Blog
July 28, 2016
AI & Industry 4.0

Why Your Business Can’t Ignore Artificial Intelligence

Why Your Business Can’t Ignore Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence may once have seemed like a gimmick for tech-heads. Today, it’s not just a reality, but something that could become a must-have tool for almost any business sector.

The real goal of artificial intelligence is to combine the advantages of the human brain and the computer processor. While computers are unbeatable at processing data quickly, accurately, and consistently, their big flaw compared with humans is that, in principle, they can only do one thing at a time. That makes them less efficient at solving problems with multiple options, outcomes, and solutions.

How smart is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is about overcoming those limitations. Sometimes that means literally modelling computers on the human brain, trying to recreate the neural pathways that allow us to consider multiple options at once. In other cases, it means adopting human strategies. For example, a Google AI program recently defeated the world’s number one player of Go, a strategy game many times more complicated than chess. It did so by abandoning the “obvious” computer approach of considering and comparing every possible move — something Go makes unworkably slow even for a supercomputer — and instead, ran through a selection of the most likely optimal moves. In other words, it favored practicality over perfection.

From games to reality

The next step is moving artificial intelligence from games to reality. Take IBM’s Watson system which famously beat two Jeopardy! champions despite the open-ended “find the question from the answer” format being hugely challenging for a computer. IBM has already adapted Watson for purposes such as healthcare where it tries to deduce likely conditions based on a patient’s symptoms. There’s also been a talk of it taking the same approach to tech support.

IBM has also made another decision with Watson that will help bring AI into ordinary business life. It’s letting companies remotely access Watson on an ad hoc basis, rather than having to buy access outright and install equipment. It’s a similar approach to the way companies such as Amazon offer remote access to processing on a pay-per-use basis, making it much easier for businesses to remain flexible and dynamic as they grow.

Harnessing AI? Think of the best way to do it

Arguably the biggest challenge of harnessing artificial intelligence for business purposes is no longer building the technology itself, but rather figuring out the best way to use it. It’s a tough mindset to get into as AI isn’t about overcoming technical limitations but rather conceptual ones. Successful executives will need the imagination to find innovative ways to harness a technology that effectively combines the speed and power of computers with the creativity and intuition of humans: an almost literal case of thinking outside the box.

Traditional computing has so often been about businesses looking at software’s capabilities and trying to find ways to benefit. The fundamental shift that artificial intelligence brings means businesses now need to prioritize identifying the problems they have and then seeking solutions from technology.

For more insight into how artificial intelligence could help your business, and to access a global workforce of software experts to help you maximize your potential, contact Ciklum today.