business questions and it will even suggest to you what questions you should be asking next.
Then later you’ll be able to link BRiN through API to your CRM, Google Analytics, and even your cloud-based accounting software. Once in place, BRiN will be able to find and bring to your attention useful stats.
For example, BRiN will be able to inform and congratulate you because your website traffic was up 24% compared to last month. She’ll tell you how many leads you generated in the last 7 days and she’ll send you an alert when you have an unhealthy amount of overdue payments, so you can jump on the phone and start collecting.
The age of AI is well and truly here, and the business owners that embrace AI will ensure they stay at the forefront of their industries. So enjoy learning more and I’ll see you in the future!
About The Author: Dale Beaumont is the founder and CEO of BRiN, the world’s first artificially intelligent business advisor. Available as a smart-phone app the company’s goal is to provide personalized education and human-like support to millions of entrepreneurs and business owners, all at the same time. To find out more about BRiN visit: https://brin.ai. Follow.@BRiNdotai. [/author]