HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey. C3PO in Star Wars. The Borg in Star Trek. Agent Smith in The Matrix. Artificial intelligence characters have either helped or tried to rule humans in the movies for years.
We are living in a time when AI is now very real and increasingly a part of our daily lives — so much for science fiction. Robots aren’t exactly taking over, but search engine algorithms and digital assistants like Alexa and Siri are pervasive in our daily lives.
First, what is artificial intelligence, or AI? And how will it transform the business landscape? Artificial intelligence’s most basic definition is: technology that thinks and learns like a human being.
How artificial intelligence is changing business — 7 areas of impact
There are seven major areas where AI is already making a big impact on business: research and analytics, marketing, customer service, security, hiring, financial trading, and operations, here’s a high-level overview of each…
Research and analytics
Most of us can’t afford a full-time data scientist. But according to Jurgen Himmelman of The Global Work & Travel Co., as quoted by Scott Gerber for TNW (The Next Web), “with AI you can have access to powerful insights on your consumer and marketing data for a fraction of the cost involved… You don’t have to be skilled in analytics to find the information you need.”
Demand for highly personalized, relevant buying experiences has increased, and companies that don’t keep pace with consumers’ expectations will fall short. Here are just a few of the ways artificial intelligence is (or soon will) make an impact on digital marketing:
- Chatbots: A chatbot is a computer program that automates certain tasks, often “chatting” with a user in a conversational manner. This frees up businesses to focus on a better overall experience on their websites. Think of the times when you’ve chatted with a customer service rep on a website. There’s a good chance you were communicating with a bot, not a human being.
- Content: Rather than creating one-size-fits-all content, marketers will use AI to create highly-tailored messaging. For example, solutions like Optimizely allow marketers to create different versions of the same website, and then change the content on demand, based on their source (AdWords campaign, Google search, or geographic area).
- Predictive lead scoring: Email marketing, social media marketing and SEO will all benefit from the intelligent analysis that would not be possible without the power of artificial intelligence. For example, predictive lead scoring will use data that includes a mix of demographic and behavioral data to predict how likely a lead will be to turn into a sale. This will allow marketers to focus their efforts on their most qualified prospects.
Customer relations and customer service
CRM designers are seeing AI as key to meeting soaring consumer expectations for fast, frictionless interactions that anticipate their preferences and needs. “The focus will be on making machine learning intense so that it appears more human for better engagement and successful deals,” says Liam Martin in Gerber’s article.
Compromise of personal privacy is scary. The upside of software that collects data on individual human characteristics is that it can reliably identify when someone is not you, thus protecting your identity. Plus, cybersecurity threats change so fast that it’s hard for humans to stay ahead of them. “Techniques like generative adversarial networks can learn from what’s happening and react to attacks in real time,” writes Tom Merritt for Tech Republic.
Algorithms are already being used to filter resumes and job applications before employers decide who to interview. Currently, too often well-qualified applicants are filtered out because they fell short on certain keywords in their resumes. Thankfully, artificial intelligence makes finding the right candidate a more intelligent, data-driven process, writes Tania Rahman for IBM.
Securities trading decisions can be aided by AI that identifies patterns and creates strategies accordingly. A few AI-based hedge funds already exist, according to Gerber’s article. Rahman reports that artificial intelligence can also identify rogue traders seeking to make fraudulent transactions and sound the alert.
Self-driving vehicles rely on AI for object detection, identification, and avoidance, says Rahman. This application isn’t limited to the road. It’s already in use with forklifts and drones in warehouse management. She says converting paperwork to digital data without being tied to scanning will also be possible through artificial intelligence. After an application captures data, it will analyze it in order to trigger appropriate workflow steps.