Forget the rise of the robots: Here’s how AI will really change your world
Intelligent machines may be building cars, stacking shelves and taking drinks orders, but the real impact of AI will be felt elsewhere. And don’t worry, the technology isn’t going to replace you – it’s going to make you smarter.
5 min read
The first brought steam power and created urban societies. The second brought railroads and telegrams, allowing these societies to communicate more efficiently. The third super-charged the second by ushering in computers and electronics.
And the fourth? That’s AI, and related technologies like Big Data and the Internet of Things. And while many dystopian doom-mongers talk in frenzied tones about robots rising up to take our jobs, in reality AI will simply optimise our current way of working. It will be revolutionary, but responsible too.
According to researchers from MIT Sloan, based on responses from 22 industries and 96 countries, more than 50% of companies are already practising some form of responsible AI (RAI): the creation and deployment of AI technologies that empower employees and benefit society. And crucially, the study revealed that the companies with the most mature RAI programmes view this as an organisational issue, not a technical one.
What this means, in practice, is that the key focus of AI implementation is about identifying skills and knowledge gaps in our companies, rather than finding a killer piece of technology that changes everything.
This is our key focus at Pro AI. Our goal isn’t to pitch you a glitzy bundle of tech that will change everything about your business, but rather to understand your specific needs and build something that works for you.
Our main priority, first and foremost, is to organise your data efficiently. If you’ve read a lot about AI in the past, the commentators have probably focused more on its physical applications – the robots that can be put to work in factories and warehouses. But the most significant use case for AI right now, in the majority of cases, is data optimisation.
The internet and other third-revolution technologies have allowed us to create data on a scale previously unimaginable. We’re now churning out 2.5 quintillion bytes every single day; 90% of all data in existence was created in the last two years. But our means of organising data have not kept pace with the means of creating it, so we’ve ended up with reams and reams of priceless information trapped in siloes.
This disorganisation has countless consequences, but here are some of the most obvious.
In short, companies that rely on bad data are flying blind. And the financial implications are stark: according to research by Gartner in the U.S., SMEs are losing an average of $15 million per year due to poor data quality. And as more and more businesses adopt distance working, which challenges employees to share information effectively, the costs will continue to slowball.
An AI algorithm can analyse a company’s entire vault of data and pick out the most relevant patterns. It can scour transaction records to identify areas of inefficiency. It can predict machine outages by reviewing its past performance data, and it can scour a company’s content management system to pick out the most relevant and engaging messages.
And the business value of all these gains? PriceWaterhouseCoopers has suggested AI could add $15 trillion to the global economy by 2030, but we think the true figure is impossible to quantify, even for an AI algorithm. No matter how intelligently a company manages its data, people will still draw the wrong conclusions due to human error.
But with AI, we can give these leaders the best possible platform. We can free up our people to be the best version of themselves. We can build truly connected, augmented workforces, fit for the future.
This isn’t to say the more glitzy, glamorous applications of AI won’t be vital. Intelligent machines will make a massive difference to the way we produce products and serve our customers.
But for the vast majority of companies, the most crucial function of AI is, and will always be, data management. This may not be the sexiest part of the fourth industrial revolution. But it is the most intelligent.