Artificial Intelligence in Business
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most frequently mentioned technological trends that are to revolutionize modern business. Gartner mentions AI in the absolute forefront of global directions in technological development. According to analysts from the American institute until 2020, AI elements will be found in almost every new software, and 85% of interaction between consumers and customer service is to take place using artificial intelligence. IDC estimates that the global market for AI and cognitive systems will be worth $ 57.6 billion in 2021. Tractica experts are going further, stating that the global market for services related to the use of artificial intelligence will grow from 10.1 billion dollars in 2017 to 188.3 billion dollars by 2025.
We are witnessing a new revolution that is changing present economy. Industry 4.0 will have a great impact on the economic development in the coming years, and artificial intelligence is an important element of this puzzle. Are companies ready for this implementation? What do you need to gain business value with AI? How Artificial Intelligence in Business is used?
AI – transforming data into intelligence
Through the third industrial revolution, we live in an information age, where a huge amount of data is daily generated. It is estimated that 90% of the currently available digital data has been created in the last 2 years.So how many data have we created by far? – the world’s “counter” at the end of 2016 showed 16ZB (zettabytes).
Because of this fast data creation the basic question appeared. “What will we do with this amount of information?”. Thanks to technological progress the answer has been found quickly. The increase in the amount of data combined with the decrease in the cost of storage and processing has become a cornerstone of the artificial intelligence development. Today AI is largely used in business in the form of machine learning algorithms that allow these unstructured data to be processed, analyzed and consequently converted into information and knowledge. Although the history of machine learning dates back to the 1950s, it is now gaining in importance and is used in many industries. IDC predicts that in 2020, companies expenses related to the implementation of machine learning will amount to as much as 47 billion dollars. The ability to analyze and, as a consequence, draw conclusions from the collected data is today one of the greatest opportunities for companies to gain a competitive advantage.
AI Investments in Poland, compared to global leaders in this field, ie USA and China, are currently small, but our country has huge potential. We have well-qualified programmers who are appreciated in the world. If there are funds for appropriate investments, we have a chance as a country to gain a lot – says Jędrzej Fulara, CTO at Sparkbit.
How does artificial intelligence help in business? – examples of applications
Artificial intelligence changes the way companies innovate and communicate their products and services. We already see many implementations of AI based on machine learning algorithms or one of the machine learning subcategories – deep learning (used for tasks such as speech recognition, image identification or forecasting). Automotive, medicine, HR, IT, finance, marketing, e-commerce, retail, trade – almost in every industry AI can help you grow your business. Machine learning has transformed analytics, enabling to make more accurate business decisions based on data. Giants like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon invest enormous resources in research and development related to the use of AI. However, it is worth realizing that the possibilities offered by AI are not reserved only for the largest ones. Algorithms of machine learning in many areas of business are already successfully used. Having the right infrastructure and a team of experts who can implement such an innovation, we can successfully use the potential of AI in our company. There are more and more startups which are trying to get a piece of the AI cake for themselves. The undoubted success here was IVONA a Polish project, which is the text-to-speech technology that Amazon bought in 2013. Sparkbit can also be an example of how to smoothly get on the road from digital transformation to revolution 4.0. To eliminate paper documentation and streamline the entire recruitment process in our company, we have created the Toucan application that allows, among others, create digital profiles of candidates and automatically attach data and tasks collected during the interview in the form of e-notes using an e-paper tablet. We are currently working on additional functionality based on machine learning algorithms, which will allow handwritten notes to be read as machine-encoded text and stored in the system, making them searchable for recruiters.
Today Artificial Intelligence in the form of machine learning algorithms has a significant impact on business. Currently, it is widely used in marketing, call centers, chatbots, positioning, targeting, translation of texts (Microsoft has recently announced that its AI-based Chinese – English translator has reached the level of professional human translator), planning advertising campaigns, cargo control in logistic centers, finance and creditworthiness assessment, risk management and fraud prevention, in the fashion industry in the form of virtual stylists and in many other places.
Machine learning significantly affects our lives and sometimes we do not even realize it. In the ARM Northstar study “AI today, AI tomorrow” more than half of the consumers surveyed indicated that they were not aware that artificial intelligence solutions are used in Facebook (53%), Netflix (54%) or Spotify (58%).
AI helps you create personalized recommendation systems for content, videos and music, tailored to your preferences. Machine learning is used for speech recognition (Google Now and Siri from Apple, Xbox, Skype) or image. Where else? In Anti-spam filters, advertisements optimization, auto text correction, even in navigation systems (GPS), that allows not only to find the optimal route but also to indicate potentially interesting places near our localization.
In e-marketing and e-commerce, artificial intelligence profiles clients based on their behavior patterns, which result in precisely targeted advertisement and product suggestions. Machine learning is also used to monitor conversations about products and services in social media, to analyze consumer moods and to create new offers tailored to ours needs.
In trade and logistics, it helps to improve procurement systems and eliminate potential problems in advance. How? For example, by predicting a greater demand for a given product ( based on the collected data such as website entries, search history) Thanks to this, the company can increase production earlier, minimize the risk and plan how many trucks will be needed to transport new products. In the long run this can ensure effective fulfillment of emerging customer expectations. Big data and machine learning algorithms let us better understand customer preferences and needs, making the purchase process simple and faster.
In the automotive industry, the example of using the capabilities of AI are driver assistants, autonomous driving systems or streamlining production processes in factories.
Benefits vs challenges
Making work easier, saving time, optimizing production processes, automating operational activities, diagnosing diseases more effectively, better adjusting products and services to customer needs, accurate forecasting of supply and demand, gaining a unique market advantage – benefits of using AI are almost unlimited. Despite growing popularity of this technology, many enterprises still do not know how to properly use its potential. Why? SAS indicates 5 mistakes that companies make when implementing applications that use machine learning technologies. Lack of implementation strategy, lack of relevant data, lack of adequate infrastructure, problems with the interpretation of methodological models of machine learning, and, above all, planning without expert support. This last factor seems to be the most important. Experts can not only identify the challenges and benefits, but also assess the existing information system and data flow, distinguish areas that are ready for automation, from those in which further investments will be necessary. A ML expert can also outline the appropriate strategy and help in its implementation.
The use of AI requires combining several elements together: we need to have a large amount of data, knowledge about their interrelationships, and the ability to process huge collections of changing information. You can not forget about the most important factor – human. Although computers use machine learning algorithms to learn from examples and dynamically program themselves, a human is the author of these algorithms. It is a person who takes key business decisions, adapts algorithms to apply them in specific situations. People are the beneficiaries of these systems. That is why we have to invest the most in people, to create better AI systems that improve our lives and work. The argument that we lose employment through artificial intelligence is not true. AI will simply change the market, creating completely new professions and demand for new competencies. Gartner predicts that in 2020, 2.3 million jobs will be generated by implementing AI system in companies, while only 1.8 million will be liquidated – says Jędrzej Fulara from Sparkbit.
Artificial intelligence, in order to meet the hopes placed in it, must bring solutions that significantly reduce costs, increase revenues and allow effective use of resources. AI also requires considerable financial investments. However, the example of companies that decided to put their money into AI system shows that it is worth it. Better efficiency combined with a deeper understanding of customers and recipients is revolutionizing the way businesses operate and, in the long run, translates positively into a return on investment in AI. For those who stay behind it can mean not only significant losses, but also disappearing from the market over time. Machine learning today has a lot of potential, which, more and more boldly, breaks into the life of the average Smith. Today, digital transformation is taking a step forward in the direction of the ever-increasing presence of artificial intelligence and its application in industry 4.0. The fourth industrial revolution has become a fact, and although we are at the beginning of this path, we are already experiencing the first benefits of using its possibilities.