While artificial intelligence (AI) is something everyone has heard about, for some companies it still feels like something from science fiction rather than a technology that their business can make valuable use of. To give you an insight into the role AI can play, here are the top AI technologies used in business today.
- Natural language generation
Natural language generation uses AI algorithms to convert structured data into human language. This lets content editors use automated content to promote brands online without the need for human intervention.
- Speech recognition
Alexa has been a highly profitable technology for Amazon, but to work, it needs to both understand human speech and respond in natural language. This is difficult to achieve as people speak in language and computers communicate using binary. What speech recognition does is convert human speech to binary, understand what it means, formulate the right response and then, if needed, convert a reply back into speech for people to hear. While this is something many of us are used to today, such is the sophistication of human language that the technology has been in development for decades.
- Virtual assistants
A specialised form of AI, virtual agents are increasingly used to interact with and help users on websites and apps. Today, we often see them as chatbots, answering customer questions about products and services and even helping out customer service queries.
However, virtual assistants can do even more. Fintech versions can give personalised advice to customers, using their financial data, to help them choose the right financial products. Those we find on mobile phones and smart speakers can do even more, like order products, make calls, organise meetings, set reminders and control smart gadgets around the home or office.
- Data-driven decision-making
Modern companies collect enormous quantities of data from an increasingly expansive range of sources, this includes everything from customers’ browsing histories to the journey data of their company vehicles. All this data can provide highly valuable insights that can be used to make important decisions, ones that cut costs, minimise risk, help innovate and improve relationships with customers.
The reason that data can provide such powerful insights is because of data analytics, powerful algorithms that use AI to find patterns and trends, spot anomalies and make predictions.
Unfortunately, the AI-enabled tools mentioned here are also being used by cybercriminals to develop highly sophisticated technologies to attack the computer systems that organisations and individuals rely on. Security is, therefore, of paramount importance.
Biometrics are primarily used for security, replacing traditional login credentials, like usernames and passwords, which can easily be guessed, with unique biological markers like retina scans, fingerprints and facial features. These can be used to secure not just data and IT systems but also access to buildings and the use of machinery.
One of the most advanced and exciting uses of AI, machine learning (ML) is basically where an AI algorithm learns to do things better through trial, error and experience. In a way, it is like the AI reprogramming itself as it experiences new things.
There are many applications for this advanced form of technology. As ML can provide better insights from data analytics when it learns how to interpret new kinds of data, it can be used everywhere from financial risk analyses to the diagnosis of diseases. It was widely used for modelling purposes during the pandemic to predict the impact of government restrictions on the spread of Covid. It is also used to help chatbots provide better responses, as they learn from their previous interactions with customers.
Robots are being increasingly used in industry and are used everywhere from Amazon warehouses to car manufacturing plants and deep-sea oil rig maintenance. These machines rely on AI for what is called robotic process automation, a technology that configures a robot’s software to communicate with its control system and other robots, interpret data and carry out commands based on that data. This is what enables a robot to find the right product anywhere in a large warehouse, successfully retrieve it and take it for dispatch. In food plants, other robots are trained to find ‘below-standard’ products on a conveyor belt and remove them so that they don’t end up being sent to customers.
As you can see, AI has a wide range of business applications that can bring considerable benefits. It can improve decision making, reduce risk, improve security and automate processes. And with ML, it can even learn to do things better all by itself. What’s great about AI, of course, is that in the cloud, it is possible to deploy it almost instantaneously so that companies not yet making use of it can catch up with competitors very quickly.
If you are considering migrating to the cloud to make use of AI, visit our Cloud Hosting Services .