Technology seems to be moving inexorably. There is hardly an aspect of daily life that has not yet been affected by technical devices. Above all, the future holds an increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) ready. In this article we want to have a look till to what extent the AI will influence our everyday life in the future.
Artificial intelligence – an opportunity or a danger for humanity?
Due to our evolution, we humans have a very strong sense of escape, which helps us to recognize dangers very quickly and to escape. This behavior is also the reason why we can perceive "negative" information much better. Therefore, most people who think of artificial intelligence are often stuck with the cliché that an autonomous killer machine will emerge in the future that will exterminate humanity, as has often been the case in Hollywood in certain films such as "I, Robot" or "Terminator".
What do you understand by Artificial Intelligence?
Of course, as with any topic, the first question you ask is, is this just hype or a buzzword again? We are firmly convinced that artificial intelligence will not only be an important part of our working world but will also have a major impact on our everyday lives.
Artificial intelligence (AI for short) sounds very complicated to laypeople because they lack the imagination that we can teach a machine the human ability to “learn”. Our brain consists of 85 billion nerve cells and neurons which constantly fire electrical impulses to neighboring cells. This incredibly complex structure forms the basis for us to learn, draw conclusions, and think abstractly. So, can we recreate something like this artificially? Surely, yes.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be understood as the ability of machines to perform tasks that usually require the involvement of human intelligence. This generic definition can be modified by its interrelation with new technological innovations, such as augmented reality or the Internet of things. For the company, AI already brings benefits in all its processes, although its implementation is still very scarce.
The growth of Artificial Intelligence in companies
Although its presence is still very incipient, Artificial Intelligence is making its way into all business processes. According to a recent study 98% of the executives consulted think that this innovation can favor productivity, better knowledge of their customers and their products.
However, to achieve these improvements, we believe that this technology will have to be developed to its full potential.
A process that comes from afar
In reality, this emergence of smart technology is not something new. It has been carried out forever, although on a different scale. The image of the worker on an assembly line tightening screws, as Chaplin did in his famous film on industrialization, has been left behind. Today many robots perform all kinds of functions in a chain, directed and coordinated by computers. But AI is not only organizing a sequence of movements of machines but also teaching them to solve problems and make decisions. To achieve this, it is based on four pillars:
- Genetic algorithms. Similar to the sequence of steps with which DNA is formed.
- Artificial neural networks. With connection nodes that simulate the human brain.
- Logic reasoning. Equivalent to abstract thinking.
- Search for the requested state. Choosing between the different possibilities, something similar to the decisions that a chess player must evaluate before making a move.
As it is evident, the development of this technology is much more complex than designing a series of protocols for the movement of a machine in a production chain. Hence the applications for different industries are also very specific. This slows down its implementation because it is not as simple as acquiring a new robot or a series of vehicles.
Implementation yes, but at a slow pace
Due to the importance of its development, the possibilities of use in each sector are the object of attention by the managers of large corporations. However, there is still no decided strategy for its implementation in most companies.
It can be said that the incorporation of AI is on the rise, but at a slower rate than might be expected given its relevance.
The social impact of AI in companies
Little by little it is possible to glimpse what the company of the future will be like in the medium term and how the new intelligent technologies will affect the performance of its workers. Designing better strategies, standing out from the competition, or getting to know the customers and the products themselves better are some of the benefits. The impact on the lives of employees and the reconfiguration of the labor market will not be negligible.
1. Increase in productivity
Increasing the performance of workers and the productive capacity of companies seems to be the main benefit of the implementation of Artificial Intelligence. Teaching machines to handle routine processes will help workers make better use of their time.
But the great benefit expected from this technology has to do with improving the development of business strategies. On the ground, the tasks most closely related to AI are information sharing and unstructured data analysis. They will also affect other simpler activities and structured data analysis. To a lesser extent, they will be helpful in manual skills or real-time problem-solving.
2. Improvement of the quality of life of workers
As already happened when the robotization of the industry began, AI will allow people to develop fewer mechanical capabilities. In the long run, it will make emotional factors, creativity, intuition, or imagination more important. In the performance of their tasks, each worker will feel that they contribute something different from the rest and will feel more valued. It remains to be seen how this ideal is reflected in the company environment and if it serves to improve the quality of life of the operators, but it is a door that also opens thanks to technological innovation.
3. Better knowledge of customers
The implementation of intelligent computer programs will serve to provide better automated responses to customer demands. They will also be useful to get to know them better and to design loyalty strategies. This is already being put into practice, for example, through the latest enterprise resource planning systems, called ERP.
4. Better knowledge of the products themselves
The analysis of large amounts of data provided by AI and its different applications not only allows managing a large volume of customers but also the products that are offered to them. Knowing in-depth all the details of each item, its storage, distribution, and sale is an essential help for companies of the 21st century. Artificial Intelligence will simplify all data control and management processes to provide relevant information in real-time.
5. Influence on the labor market
Human resource experts believe that new AI-based technologies will not increase unemployment. What does seem inevitable is that workers will have to upgrade because some occupations will disappear and others will emerge. That is, the net number of jobs will remain approximately the same, what will change will be the type of employment. Thus, age and training will be two key aspects to find work, even more than at present.
The future of Artificial Intelligence in companies
To imagine where it will evolve, it is interesting to pay attention to how its development is being approached by the large IT corporations. For example, the giant Microsoft has revealed in 2018 how it is positioning itself concerning AI and machine learning. It must be clarified that machine learning is the branch of Artificial Intelligence that is responsible for studying how machines learn and developing the necessary applications for it.
Reasoning, understanding, and interaction
The three big areas of business AI that Microsoft is working on are reasoning, understanding, and interaction. The reasoning is used in applications to extract relevant information from data. The company claims that with the AI of its Azure application there have been cases of up to 40% reduction in costs. The understanding applies to the interpretation of the data that serves, for example, for the facial recognition of a user using his photograph stored in the cloud. This is already being applied by the multinational Uber.
All well and good, but what does AI do for my company and how can you benefit from it?
According to a study by the management consultancy McKinsey, around 70% of companies will use at least one form of AI technology in 2030, according to MGI researchers.
Therefore, the recommendation to companies is to build up skills early, as the future will be even more technology-driven. In the future, employees will be required to have a high level of IT qualification or a skill that cannot simply be automated.
Nevertheless, experts see artificial intelligence not as a job killer, but as a job shifter. According to assumptions, 20% of the jobs will disappear, but these can be offset by 17% new jobs.
So, as a conclusion, we recommend seeing AI as an opportunity and not a threat. We have been working intensively on the topic of artificial intelligence for several years and we are inspired by the possibilities and added value that these technologies could offer for our and customer-related business processes.
As you can see, the future creeps into the realm of companies of all sizes and sectors. AI is not science fiction; machines can already think and make decisions. Its implementation may not be easy, but it is promising.