The AI Revolution: Super-Changing and Super-Charging

October 14, 2019 - by Manan Thakkar

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If there is one technology that precisely complements the saying “the best way to predict the future is to invent it,” it has to be artificial intelligence (AI). From understanding customer behavior to predicting the weather – today, AI is guiding all business decisions.

Let’s look at what the current state of artificial intelligence is, how you can encourage an AI-ready culture in your business, and what guiding principles you need to inculcate to truly benefit from this super-changing and super-charging technology.

The State of Artificial Intelligence

With worldwide data expected to grow to 175 Zettabytes by 2025, the business benefits from analyzing this ever-increasing volume of data are apparent: deeper insights, evidence-based decisions, and quicker value. AI is sweeping the business world off its feet by offering an array of benefits to businesses across industries such as financial services, retail, manufacturing, and healthcare. Here are some statistics that describe the current state of AI in a nutshell:

  • The business value derived from AI reached $1.2 trillion worldwide in 2018 and will grow to $3.9 trillion by 2022
  • Worldwide spending on artificial intelligence (AI) systems is forecast to reach $35.8 billion in 2019
  • 82% of IT and business decision-makers agree that company-wide strategies to invest in AI-driven technologies would offer significant competitive advantages
  • 90% of IT leaders see their use of AI/ML increasing in the future and 41% consider AI-powered technology a top factor in their purchasing decisions
  • 37% of service leaders are either piloting or using artificial intelligence (AI) bots and virtual customer assistants
  • 45% of retail customer service issues/ inquiries have been fully automated without affecting CSAT scores

Fostering an AI-ready Culture

AI is expected to add $13 trillion to the global economy over the next decade. But despite the promises of AI, many efforts are failing to see the light of day. According to a report by McKinsey, only 8% of firms engage in core practices that support the widespread adoption of AI. This slow progress can be attributed to a number of reasons: not researching the technology enough, not understanding which aspects of the business AI can really benefit from, viewing AI as a plug-and-play technology, among others.

The true value of AI can be achieved when organizations foster persevering and visionary leadership based on three foundations: democratizing AI (and data), weaving them into the fabric of the entire organization, and balancing the power in machine-human collaboration. Before you get started with creating an AI strategy, applying the AI Maturity Model Assessment to your business is a great place to begin. Such an assessment will allow you to get deeper insight into your current business strategy and culture, where you are on the AI readiness spectrum, understand how prepared you are to implement AI, and the steps you can take to move forward with AI.

Here are some ways you can encourage an AI-ready culture across your organization:

  • As a first step, provide a compelling story that allows employees to understand the urgency of AI adoption, the change it will bring, and the benefits they can accrue.
  • Provide a vision that ensures everyone works towards a common goal; makes people understand why AI is important, and how they will fit into the new AI-driven culture.
  • Empower employees at each level to leverage AI algorithms to augment their own judgment and arrive at better answers and decisions.
  • Anticipate barriers to change – such as employee resistance, the fear of becoming obsolete, of losing their jobs to AI – and have plans in place to overcome challenges that can inhibit the widespread adoption of the technology.
  • Instead of having a team of professionals devises an enterprise-wide AI strategy, allow it to be developed by a cross-functional team of people with a variety of skills and perspectives.
  • Have business people work alongside AI experts and analysts to address broader organizational priorities.
  • Move away from a rigid and risk-averse mindset towards one that is experimental and adaptable; since AI applications need to be constantly enhanced to improve its efficiency, look at mistakes as a source of new discovery and reduce the chances (and fear) of failure.

Guiding Principles for Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Over the past few years, AI has made massive progress in many areas, which has led to its accelerated adoption rate. But it’s not perfect. Although AI has transformed from vision to reality, creating tangible benefits for people and enterprises around the world, like any great technological innovation, it poses complex and challenging questions about the future we want to see. The ability of humans to create thinking machines is raising many eyebrows; we have come to a point where we have to ensure these intelligent machines do not cause harm, do not take away human jobs, and do not end up being misused. And that’s exactly why there is an impending need for the business world to create regulatory frameworks to ensure AI complements humans. Here are some guiding principles for responsible AI:

Fairness:

Develop AI with responsible business and social practices, so it can consistently and ethically deliver outcomes and ensure fairness

Reliability:

Make sure to have mechanisms in place that can filter out biases and negative sentiment to ensure the reliability of the results produced

Privacy and Security:

Regardless of what new technology you are implementing, you’ll always want to make sure it is private and secure.

Inclusiveness:

Always feed AI algorithms with data from diverse systems, and meaningfully share the results at every organizational level to ensure inclusiveness

Trust and Transparency:

Understand how AI models arrive to meaningful explanations and specific decisions to reduce uncertainty, quantify accuracy, and improve trust and transparency

Accountability:

Design methods that incorporate ethical practices to ensure safe and fair use of AI, and ensure accountability

Governance:

Be sure to consider the tradeoffs of control, constraints, innovation, speed, and collaboration and ensure AI governance

Take Responsibility

The unprecedented proliferation of AI is reshaping the business landscape, paving the way for more efficient operations, accelerated decision-making, and faster time to market. In fact, AI is helping organizations become smart, agile, and innovative in unimaginable ways, while being the force multiplier for technological evolution and digital transformation.

With 50% of organizations expected to employ AI in one way or another by 2020, it’s crucial for businesses to build an AI-powered organization, but with caution! With greater autonomy comes greater responsibility; so, make sure to use ethical and fair practices while developing and implementing AI models, and empower AI to drive results – in a fair and responsible manner.

Learn how Synoptek can help you make stronger, better informed, more data-driven decisions with the help of the latest technology.