How will continued developments in AI change the way we do business?

AI isn't just changing how we do business. It's changing what we sell. 

When computers were introduced into the world of commerce in the 1980s and 1990s, they automated manual tasks like word processing, creating spreadsheets and general business intelligence. But it wasn't about what was being produced, it was just about how they were being produced.

Today, the product of AI-designed work is valuable. Human labor and services are being replaced by machine intelligence. That means that everything from HR services to office hours and even wages is being disrupted by cloud services, 24-hour business models and unimaginable margins.

What changes will consumers see?

Consumers adapt surprisingly quickly to evolutions to the customer experience, and many have already come to expect personalization as a given part of the shopping experience, for example.  

But because most of the work is behind the scenes, many changes — such as better targeting of advertising campaigns in social media feeds — won't be noticed by consumers.

Brands shouldn't make personalized experiences that are too obviously different from one consumer or consumer segment to another. That may cause customers to feel singled out, or that others are getting special treatment.

What would you tell business owner or developer looking to AI to optimize their business? 

Be sure that the AI you are willing to use has reached maturity, one that is stable and functional. Be sure you have the right expert to accompany you. And be sure you are correctly handling AI errors. Those errors aren't ones that can be forgiven as an understandable human error, and may damage a brand's image.

What is one possible challenge to adoption?

The general public will barely see that AI powers services, so the adoption problem is more a technical challenge for businesses. Identifying business cases where AI can improve things or cut costs is the more pressing challenge. It’s a tricky issue, because to tackle the adoption challenge, one needs both business prowess and AI skills to be able to accurately measure risks vs. opportunity. The problem is these skills are rarely found in the same person.

What are some developments coming down the pipeline right now that will help to create these improvements?

Video is the field currently experiencing the most impressive improvement. The analytical capabilities of AI programs are up to human-level accuracy, and that’s great. But the most impressive incoming improvements are related to image production, which will revolutionize image and special effects production.

Natural Language Processing has also recently made startling advances. Since there are currently wide-ranging applications for NLP in a myriad of industries — chatbots, spam filtering, email classification, insurance document analysis, CV analysis and job recruiting — the progress being made in academia will have a rapid and powerful impact in the business world.