In just the first quarter of 2017, major companies like Google and Apple made 34 artificial intelligence acquisitions.
A year later, it was more than clear that AI was more than just a passing fad or subject for science fiction movies. People could already see it growing to a legitimate technology that had real potential to change the world in many ways. Fast-forward to 2022, and we can see many of the ways AI is working to make people’s lives better and improving processes for businesses.
Already, chatbot platforms have changed how customers communicate with businesses, and AI surgical tools have made operating rooms more efficient and accurate. AI’s rise can be credited to numerous factors, including widespread access to cloud computing, expanded data storage, and (perhaps most importantly), innovations in machine learning.
Put simply, machine learning is a branch of computer science focused on developing AI that can learn on its own without a programmer’s help. Sophisticated machine learning allows AI to constantly improve. As it learns more, it becomes more useful to everyone.
That means AI is poised to reinvent business for everyone from customers to CEOs.
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Netflix uses machine learning to better understand what types of original content the streaming service should develop. Netflix already relies on user data to provide recommendations. Machine learning AI will allow the company to gain even greater insights into customer preferences. The more Netflix learns about what types of content customers are interested in, the easier it will be to make smart decisions about which projects to develop.
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Advances in Natural Language Processing and Generation have also facilitated AI’s growth. Although speaking with Alexa or Siri doesn’t yet feel like interacting with a real person, the experience is much more convincing than it was just a few years ago. While not perfect, it is also more reliable at understanding human language and returning a suitable response.
This means businesses in virtually all industries may benefit from improved AI customer support solutions. It’s costly to maintain a staff of customer support representatives. On top of that, when people call, there is often a lengthy wait time before a representative is available.
It may not be long before AI bots take the place of customer service personnel. Chatbots have already taken on some customer support duties that would have traditionally been performed by humans. As the capabilities grow, AI bots will do more of this work. This will help companies save money, while making the overall experience much more efficient and pleasant for customers.
While some might argue that chatbots will further remove us from regular human interaction, the kinds of interactions they’re set to replace were always fairly limited and artificial to begin with. Few people actually make deep human connections during customer service calls.
One report shows that more than two thirds of consumers from around the world have interacted with a chatbot for support. In the same survey, about 40% of customers said they do not care if they get support from a chatbot or a human. The more people interact with these systems, the more it will become an expected part of the experience.
Many businesses are also using AI with their social media marketing tools. There is no denying that social media is becoming a vital part of the marketing landscape for many businesses. Companies of all sizes rely on social media to reach and engage with customers.
As important as social media is, the work can be time-consuming. With modern AI-powered tools, some work can be streamlined. AI tools can monitor campaigns and assist with data analysis. They are trained by annotation tools, like image annotation to recognize visual data and act accordingly. They also automate some parts of engagement. Businesses can also use chatbots on social media to fill in for human representatives.
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One exciting use for AI is in analytics. Businesses can now use a variety of AI-powered analytics tools that take much of the work out of gaining insights from data. The best part about many of these tools is that they are designed to work for the average user and require little to know analytics training.
Business intelligence tools can streamline and automate the work that goes into processing data for use with analytics systems. Many of them can even use artificial intelligence to deliver relevant insights. They can even learn from the user’s actions to help individuals find the most relevant information in datasets. Some of these systems even come with features for predictive and prescriptive analytics.
What can make these AI analytics tools even more powerful is their use of natural language processing. With NLP, these tools allow users to query data in natural language. Some of these tools can use NLP to generate reports in human language. This can save businesses time and money, while also making analytics much more accessible for the average user.
Innovations like Alexa will also make people more productive in general. Slowly, but surely, we’re spending less time interfacing with our devices via the screen. Instead of typing on our phones to send messages, browse the internet, or open apps, we’ll soon be asking an AI helper to trigger key functions.
This means that busy workers who may spend lots of time on the road can still get work done, even while driving. It’s easy to send emails or check data when doing so simply involves asking an AI for assistance.
Machine learning can also make a variety of processes simpler for employees. As an example, AI tools can assist the sales department with lead nurturing. Instead of requiring humans to do the work most of the way, an algorithm could analyze the behavior of the lead to deliver the right content at the right time. It could also choose to engage the lead with timely emails. Some of these systems can even plan for calls with human associates when necessary. All of this can go on in the background while employees focus on the work that requires human intelligence.
As with any technological revolution, it’s not possible to completely predict the impact that AI will have on business. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. However, one thing is clear: machine learning and AI are going to transform industries in ways that will be mutually beneficial for everyone involved.