Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) in the digital sphere should be an obvious next step for many businesses, but there’s a lot of pushback based mostly on a worry that although AI will make work easier and more efficient, it’ll be hard to garner actionable insights from a mass of unstructured data, as a recent Gartner study shows.

Computer scientist and futurist Ray Kurzweil says, “Our intuition about the future is linear. But the reality of information technology is exponential, and that makes a profound difference. If I take 30 steps linearly, I get to 30. If I take 30 steps exponentially, I get to a billion.”

“We create these tools to expand our own reach.”

Growing presence

The International Data Corporation (IDC) has made predictions regarding the integration of AI into business practices. In fact, they believe that 75 percent of enterprise software development companies and independent software vendors will be utilizing “cognitive/AI or machine learning functionality in at least one application.”

IDC also believes that cloud-based analytics development will grow over 500 percent faster by 2018, due in large part to cloud pricing models that have been developed specifically for analytics. They predict that by 2019, 75 percent of enterprise application employees will work with desktop intelligent personal assistants who “augment their skills and expertise.”

In time, this should expand further to include unstructured data, too. The IDC says, “Sixty-six percent of enterprises will implement advanced classification solutions to automate access, retention and disposition of unstructured content, making it more useful for analytics [by 2020].”

Business benefits

According to Kurzweil, “Intelligence is: (a) the most complex phenomenon in the universe; or (b) a profoundly simple process. The answer, of course, is (c) both of the above. It's another one of those great dualities that make life interesting.”

The value of AI cannot be overstated. It’ll end up making devices run more efficiently, will make digital processes smoother, and it will also have an impact on us as humans. While there is much hesitancy toward embracing AI in companies still, it is typically because humans by nature hate change, and integrating AI into a business model will drastically alter everything. Naturally, this isn’t the easiest pill to swallow — however, it’s worth it when thinking of the long-run results and how our machines will be able to work with us in a better, more fluid way than ever before.

Kurzweil says, “Sometimes people talk about conflict between humans and machines, and you can see that in a lot of science fiction. But the machines we’re creating are not some invasion from Mars. We create these tools to expand our own reach.”

AI can enhance businesses digitally by interpreting human behavior and analyzing it in a faster, more efficient way than humans can. It allows a company to remain relevant to their audience by constantly refining and updating datasets. This allows time for businesses to focus and grow other areas of their brands. Simply said: AI is the future.