When you hear the words Artificial Intelligence (AI), it’s easy to get swept up in visions of robots and flying cars – a future we see in the movies, but most likely will never see in our lifetimes. AI has already popped up all around us at work and in our homes, slowly and subtly changing the way we interact with machines. For those who work in technology, AI is one of the latest buzz words that’s made its way into conversations around conferences, newsrooms and boardrooms across the globe. A lot of companies are eager to get into the conversation quickly, which is where they make mistakes. Focusing so much on simply joining the conversation makes them just another face in the crowd.
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The companies that are making a difference are those that are bringing real products and updates to market that deliver on AI’s promise. Instead of talking up in the clouds about AI’s potential to change the future, these innovators are making moves through new developments, partnerships and integrations – today. Even for those companies who actually are driving innovation, it can be challenging to prove that they have something new or promising to offer, when there is so much hyped, unsubstantial chatter to break away from.
So, how do companies move beyond the hype and stand out in the AI conversation?
Many companies are so eager to get into the conversation that they announce what’s in their product pipeline, and general statements about how it will impact the industry in the coming months or years. Those who are truly delivering AI today are instead talking about the tangible present – announcing real-world deployments with demos, results and case studies to prove how it’s driving change and innovation.
There’s no doubt that the market for AI has the potential to make billions, but it’s about so much more than that – or at least it should be. People will see straight through a tech company’s AI gimmicks that are for the sole purpose of driving profits, but deliver little real value. In the enterprise, AI and machine learning have the potential to improve employee engagement and satisfaction, leading to a better work/life balance. Not to mention the positive impact that these technologies can have on industries like customer experience. Imagine a system that analyzes historical data on consumers and learns their preferences, to automatically deliver on their expectations before they even reach out to customer service. That type of experience goes beyond driving revenue.
Beyond business settings, AI and machine learning are already being leveraged to help solve real-world societal problems. Engineers across the globe are leveraging these technologies to accomplish things like predicting crop fields in struggling rural areas, or providing assistance to visually impaired patients. These things are happening today, not in the far-off future.
Innovation comes in all forms and from all places, but most savvy business leaders will agree that the best new technologies come to market through collaboration with partners. Whether it’s from major players such as IBM’s Watson and Amazon’s Echo, or through up-and-coming startups dreaming up new ways to leverage machine learning – so much work has already been accomplished when it comes to AI. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, smart companies are thinking about how to work with and build on these technologies to integrate with new systems and achieve smarter business processes. Competition is key to innovation, but so is collaboration.
Don’t just state the obvious about AI’s growth and future adoption, or how it will change the way we work and live. Anyone can predict a more machine-driven future, but people want to hear about how AI is impacting the world right now, and what actual technologies are being implemented. Avoid jargon and comparisons to the Jetsons, and focus on new developments and processes, and how they’re benefitting the business world and the world all around us.
For those following the space, there’s no doubt that AI’s potential is incredible – from a business, personal and societal perspective. While we may be some time away from flying cars, when AI goes beyond buzz and gimmicks, it can bring true change that not only makes money, but makes a difference.
Now excuse me, while I wrap up this post and go play 20 questions with Alexa.
For more information on AI read, “Why this Year Was Different for Artificial Intelligence”.