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Moe Long
Moe Long

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How Businesses Should be Using AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) might sound like science fiction. However, AI, such as is found in IBM's Watson and Amazon's Alexa are very much real. This technology continues to evolve and achieve further adoption, especially in the business world. But is your company using artificial intelligence properly? AI is an excellent means of automating tasks and augmenting tasks. Check out our ideas on how your business should be using artificial intelligence.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

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While artificial intelligence might bring to mind the sci-fi movies of Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell, in today's business world you'll need to think less about androids. Now, AI focuses on speech recognition, image processing, self-driving cars and Machine Learning. Essentially, it's about discovering the areas where computers can, and do, perform tasks better than people. As such, businesses should consider using AI for tasks that don't require a human element.

Automate All the Things

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"I think the key is verticalization, finding areas that need better automation and insight," explains Reuven Cohen, a growth hacker and AI expert. As Cohen says, healthcare is an excellent example of an industry that is using artificial intelligence in a smart way. The key is using AI to automate people-driven processes. "A lot of people don't want to hear this, but the opportunity [of AI] is the replacement of humans," Cohen allows.

Seeing the Pattern

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Artificial intelligence in business is put to its best uses when there's an application that relies on patterns. Algorithms can identify patterns quicker and more accurately than humans. "The most research progress in the last year or so has been in medicine," Alex Davies, machine learning specialist at DeepMind elaborated. Several high profile cases, he explains, focus on reading medical images. "The reason; it's a big deal that computers have kind of been able to do this before. But this is the first time they've been better than, not only one doctor, but a panel of doctors [at identifying a pattern]."

There's potential to expedite diagnoses. In a famous example, Stanford University researchers trained a deep learning algorithm on 130,000 images of 2,000 dermatological diseases. This Stanford University deep learning experiment resulted in neural networks performing the equivalent work of more than 20 board-certified dermatologists.

But it's not every area of an industry that benefits heavily from AI. In healthcare for instance, AI has the largest impact on radiologists, dermatologists and pathologists. The reason: these segments of healthcare focus on diagnosing via image analysis, a task easily automated by artificial intelligence.

Augment, Don't Replace

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However, don't expect to lose your job or replace your workforce anytime soon. In its current stages, artificial intelligence is still in its infancy. As such, AI is used more to augment jobs rather than replace them. "There's very few jobs that are outright replaceable," said Davies. "Because there aren't that many jobs where someone is literally sitting in a room looking at images."

Businesses should use artificial intelligence to automate menial tasks. "The industrial revolution [automated] menial, manual tasks to a degree but it never took away menial, high-skilled manual tasks...fine motor skills are really hard to replicate. [Today] if we can get a robot to open a door, we're super excited."

Automate Creatively

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For analyzing data, artificial intelligence is an excellent tool for business. But AI is a rapidly changing space, so businesses shouldn't be afraid to use artificial intelligence for a range of creative tasks. So long as the goal persists of automating tasks, there's no shortage of applications. Moreover, it's tough to identify wrong uses without more data.

NVIDIA featured a fascinating use case for AI. Jason Cohen, founder of Analytical Flavor Systems, discussed his use of AI to create wine, beer, coffee and chocolate. In using artificial intelligence, Cohen predicted flavor preferences for each of those concoctions. He uses IPA-style beers as an example, pointing to a massive upsurge in popularity. By removing the human element in Cohen's research, there's less bias and more accurate results.

Alex Davies noted the pickle categorizer as an excellent use case. "It's one of Google Cloud's examples of TensorFlow being used. There's a family farm in Japan that farms pickles, and the son made an automatic pickle categorizer. They automated their pickle categorizers...and saved them from sorting their pickles."

Final Thoughts

Businesses should use artificial intelligence as a means of handling menial tasks. It can sort of become the ideal employee: AI can offer 24/7 uptime, work faster and be more reliable. In business, AI is best used to automate processes. Moreover, it's an augmentation for the workforce, not replacement. So long as you're automating and augmenting, there are loads of applications for artificial intelligence in business, from radiology to beer and pickles.

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