Artificial intelligence (AI) is an emerging technology that has long been viewed as an evil entity, dead set on destroying humanity. But artificial intelligence in business can streamline your processes and take your organization to the next level. So what exactly is AI?
AI is “an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.”
Some of the activities computers with artificial intelligence are designed to do include speech recognition, learning, planning, data analytics, and problem-solving. In other words, traits that you would usually associate with humans and not computers.
If we’re going to have a better understanding of how to use AI in the workplace, we must first have a better understanding of how it works.
Machine learning is used in AI to process large amounts of data as quickly as possible. Learning algorithms allow the machine to imitate how a human improves at recognizing data over time. The more data is processed, the more artificial intelligence appears to learn.
This has huge advantages in business. Rather than employing people to analyze huge amounts of data, AI will do it for you and pick up on problems and patterns faster.
Deep learning is what you get when you combine a web of connected artificial intelligence nodes to create neural networks. These can work together to identify and analyze several different stimuli simultaneously.
If machine learning can be used for processing data, deep learning can be used for more advanced tasks, such as self-driving cars.
Examples of artificial intelligence
You might not realize it, but AI systems are becoming increasingly prevalent in our daily lives.
Sure there are the big, sci-fi-like uses, such as self-driving cars and cybersecurity. But they’re also becoming more common in slightly less exciting tasks, such as customer service in the form of chatbots, or fraud detection.
Because artificial intelligence is, well, intelligent, it’s pretty good at doing a wide range of tasks. So it’s no surprise to see it used more in business applications.
A McKinsey study found that 56% of businesses implement AI in at least one area of their business.
Okay, so it’s not evil, and many organizations are integrating it into their processes. So what are the other applications of artificial intelligence in business?
Below are seven uses that will really help take your business operations up a notch.
1. Optimize customer support with a chatbot
Did you know that the chatbot market is estimated to reach $3.99 billion by 2030? Amazon, you know, the largest e-commerce business in the world? They use chatbots. And if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you.
Chatbots use natural language processing to replicate a real conversation with a human through websites and apps. Chatbots can understand and react to human input through speech or writing.
They help resolve customer issues quicker, meaning you can deliver a greater customer experience. And because they are machines, they can talk to your customers at any time, ending the era of being ‘on hold’ forever.
These bots are brilliant data collection agents for your customer support team. They can act as virtual helpers, finding customer data for your support reps so they have a complete history of each account.
Let’s say you want to turn cold leads into hot leads. By deploying chatbots in your lead funnels, whenever a visitor interacts with your website, the chatbot can ask them yes/no questions to determine why they are visiting your site.
Based on their answers, you can consider how to attract them, like sending different promo codes or sending them to a particular landing page.
With so much flexibility, it comes as no surprise that chatbots are becoming so popular. 67% of consumers across the globe have interacted with a chatbot in the last year.
When used well, chatbots can not only help you lower costs and improve profits, but they can also offer an improved customer experience and speed up business processes.
Voicebots and voice communication
Chatbots aren’t just for text conversations. They’re also increasingly used for telephone calls.
In the past, pre-recorded messages would play, and you would have to press a key to get to the right department. With the advent of smartphones and the demise of the physical keypad, AI voicebots can ask you what you want and understand your spoken response. Most of the time, anyway.
But the more they interact with humans, the more data they collect, and the better they get. They’re already at the point where they can interpret the caller’s mood and assess the situation’s seriousness.
2. Image, facial, and object recognition
Artificial intelligence has also revamped optical character recognition technology to the point that it can perform many administrative operations.
Thanks to machine learning, AI technology is now advanced enough to recognize faces and items, which can have immense consequences for many business applications. Facial recognition can distinguish individuals for security purposes, while object detection can be employed to differentiate and analyze photos.
This technology treats people’s faces like cookies, helping to provide targeted services according to the customer’s preferences. Some organizations are experimenting with facial recognition to diagnose the disposition of their customers and, in turn, give them appropriate product recommendations.
All in all, the future of facial recognition looks very bright. It has been estimated that by 2026, the global market for face identification will reach USD 10.11 billion. It is expected that the use of this technology in online marketing will make up a huge portion of this figure.
3. Smarter IoT products
Artificial intelligence has great promise in creating smarter IoT (internet of things) products. Today, the business world is changing with the development of IoT in various ways.
If you’re wondering just what the heck IoT products are, they’re products and appliances that are connected to the internet. This includes home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, but it can also include appliances such as washing machines and fridges. But why does your washing machine need to be connected to the internet?
IoT has completely changed data handling. In addition to offering greater access to consumer data, these devices track and record how users interact with them, which makes them smarter. And as the research in IoT technology gains more ground with each passing day, businesses are able to interpret the data more efficiently.
With better awareness of the market, the productivity of any business can be improved, as well as the product. IoT devices can enhance efficiency and collect data on how customers use the product. This enables businesses to change their products to benefit their customers. It also means they have a lot of data to create and improve future products and services.
4. Delivering personalized experiences
At the top of AI’s core functions is its ability to assess huge amounts of data. AI algorithms use millions of data points, such as past exchanges and purchase history, to create distinctive consumer identities.
These make aligning customers to their preferred services or products very straightforward, greatly improving the customer’s experience and engagement.
One prime example of this is Netflix’s suggestion engine. Data shows that an average viewer takes up to 90 seconds to choose what they would like to watch before giving up. But Netflix’s AI-enabled suggestion engine saves itself up to $1 billion every year with customized recommendations that have improved customer retention.
In healthcare, AI doesn’t only analyze huge amounts of data, it can also create model care plans for patients moving forward. It can send personalized medication reminders and seasonal flu alerts. This process of automation saves a huge amount of time for healthcare employees.
5. Digital marketing powered by artificial intelligence
AI’s predicted impact on digital marketing is huge. People are most excited about AI’s potential impact on marketing and lead nurturing. Soon, AI will become a more advanced and powerful tool for social media marketing.
The biggest way in which artificial intelligence in business will influence marketing efforts is by nurturing leads. How? Through customized, real-time content targeting. With the use of behavioral targeting practices, AI will be able to track and begin the process of nurturing and boosting sales.
You’ve probably already got a good idea of what targeted marketing is. If you don’t, it’s the process of putting your marketing materials in front of the people most likely to engage with them.
Amazon and its recommended products are a good example of targeted marketing in action. Using big data, which holds your multiple purchases and visits to the online store, Amazon can supply you with a list of products it thinks you might be interested in.
It’s not just restricted to websites and product recommendations. If you buy your washing detergent from Amazon, their AI will learn how often you buy a new bottle. Once it’s got enough data, it will be able to use predictive analytics to remind you when it thinks you’re running low.
This automation is helpful for the customers and ensures they want to return. A 2021 study by Accenture found that 72% of people expect companies to understand how their needs and objectives change.
Incorporating AI into this means they become more effective as they are given more data and learn more about each customer.
Don’t worry, AI isn’t yet putting content writers and social media managers out of work, but it is helping them a great deal.
Historically, content marketers have had to pour over large amounts of analytics data to determine what content works best and how their audience engages with it. But the arrival of AI means they no longer have to spend hours collecting and interpreting that data.
Content marketers can use these tools to help optimize headlines, improve email open rates, and create content they know their audience will engage with.
If you thought the humble influencer was out of the reach of AI, think again. Regardless of your opinion, they’re a large part of digital marketing. Following the rise of these are micro-influencers.
As the name suggests, they have smaller follower numbers. But their audience tends to be much more engaged and interested in their opinion on a specific subject matter.
AI can help by identifying micro-influencers in your segment that will benefit your brand more than much larger influencers. It’s the modern-day equivalent of paying for an ad in a small specialist magazine instead of a national newspaper.
6. Modernize the recruitment process
Artificial intelligence in business can have a big impact in the payroll and human resources sector. These are very important departments of any business, but they’re often neglected by smaller organizations that can’t afford a full-time HR department. Of all the uses for artificial intelligence in 2022, HR is the one area where the application of AI can result in huge time-saving benefits.
It can do scores of things like provide decision-makers with more information, automate lower-level operations, and supervise how candidates employ their skills.
Here are four ways in which artificial intelligence in business can revolutionize the recruitment process:
Saves recruiters time
52% of talent acquisition leaders say the hardest part of recruitment is screening candidates from a large pool of applicants.
Looking through resumes is one of the most time-consuming parts of the recruitment workflow. With the use of AI, hiring departments no longer need to spend hours reading applications. Instead, AI can do the screening for them.
Improve the quality of hire
All that time saved doesn’t count for anything if your AI program fails in decision-making and picking the right person for the job. Thankfully, artificial intelligence can match the skills and knowledge of candidates with what the job requires. Real-world results are already showing improved revenue per employee by 4% and a turnover decrease of 35%.
AI can get rid of unconscious or conscious bias completely. It can be programmed to completely ignore information, such as a candidate’s age, gender, or race. This allows organizations to employ only the best candidates for a particular job based on their real potential.
But be careful. Because humans program AI, some unconscious biases may unintentionally slip through the net. If you plan to use AI to remove any bias, ensure the program is constantly monitored for any patterns.
7. Faster, more accurate forecasting
This is the process of making predictions based on past and present information. AI can help gather data from IoT products or customers.
When it comes to forecasting, artificial intelligence can improve the accuracy of your decisions and reduce any errors previously made by humans. More accurate forecasting can lead to cost reductions and better products and services for your customers.
And because AI constantly performs its task (provided you don’t unplug it), it constantly recognizes new patterns. This means your business can respond faster to any changes that are forecast.
But what if you don’t think your business has enough data for the AI to learn from? In that case, choosing the correct algorithm, based on the amount and quality of data you have, will greatly improve your forecasting accuracy.
You can also use external data to support your own. External data can take many forms, such as weather forecasts and patterns, social media activity, and mobile device locations. If there’s a data set out there that you can use to beef up your own and improve your forecasting, it’s worth it.
New technologies come and go, and they’re not always perfect. But the benefits of AI far outweigh any concerns you might have about it taking over your business. Don’t worry, that probably won’t happen.
Artificial intelligence is a fantastic tool to augment and enhance everyday processes and help people work smarter.
Though this new technology is far from perfect, it can still collect and assess information faster than people can and function with humans, much like any effective tool. It can also do away with, or reduce, repetitive tasks and boost productivity.
As the use of artificial intelligence in business gathers pace, organizations are looking to leverage it to enhance the efficiency of normal processes, streamline strategic output and remove the guesswork from their decision-making.
With so many benefits to AI, how will you react to it? Share your views in the comments below!