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What is AI and How is it Changing the Workplace?

AI (Artificial Intelligence) has been a hot topic in the technology world for the last couple of years. Between the rapidly advancing capabilities of assistant applications like Siri, to the recent scandal surrounding using machine learning to create fake photos and videos, to Google achieving what they call ‘quantum supremacy’. And this doesn’t even include the countless memes of AI writing books and screenplays. It seems like artificial intelligence can do it all, right? Well, it just might. For managers and entrepreneurs, there’s a lot of things that AI can do to revolutionize the way you and your teams work

Data is an important aspect of any business, but for some industries combing through all the data to get a good idea of the landscape is sometimes difficult, and almost always daunting. But with tools like ThoughtSpot, managers can let AI do the work of a data analyst and just work with the results. Thing is, artificial intelligence can process all kinds of varied data, once it knows what to look for.

There are obviously some things that will take a little longer for AI to completely figure out, but if what your business really needs is somewhere to easily find and search through the data yourself, there are also platforms like Domo. Domo also analyzes the data you feed it, but it also keeps it all in a searchable space for everyone who needs it, and even lets you use applications to address particular aspects of your business or create your own apps to do the work you need to do. 

Then, there’s the very human challenges around staff trainings. When companies hire new recruits, there’s often a long (sometimes continuous) training period, and businesses are eager to avoid as many mistakes as they can. Luckily, AI is well suited for identifying successful trends and recognizing things that fall out of that window of success. So far, applications like Chorus and Cogito are revolutionizing sales and customer service calls by analyzing phone calls in real time and making suggestions in tone and messaging to lead to more successful calls.

This might seem like a very narrow use case, but the ability to analyze conversations in real time and figure out what might be the best next thing to say could also transform public relations and communications jobs and speak wonders about AI’s ability to make predictions in other complex situations. 

Where business calls are concerned, we’re also on the cusp of virtual telemarketers – artificial intelligences capable of making entirely independent phone calls to humans from start to finish. No matter how creepy it sounds, it’s kind of remarkable that we’ve gotten to the point of developing AI that are indistinguishable from humans, at least over the phone. As the technology evolves, it may also transform face-to-face interactions in service industries like hospitals or banks, to help customers get what they need faster, and give teams more human hands to solve more complicated and imaginative problems. 

And, of course, there’s the AI that we’ve grown accustomed to – supercomputers like IBM’s Watson, that are really good at playing chess and winning Jeopardy. But those are just childish examples of what powerful artificial intelligence can do to solve complex problems. To look at data or make predictions based on trends is one thing, but the future of artificial intelligence actually lies in training computers to innovate and develop brand new solutions to the problems that baffle us. By being able to draw from disparate sources of information, process millions of pieces of data in seconds and create patterns beyond our current understanding, AI could soon come up with answers for complex socio-economic problems or create new models for communities and societies, and much more. Watson is already being used in medicine, to create personal treatments for one of the most complex illnesses that someone can encounter – cancer.

This might just be the tip of the iceberg. As artificial intelligence continues to grow, there will soon be more and more things that it can figure out that we didn’t even imagine. Just a couple decades ago, it was unfathomable that a computer could beat a chess grandmaster. We’re far beyond that now. In a couple of decades, who knows what the technology might be able to do.    

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