It sounds like it’s straight out of the movie theatre… machines with cognitive functioning that can perform problem solving tasks, understand their environment, and make decisions based on masses of information. Artificial intelligence (AI) is real, though – and the emerging business applications are worth getting excited about.
At Computer Merchants, we’ve been exploring AI capabilities that help us to improve our services. In particular, we’ve introduced integration with our email system, so that we can measure customer satisfaction levels autonomously. It is always good to know what we’re doing right – but sometimes even more helpful to pinpoint exactly where we can improve. In case you were wondering, we also have humans who read and action all those emails, however it would simply be impractical to have a single person review the masses to seek trends. That’s where AI comes in.
This is a relatively simple AI integration, however the positive ramifications for us are considerable. The intelligence we gather is only useful if we act on it, of course, but AI integration gives us the opportunity to make improvements that make our customers happy. From tweaks in our processes to adding or adjusting services, we act on insights that we wouldn’t have without AI.
So where else might AI fit in your business? Like in our email integration, anywhere you employ large amounts of data, or need round-the-clock monitoring, is worth a fresh look. Much depends on what you need to achieve. In agriculture or mining, for example, use of drones may be used to gather intelligence about large geographic areas, while consumer businesses may use online assistants (similar to Siri) for simpler customer service tasks.
In healthcare, AI applications are already helping to improve accuracy within a number of diagnoses. In addition, Microsoft is currently working alongside health organisations to determine the optimum combination of treatments for individual cancer patients. Typically, doctors are faced with more than 800 medications to choose from, so an understanding gained by analysing past results from millions of patients helps to narrow down the best outcome.
Away from such life-or-death scenarios, an AI revolution is quietly stealing a march in many industries. Most integrations of AI fly beneath the radar. While driverless cars and cancer breakthroughs make news, a financial services organisation that can better predict what product a customer is likely to need next, or a manufacturer that reduces time to complete an order, are often enjoying an advantage that leaves their competitors bewildered.
AI is a technology that is worth investigating as you seek efficiency, customer satisfaction, or an answer to arising business challenges. Organisations are already using AI to help their employees to work smarter, to understand their business environment and to predict customer needs. If AI is futuristic technology, then the future is here.
Want to learn more about real-world possibilities of AI? We’re always happy to share our own experiences, and to help investigate where AI can help you to get ahead. Get in touch to find out more.