The New Art of War -Artificial Intelligence

Are You Going to Fight Tomorrow’s Battles With Yesterday’s Tools?

AI is a computer program with cognitive capabilities which enable it to work autonomously, without pre-encoded commands; AI machines think and use resources to achieve the desired end.

Thinking and analysing is one thing, but when in 2011, Watson, a cognitive computing engine, defeated top players of the show “Jeopardy”, a creative game involving the use of language, it opened up a whole new world in which AI could be applied. Can a modern firm afford to ignore AI’s leverage?

A deeper plunge into the world of AI

The areas which are being transformed by AI can be divided under three rubrics, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning & Machine Perception.

Natural Language Processing

Chatbots, personal/ legal/ virtual assistants are changing the way we communicate. According to a survey by Oracle, 80% of marketers have planned the use of chatbots in one form or the other to increase revenue by staying connected with their customers. BFSI sector already relies heavily on them to sort out customer queries.

Irrespective of the industry a firm is in, its success depends on its ability to stay in touch with its customers & chatbots present the most efficient solution. According to a study by Forbes, the market of chatbots will reach USD 1.25 bn by 2025, an impressive number for a budding technology and highlights AI’s rapid ascent. Industries requiring constant customer interaction such as tourism, healthcare, education, etc. must incorporate chatbots in the near future, as there is none without them.

Machine learning

ML is an application of AI which enables the system to learn and improve from experience without being programmed for it. When put to use, ML reduces the human effort and cost to a fraction. Prominent ML applications are:

Medical Diagnostics: Programs such as Enlitic increase substantially a physicians diagnostic capabilities by analysing the patient’s medical past.

Automotive: Data generated from cars is used in myriad ways such as in prediction of part life, preventive maintenance, as well as decisions involved in Autonomous vehicles.

Agriculture: Even this sector is not left untouched firms like John Deere have brought ML to agriculture by deploying it in robots who diagnose (in real-time) the disease afflicting crops or trees. GPS enabled accurate ploughing, sowing, irrigation etc. is transforming agriculture.

AI Ensuring Peace: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others, use deep ML algorithms and neural networks to filter out content that can cause problems like communal riots, civil war etc. They also use it to better their user experience and raise advertisement revenue.

The other prominent applications are Fraud detection, Cyber Security, Procurement Optimization, Bioinformatics and Emotional Detection. AI is also playing a crucial role in software testing.

Machine Perception

For machines to become more intelligent and capable of doing vasts number of tasks, their data source must be varied as well as visual.

AI finds application in Medical Imaging to identify diseases, in Manufacturing to apply robots safely in fabrication, pick and place as well as inspection applications.

AI is changing hospitality too. Pepper, the humanoid robot of Softbank can discern facial expressions to identify emotions; it also understands languages, remembers faces and preferences. It is used to greet people in hotels, banks and offices, expect more of them in the future.

Amazon, Dominos, etc. are using computer vision to operate drones for delivery. AI is not only shaping the digital world, but it is also transforming the physical as well.

AI Advantages For Small Businesses

AI should sound like a death knell for those firms who have no intention of incorporating AI into their business any time soon. The list of wonders AI can do to even a small business, is long; to mention a few:

  • Marketing Edge: AI-enabled CRM tools help firms get sales pertinent data, helps better analyze customer feedback and fine-tune sales strategy in time, a stitch in time saves nine.
  • Continuous Customer Engagement: Automated chatbots or digital assistants ensure that a firm is connected with its customers 24*7, and solve their queries effectively. This boosts customer engagement and helps business.
  • Human Resource Leverage: AI-enabled recruitment tools expedite the entire process while concurrently increasing the probability of getting the right candidate.
  • The Cost Advantage: From chatbots, CRM tools, to recruitment assisting software, AI can save cost for the firm in a big way. There is no need to train or recruit staff for interaction with customers in different time zones. The faster recruitment process saves time, and time is money. In every AI application, implicit is the operational and labour cost advantages.

Quantification of the right time to switch and deploy AI can be debatable, but early movers do have the advantage. 

Embrace the Change

The times are changing, and with it, the way business battles are fought. Those who stick to the old technology will perish soon, and those who switch to the aegis of Big Data & AI will have a higher chance of survival. Thus it is vital, even for small & medium enterprises, to early adopt to AI.

But the transition to AI is not a day’s jump. Before firms think about using AI, they must first upgrade their digital infrastructure. “Digitalisation” is the mantra, and firms must digitalise most of their business. A well-endowed website with creative UI/UX and a corresponding, well-performing app can give companies a big boost. This has been Techment’s experience as well as advice; its customers have witnessed remarkable growth with its well-crafted software applications.

Firms have to be prepared to embrace the new AI-enabled world and the most crucial step in its preparation is getting the present software infrastructure in good shape.

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