Why Startups Should Adopt Artificial Intelligence

Nov 01, 2016 posted by Abhishek Vinod Singh under SMAC, Artificial Intelligence

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What You Should Know About Artificial Intelligence

The advent of modern computing technologies has encouraged technological innovation; scientists are now trying to build a computer, integrated with artificial intelligence, such that it will be able to think like a human. Does that sound interesting? Just imagine how this innovation will transform our lives.

Artificial intelligence is the process of transforming human decision making into a mechanical process the help of networks and algorithms. Basically, we require a set of pre-defined algorithms to help us make business decisions.

Earlier, we referred to AI as a technology to produce sci-fi movies but now it has emerged as a really useful tool. Modern startup companies are incorporating this technology to bring AI to the public; even larger corporations are following suit. 

Following are few important things every enterprise must know about AI

  • The history of AI: The idea of AI existed since the Greek era, like Hephaestus’ golden robots.
  • Alan Turing’s influence:  in 1950, in a paper titled ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, Alan Turing experimented whether a machine could win ‘The Imitation Game’. In this test, the computer had to differentiate between the gender of two players; this paper is regarded as a great influencer of AI.
  • Role of Natural Language Processing: The machine must interpret human languages, such as English, French, Spanish, etc., and deliver relevant insights through data processing.
  • Autonomous vehicles: Transportation has witnessed major advancements with the development of smart cars i.e. vehicles that can pilot themselves. Examples such as Google driverless cars will not function without the best AI technology.
  • It is attracting investors: Startups are viewing AI as a top business investment. CB Insights has reported a considerable growth in the space of startup funding. Enterprises such as Sentient Technologies have raised more than $100 million through investor funding after few years in operation.
  • Big companies are betting on AI: Not only startups but even big tech companies are responsible for the surge in AI. IBM Watson performs every human activity; Google acquired the startup DeepMind for a whopping $400 million, while Facebook purchased Wit.ai recently. 

AI in business: Current state and future

Businesses are increasingly adopting AI for decision-making, according to Gartner analysts. They predict within next five years, 50% of the analytical decisions will be made through AI; many insights will be obtained through simple verbal interactions.

People are already aware about IBM’s Watson, Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft's Cortana.

We aren't building human brains or even trying to mimic them now," states Peter Sondergaard, Senior VP & Global Head of Research at Gartner. "We are building machines that learn from experience and produce outcomes their designers did not explicitly envision."

Applied AI and advanced machine learning enables intelligent implementations, including physical devices (robots, smart cars, consumer electronics etc.) along with apps and services (virtual personal assistants [VPAs], smart advisors). Such implementations will provide embedded intelligence for a wide range of connected devices and existing software and service solutions.

Jonas Nwuke, platform manager for IBM Watson, states “ AI is intended to help people make better decisions. The system learns at scale, gets better through experience, and interacts with humans in a more natural way.”

Below is a graph displaying conclusions from a research study conducted by The Wall Street Journal. It displays the trajectory of jobs, both manual and cognitive, over the last four decades. Manual labor has not increased much, even when tasks require adaptability. Non-routine cognitive work has increased gradually. However routine work, whether it requires your mind or your body, has declined.

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Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook believes bots will replace customer service reps and personal assistants in the near future. "One way that I think you're going to see bots work, between people who are actually driving the businesses directly will need to in some way train or answer questions for people, but we can build artificial intelligence that can learn from people how to automate a lot of that and make that experience a lot faster for people who want to interact with businesses and public figures.”

An article in the Guardian in the month of September 2016 stated Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft are joining forces to create a new AI partnership dedicated to advancing public understanding of the sector, as well as coming up with standards for future researchers to abide by.
Instead, it says it will “conduct research, recommend best practices, and publish research under an open license in areas such as ethics, fairness and inclusivity; transparency, privacy, and interoperability; collaboration between people and AI systems; and the trustworthiness, reliability and robustness of the technology
”.

Key Factors Driving AI Adoption

1. Capital: In 2015, about $2.4 billion was invested into AI space. Within the first half of 2016, about 00 AI startups raised an investment worth $1.5 billion.

2. Algorithms: Algorithms such as deep learning is a major driving force. Software such as RStudio and Sentient, are encouraging enterprises to adopt AI technology quickly.

3. Hardware: Whether it's Qualcomm's neural processing unit (NPU), IBM's TrueNorth neuromorphic computing platform, or Nvidia's deep learning chip, enterprises are developing more chips to enable quicker and powerful AI solutions.

4. Data: For real-time data integration with algorithms, enterprises are developing tools to work efficiently with the data and increasing the number of datasets available to the public.

5. Skillset: Humans are critical to the AI process. Hiring good quality talent with the necessary skillset is a key driver for enterprises adopting AI.

6. Applications: User experience is a key factor for developing AI applications. To deliver customer value, you must augment human skills and extend your capabilities. It will take time though.

7. Responsibility: Winning the customer’s trust is a key driver of AI adoption. There is need for AI to exhibit core human values. Thus, the winning formula for AI adoption is to deliver a human-plus-AI solution. 

AI's Impact on small businesses and startups

Small enterprises will begin to use the tried and tested platforms in innovative ways. While startups will gain a competitive edge in capturing the AI market, the larger enterprises will provide the infrastructure to startups for building innovative services. It is somewhat similar to the business model followed when the cable technology was introduced.

Startups leveraging AI technology for industry verticals, like agriculture, manufacturing or insurance are bound to be successful.

Startups can empower established insurance companies like State Farm, Allstate and Farmers with technology enabling them to become more proactive in policy planning. For instance, a new AI insurance underwriter will help to forecast natural disasters and accidents, and adjust premiums. 

The predictive decision-making capabilities are more than just a novel technology. You can manage food supply chains with the help of AI. Startups could develop end-to-end farming solutions with AI analytics for reducing food waste. It will have a huge impact in tackling global issues of hunger and famine.

Whether serving as a research assistant in a large corporation, acting as a voice-activated resource in difficult medical procedures, AI is fast becoming a reality. The AI revolution will benefit new players who learn quickly to use it to their advantage. AI will be a fundamental predictive enabler helping us solve large-scale problems, and startups are poised to gain a competitive edge.

How AI will transform your business

Currently, AI may not feature in your business model, but you may be using it unknowingly.

AirBnB app uses Aerosolve for its feature of dynamic pricing. Amazon's Machine Learning allows businesses to analyze massive datasets, reveal patterns, and train its algorithms. Google's Translate API uses machine learning to deliver accurate translations through assessment of how words relate to each other.

AI is the perfect technology for businesses that utilize data analytics. With enterprises collecting massive information through social media, making sense of this information and finding relevant business value is what AI does perfectly. Salesforce predicts about 60% of sales teams will increase the use of sales analytics in 2016.
 

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Customer service is another key function that is due for an AI makeover;  the monotonous tasks can be handled well by AI. It is entirely a different issue whether your customers will speak happily to an IVR or a machine.

Accounting services can be optimized in the areas of cash movement to reduce tax and financing costs, or proactively predict whether a current account is about to overdraft next week.

Similarly, SMEs can adopt third-party services specializing in analyzing customer sentiment on social media, or learning customer preferences and improve product recommendations, or target ads to maximize receptive audience.

These services are young - we can expect even better customer experience and operations from smart technology in the next five years.

How AI Will Change Our Future?

  • AI will create more free time for general public.
  • It will encourage people to do things in a new way.
  • It will provide long-term and comprehensive business solutions.
  • Businesses will be able to excel to levels that would not have been possible without AI.
  • AI tools will allow entrepreneurs to transform creativity into action.
  • It will allow end users and  enterprises to save money
  • AI apps will help users arrive at informed decisions.  

Startups react to AI with a mix of hope and fear

Regardless of which industry you operate, be careful that AI will affect your world in some way. Look into what is present now and how you can utilize it to gain a competitive edge.

The possibilities with AI are endless; enterprises will become efficient, intelligent and cost-effective.   

Undoubtedly, the digital revolution and AI will advance to a point where it will offer real-world benefits to every business- large and small.

Mark Zuckerberg says, "We're working on AI because we think more intelligent services will be much more useful for you to use."

AI is relevant because of its immense power to deliver useful solutions; its other building blocks including cloud computing and superfast connectivity. But, if you want to take advantage of this novel technology you will need a reliable, secure, and continuously evolving infrastructure.

Still finding it tough to understand how AI will benefit your business? Talk to our experts now.

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