With an explosion of AI products, aggressive marketing and the dreaded FOMO effect, it would be easy to spend a lot of money on 'AI' for little or no return. So, before diving in, create a foundation for your investment decisions by firstly establishing whether AI - in its various forms - presents either a threat and/or an opportunity to your business. And the first step is to break down what AI actually is and what it can and can't do for you.
The chip giant Intel, whose technology provides the foundations for many AI prodcuts, has a handy gouping for AI technology, and it's a varied field:
Computer Vision that's all about infering and extracting information from visual sources - images and videos etc. But also 'mundane' sources such as scanned invoices, identity documents for automation and process improvement solutions.
Classic Machine Learning which includes predicitve AI, is relatively mature, and able to predict outcomes and reveal insights from large data sources using a variety of established algorithms and models. It is also largely "explainable AI", i.e. you can trace how the model has arrived at its answer - very important for financial services and other regulated industries.
Generative AI the new kid on the block that is able to create a compelling appearance of human intelligence and has created a huge surge in interest (and fear) since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022. A quick look at Google trends shows that interest in Generative AI has been over thirty times higher than predicitive AI over the last few months.
Recommendation AI which is is at the heart of all those - "if you liked this, you'll love this" suggestions on streaming and retail platforms, is something that we're all familiar with.
Of course, there is more to it than this brief summary, and things are constantly changing. So, start your AI journey by bringing together AI expertise with business strategists, and operational process owners to broadly assess what the size of the prize is. Determine whether this really is an existential fight to avoid the threat of oblivion, or an opportunity to reap the benefits of great new services or operational savings.
Once you have quantified this to some degree, you can determine where you should focus your attention, and how much it is worth spending. Some areas of AI are much more uncertain than others and will need to be approached with an experimental and learning mindset - not always popular with those who want to see an immediate impact on the bottom-line. Recognise that the more engaged you are with AI as a business - whether that's just reading and attending conferences, or taking a hands-on approach to build internal expertise and knowledge - the better positioned you will be to exploit its advances that are more than likely going to come out of the blue and surprise you!
If you are looking for ways to explore the risks and benefits of AI for your business contact us for an informal chat