Most people have an abstract concept of artificial intelligence. When we hear the phrase “artificial intelligence” our minds automatically go to movies like Star Wars, Wall-e, The Matrix or Robocop; but the truth is that right now, whichever device you’re reading this on (smartphone, tablet, laptop, pc) is full of AI.
But, let’s start from the beginning. What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? As the name indicates, it is artificially created intelligence. This consists of algorithms programmed to imitate (as much as possible) the human learning process and develop new processes according to its learning. Any machine or app showing learning and/or problem solving traits is cataloged as Artificial Intelligence.
Now that we know that we’ve been living in our futuristic dreams for a while without noticing let’s take a dive and see where else we can find and use AI.
DAILY INTERACTIONS WITH AI
Actually the first contact with artificial intelligence goes way back, before whatsapp or any instant messaging app; it goes back to good old SMS. Remember that option the cellphones used to have: dictionary or predictive text? There you go, that was all AI. But those were the baby steps of AI.
We all know and use search engines, this was artificial intelligence’s first big step. They started by completing our key words or even suggesting some; nowadays they are even capable of offering different options and synonyms for our key words, taking into consideration even the context in which these words are used.
This principle applies to social media too. Have you ever noticed how all the ads we see in our feed are curiously related to things we’ve searched and are interested in? This is all AI doings to make your user experience better. This user experience consists in how you interact and experience a product, system or service, and takes into consideration how easy and how comfortable it is to do it. You might find something you like or something you’re looking for in those ads. So now we can get rid of that story about our cell phones listening in on our daily lives conversations. This is just artificial intelligence paying close attention to every word you write and learning about it.
In fact for those more adepts to AI nowadays there are even home appliances that make use of artificial intelligence. Some examples for this would be voice activated TVs and refrigerators, and these cleaning home gadgets that make a tour through your home and scan it to memorize the area and even send you the mapping of your home to your smartphone so you’ll know where the gadget is at every moment. I’m sure a housewife in the 60’ would have killed for one of those.
That’s for the personal, individual experiences, approaches and uses of AI. But what about a wider spectrum?
AI AND BUSINESS
This technology has been well received in different areas and has a lot of potential in all of them, but in business it is definitely the area where it has caused the biggest revolution. Let’s take a look at some of its most relevant applications.
AI AND MEDICINE
One of the first fields, if not the first, in making use of artificial intelligence is the medicine. From drug development to accurate diagnosis, these are just some of the uses of AI in the medicine field. Its influence is a lot deeper. The use of artificial intelligence has made even surgical procedures less invasive. Treatment protocol development and patient monitoring and care are also under the scope of medical uses of AI.
AI won’t be replacing doctors anytime soon. For now it is just a very useful and accurate tool to help doctors get faster and more accurate diagnosis and also to call to attention some irregularities in different exam results that might be inadvertently overlooked by the human eye.
On the other hand, in the development of drugs it has become an incredible tool. Saving time and money, it has become one of the most valuable assets in the industry. An analyzing process that used to take years of effort and investment could be done in half the time with the help of AI. And, even though AI is totally rocking it in the medicine field, this is just the beginning.
Besides the widespread use of artificial intelligence in medicine, there is another field where AI is totally striving: Business. Can you imagine all the uses of AI in business? Possibilities are endless.
AI AND E-COMMERCE
Let’s start with e-commerce, because this is one of the areas with the biggest growth during the last years, and due to its inseparable relationship with technology one of the most influenced by AI.
Did you think the “related products section” of the e-commerce pages appeared out of nowhere? Let me tell you that they’re the result of the analysis of the customer’s data, buying patterns and reviews. The algorithm of these sites analyzes every user’s purchase, every bundle of products purchased and starts to show related items to every customer searching for the same products. This aspect is also directly related to the user experience seeing that you might be just a click away from another item you’re interested in makes it a lot more comfortable than scanning the site for it.
VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS OR CHATBOTS
This can be considered a really thoughtful service for the customers, and to take it a step further now we also have chatbots or virtual assistants. Chatbots are not limited to e-commerce sites, you can also find them in medical sites, bank sites, school sites, etc. Chatbots are algorithms programmed to give quick answers to the users about determined questions. By removing the human element here, these sites are able to provide effective and quick responses to most of the users’ questions around the clock, and also collect data in the fastest way possible to update the questions-answers interface.
There is also the cyber security area. Banks and e-commerce sites must protect their customer’s data and for this AI is also useful. Taking into consideration the regular behavior of a customer, the usual transactions and the average amount of money and operations made, AI can easily detect when there’s an anomaly in any of those and alert the system about the suspicious behaviour.
Cyber security is not only limited to financial data, but also personal data. Have you seen the encryption message Whatsapp shows in the chat? This is one example of data protecting. Whatsapp assures its customers that their messages have an end-to-end encryption, but what does this mean? It means that only you and the person you’re communicating with can read and/or listen to what is sent, and nobody in between, including Whatsapp. Now you might be thinking “this sounds great, but what is encryption?”, well it is the process of converting data into a code. In this case your messages are transformed into a code that only decodes for the person you’re chatting with.
Encryption is just an example of cyber security. There are various options and tips to keep your data safe, such as firewalls, anti-malware protection and anti-virus.
All this is fantastic and with the increasingly important role of technology in our daily lives is nothing short of absolutely necessary. So far we’ve only seen a few examples of how useful it is as a customer or in a supplier-customer relationship, but what about the internal functioning of a company? Is AI useful for internal processes in a company? The answer is: Absolutely!
AI AND INTERNAL PROCESSES OF A COMPANY
From workplace communication to human resources management, AI is totally versatile for the inner processes of a company.
Do you remember when everyone used to send everything, from work documents to homework, by email? Well, I certainly do, and even though it hasn’t been that long, at this pace of technological development I do feel quite old. Now we have platforms specifically designed for this purpose and more. You can assign work to your employees in a dashboard, check on the time they’re taking to complete it, follow up on the advances and monitor the percentage of productivity all in real time, and all this from the comfort of your computer.
All these technological developments, including AI, have come to make our lives easier and help us improve the way we work.
AUTOMATION OF REPEATABLE PROCESSES
Automation of repeatable tasks will save a lot of time and help the employees to free up their schedule, reducing stress and consequently improving their job performance. Can you imagine only inputting the personal data and area assigned of a new hire and getting the adequate contract in a matter of seconds, with the certainty of no mistakes and backup data? That is just one of the possibilities AI offers to your internal management.
The effect of automating processes is already seen in companies using this method. With the pandemic situation the Internet has become the main channel and telecommuting has become the mandatory work modality. The necessary social distancing has put our creativity and adaptability to the test, and machines, AI and automation processes have seized this chance to shine.
By automating the supply chain companies have reduced human interaction and have taken a load off the shoulders of their employees. In this regard AI helps the company to keep a watchful eye on stock, production and orders. By learning from experiences and data AI helps the companies to maintain a smooth workflow and ensures a supply chain almost flawless. Boosting operational efficiency is just a general summary of all the benefits of automating processes in a company.
CYBER SECURITY FOR COMPANIES
Given the fact that automation of processes means that most of the company’s management information will be digitalized it is almost an understatement to say that for a company cyber security is just as important as for the customer. Databases and data banks are the strength source of any company and as such important assets they must be protected. For that artificial intelligence plays a major role, especially with the development of Big data and digital certificates.
And now you’ll be wondering “ok, but what is Big data? And what’s up with digital certificates?”. Well, to put it simple, Big data is an incredibly huge amount of data, often complex, that is near to impossible to process using traditional methods. As we’ve all heard before “information is power” and that’s the creed of business, and the most important part is what you do with it. Putting Big data to good use the company can reduce costs, reduce times of production and distribution, optimize product development and come up with new marketing strategies and better customer service; combine this with an amazing analisis and you’ll get an unbelievable business weapon
As for digital certificates, these are electronic documents to prove the identity of the owner and allow people and/or organizations to exchange information safely online with a system of encrypted data and passwords. You can think of it as a digital passport for the internet world.
In case of a website it is a credential that gives your site more credibility, resulting in people’s trust, more clients and eventually, success.
AI poses as an incredible ally for any business. From enhancing different processes such as production time, distribution, placing orders; going through organizing and analyzing information in a most effective and productive way, offering a better customer service, user experience, providing incredible support and solutions to complicated issues to even identifying people and organizations online to promote safe e-commerce and transactions.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS THE PRESENT AND WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE
To be able to adapt to the upcoming circumstances every company, organization and business, no matter how small or how big, will be in dire need of optimization and use of AI. That’s why the best option to have long-term success is for all of us to progressively integrate AI in our companies and business and make it a “natural” component from now on.
Invoices, payroll payment, placing orders, profile selection for recruitments. What would you say if I tell you we have the automated answer for all this and more? Well, brace yourself because we do! Don’t hesitate and contact us for more information about our services.
TAS Consulting your trusted partner in Spain.