You don’t have to be a techie to recognize the growing influence of AI technology.
Or to get excited about the yet-to-be-discovered ways it will further revolutionize the way we live and work. AI is already mainstream; it’s integrated in our everyday lives (think Siri and Alexa) and has become a remarkable source of growth for business.
- 83 percent of respondents in a Deloitte survey have already achieved substantial (30 percent) or moderate (53 percent) economic benefits from deploying AI technologies.
- 84% of enterprises believe investing in AI will increase their competitive advantage. (Forbes)
- The AI market is projected to become a $190 billion industry by 2025. (Markets and Markets)
After attending an MIT course on “AI: Implications For Business Strategy”, I’ve become even more intent on sharing what I’ve learned about AI and how we can incorporate it into our marketing programs to drive better outcomes. But in order to determine how to best utilize AI, it helps to understand the basics about the technology.
Here’s a brief overview of AI.
Professor Thomas Malone, founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, succinctly defines AI as “machines acting in ways that seem intelligent.” AI technology directs machines to perform functions that normally require human intelligence. These intelligent machines are capable of understanding, analyzing and acting according to a specific situation, information or task.
With discussion of this “intelligence,” some fear AI will replace human jobs or make human interaction obsolete—but we’ve learned otherwise.
- The share of jobs requiring AI skills has grown 4.5 times since 2013. (Forbes)
- By 2020, AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs and create 2.3 million. (Gartner)
Based on specific applications, AI technology is divided into three main areas:
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
This area of AI deals with understanding, analyzing and processing natural language – voice as well as text. Virtual personal assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, use NLP technology to process voice commands. NLP has transformed the way we shop, travel, watch online streams, listen to music—the list goes on.
- 25% of digital workers will use Virtual Employee Assistants by 2021. (Gartner)
- 50 percent of all online searches will be voice searches by 2020. (ComScore)
This area of AI deals with programmable devices created for specific repeated tasks/functions. These devices come in various sizes and shapes. We see robots deployed in manufacturing environment to do specific functions and in warehouses to pick/pack products. Autonomous (self-driving) cars, when we get there, are also a type of robot.
Machine Learning (ML)
In the traditional programming world, we provide instructions to machines (computers) to perform certain functions. In ML field, machines learn from their own experience; they’re not completely dependent on instructions.
Machines gain experience through the training from test/real data—and then, they use this experience to analyze and predict data models. This area of AI is used in data prediction and other data modeling scenarios. Here’s an example: Netflix saved $1 billion this year as a result of its machine learning algorithm which recommends personalized TV shows and movies to subscribers (Business Insider).
AI technology has been in the works for long time, dating back to 1950 in Turing’s paper on “Computing Machinery and Intelligence“. Today, with the advent of faster and cheaper computing devices with larger storage capacities, and access to “Big Data”, we’ve created the perfect storm for AI systems to unleash their power to create better systems for us.
So, where will AI take us next?
The future is very bright for this technology. In my next blog, I’ll be addressing how AI is impacting the business world, especially marketing services industry. In the meantime, if you have questions about AI applications, please feel free to reach out me at firstname.lastname@example.org.