Across the world of enterprise and industry, few trends have seen as much rising investment as artificial intelligence (AI). From robotic process automation (RPA) to self-driving cars to AI-powered data analytics platforms, AI can be found almost everywhere you turn.
Indeed, AI boasts use cases in practically every industry, whether it be healthcare, financial services, or business administration.
AI as an industry is growing rapidly. Gartner expects worldwide AI sales to reach $62 billion in 2022. And a report from Grand View Research valued the global AI market at $93.5 billion in 2021 with a projected compound annual growth rate of 38.1% from 2022 to 2030.
With such a broad number of use cases and widespread expansion, there are numerous reasons that a company would use AI for their specific organization. The benefits listed below will offer a solid general primer about the ways AI adoption can bring overall improvements to an organization.
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What is Artificial Intelligence?
In brief, artificial intelligence is, in the words of AI pioneer John McCarthy, “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.”
In a modern context, AI is typically a computer or computer program that can perform the sort of thinking that humans can. Depending on the AI, this can mean facial recognition, language processing, data analysis, or a number of other tasks and processes.
Like our own minds, artificial intelligence requires data and training in order to learn how to perform these tasks. This training can involve a variety of techniques, including deep learning and natural language processing.
AI’s effectiveness at performing these tasks varies based on:
- What task it’s trying to perform.
- The processing power it has to work with.
- The type of training (data input and algorithm coding) it has received.
For example, AI programs have historically been very good at generating calculations from inputted data. On the other hand, despite the growing use of facial recognition software in certain parts of the world, AI still struggles to identify individuals of diverse backgrounds.
Ultimately, AI, as it is now, is a tool like any other, and tools work best in specific circumstances. It’s important to keep in mind what tasks you’re looking to automate and what tasks any specific AI specializes in when determining how an AI can benefit your organization.
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Benefits of Artificial Intelligence
The most obvious benefit of using AI in any organization is that AI never needs time off. Aside from potential maintenance periods, AI needs no lunch breaks or vacations, and it is available for use whenever necessary.
If used in a customer service capacity, for example, AI can be perfect for businesses that operate internationally or across multiple time zones. Customers won’t have to wait until operating hours to potentially get the help they need.
For data analytics, this means a user can set up an AI model to run calculations overnight or after-hours without needing to physically be there to monitor its progress. This is a boon for companies that rely heavily on data analysis in their overall business strategy.
24/7 operation also benefits the healthcare industry. Doctors and nurses can utilize AI to run diagnostics, monitor metrics like patient glucose levels, and provide real-time data to both patient and doctor alike at any time of day. AI is also playing a role in the ongoing battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, providing around-the-clock predictions, processing, and contact tracing among other benefits.
As with 24/7 operation, AI’s human-less operation often means, when deployed right, it can save businesses on costs. As of right now, an AI doesn’t require a salary, and maintenance and training costs can be easily absorbed by a company under the right circumstances.
Some costs related to AI are going down as well. As an example, in the 2022 AI Index Report from Stanford University Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, the cost of training an image classification system has dropped from $1,000 in 2017 to $4.60 in 2021.
AI-powered endpoint detection and response (EDR) software can also save organizations money by spotlighting potential cybersecurity risk factors early, allowing companies to get ahead and handle the issue before it becomes too difficult to manage.
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Another potential benefit of AI is its ability to enhance organizational decision-making skills. The aforementioned EDR software is a good example of this, by helping companies make decisions that support the safety of their data.
One of AI’s strongest skills is that it can take in and analyze colossal datasets more quickly and more efficiently than the average human. By utilizing AI, businesses can better utilize more information than they would be able to otherwise. With so many industries adopting data-driven approaches, having access to AI can prove to be invaluable for a business looking to stay ahead of the pack.
With the right AI and the right training, companies can also find potential new revenue streams and avenues for growth and expansion they might have missed otherwise. Whether this is an investment firm finding a potential unicorn to invest in or a retailer launching a new product line to capitalize off of emergent trends, the insights provided by AI can help ensure a business is maintaining the steady growth they need to succeed.
Increase in Productivity
With AI and specifically with RPA, organizations can streamline and automate certain processes. This is especially true for repetitive, easy-to-understand tasks such as transaction execution, new-hire processing, and claims processing.
By automating these tasks, businesses are better able to leverage their human employees for the creativity, skill, and experience they were hired for in the first place. Less time performing repetitive tasks means more time doing the work that companies need to succeed, grow, and thrive.
In addition to automating repetitive tasks, AI can also be leveraged to enhance duties which still require a human touch. For example, it can be used to help shorten development cycles, reducing the time needed to take a product from conceptualization to commercialization. This enables firms to realize a faster return on investment (ROI) than they might see without using AI.
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Reduce Human Error
Human error is inevitable in any business, but under certain circumstances, AI can go a long way in reducing the likelihood of human error affecting an organization’s operation.
This can happen in a number of ways. For example, an AI can be used to check someone’s math to make sure their calculations on certain datasets are correct. For repetitive tasks like transaction processing, properly-trained AI can make sure the task is consistently completed with a lower margin of error than a human could manage.
For companies that operate off of employee schedules, AI can reduce human error by making sure enough employees are scheduled to meet the needs of each shift. Additionally, an AI deployment can track employee hours to make sure no one is working too much or taking too much time off for the needs of a business.
Future Forecast: the Benefits of Artificial Intelligence
As with any technology, there are a number of trends and advancements in the works that could potentially push AI even further than it has already gone.
On the theoretical side, researchers like Yann LeCun have put forward ideas on how to train AI to learn and think more like humans. Google subsidiary DeepMind AI has even developed PLATO, an AI which can learn physics concepts in roughly the same way an infant can.
Any advancements in the world of computing will also benefit the world of AI. For example, cloud computing has already greatly advanced AI in the 2010s, playing a large part in organizations’ abilities to adopt and utilize AI in their day-to-day operations.
Quantum computing could provide a similar leap in AI power and potential. Through quantum computing, AI could take in larger, more complex datasets than has been possible through other methods of computing.
Overall, however, the biggest trend with AI is its growing prominence in our day-to-day lives. From social media algorithms to customer support chatbots to virtual assistants like Alexa, we are seeing more and more organizations investing in AI and pushing it forward. As more time and money is put into the field, AI advancements could rapidly speed up.
With the future, very little is certain, but in the present, AI and its potential benefits are highly significant.
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