For years we’ve seen headlines boasting about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and the dramatic implications it could have on every aspect of our day-to-day lives. While long-term projections about the potential of AI are important, they can often seem slightly sci-fi and irrelevant to your current business if you’re not paying attention. In reality, AI has already made significant changes to the way people do business, and these transformations will only continue to become more widespread. The smartest companies are investing in specific functions of AI to better satisfy their clients, streamline important processes, and plan for the future. Take a look at the way these five artificial intelligence trends are already impacting the business landscape and will continue to do so in the near future—not just “someday down the line.” Strategize which AI opportunities—and threats—your company needs to be aware of and invest in potential opportunities to drive future success.
Some of the world’s largest organizations have begun implementing facial recognition in the past few years. Industries ranging from law enforcement and tourism to automotive and advertising have begun using facial and visual technology as a way to authorize users. It’s even become a popular way to pay; as technology and retail continue to mesh (think last year’s Amazon and Whole Foods merger), you can expect more and more companies to utilize facial recognition as a payment method. In fact, China has already launched a payment app called Alipay which uses facial recognition as its only credential. If applicable, consider investing in facial recognition software as either an authorization method or possible payment method that can improve the way a customer interacts with your business.
Speaking of improved customer service, artificial intelligence is a strong way to deliver better support. Think of when you visit a website and need help; those with automated chat boxes (usually fueled by “chatbots”) are always easier to use. You can type your query into the box and get instant help. In the past, offering 24/7 support to customers was virtually impossible, but thanks to the proliferation of chatbots and other AI tools, that’s now a reality. As more and more businesses rely on AI to deliver 24/7, instantaneous customer support, people will come to expect that from companies. It’s true that nothing can replace the option of talking to a real, live person. But if you aren’t at least offering some customer support channels that utilize AI, you’re missing out on a way to make customer service more seamless.
The rise of AI isn’t strictly positive, unfortunately. The same new technologies your company will begin to implement can also be used against you as cyber criminals learn to work with AI more and more. In McAfee Labs’ 2018 Threat Prediction Report, experts remarked that there will be an increasing threat of cyber criminals using AI to carry out attacks and discover new vulnerabilities in your network ready to be exploited, such as unpatched ports. Experts also warn that cyber criminals may use AI to detect patterns within your infrastructure, carrying out attacks by doing things like writing emails that match the tone or style of someone the recipient knows, for example. Staying on top of the ever-increasing threat of cyber attacks wielded with AI requires you to have a sound IT and cyber security team in place and to always stay ahead of potential threats.
AI isn’t just reserved for reacting to customer complaints or questions. It’s also increasingly leveraged to predict consumer behavior, a trend that will only continue to grow in the years to come. When your bank notifies you of “potentially suspicious activity” on your card, it’s likely a statistical model that’s been used to predict your spending behavior based on past transactions. When you’re on Amazon and looking at something to buy, it will “suggest” other items for you based on both your current and past purchasing behavior.
Predictive analysis from AI can determine that user behavior and serve up ads that specifically cater to those purchasing decisions. Based on someone’s age, location, and past purchases, for example, how likely are they to buy z if they’ve already purchased x? Using AI to predict what behavior a customer will take—or what products to offer them based on their behavior—will become a non-negotiable part of smart business strategy in the coming years. In a recent report from market research firm Forrester, experts suggested that 10% of purchase decisions will soon be guided by a platform’s intelligent agent or bot, further highlighting the need for companies to utilize AI this way if they haven’t already.
In the years to come, your understanding (or lack thereof) of AI and its implementation in your business will also factor into potential employees’ decision to work with you or not. Job seekers already site innovation and the potential for growth as top factors when choosing where to work. If your company is making strides to leverage artificial intelligence where it makes sense, potential employees will see that as a marker of your innovation. Understanding AI and utilizing it to your benefit will help you attract more innovative candidates and continue to grow your business amidst the age of digital transformation.
Depending on what industry you’re in, there may be different ways to implement and leverage AI for your benefit. Exploring and investing in this technology now will ensure you remain at the forefront of your industry and are able to deliver a better experience to both customers/clients and your own employees. AI isn’t going anywhere, so your company needs to assess what ways you can best leverage it in the coming years, while also assessing potential new risks that may come along with it.
About the Author
Matthew J. Schwartz is the Founder, President and CEO of MJS Executive Search with nearly two decades of experience in retained executive search. Matt’s expertise lies in bringing together key executives that exhibit passion and creativity with leading organizations in a wide range of functional areas such as Marketing, Sales, Digital, Interactive and more. From Digital and Social media to Machine Learning and AI, Matt is passionate about cutting edge technologies and is dedicated using his knowledge to help his clients remain or become leaders in their realm.
Founded in 2003, MJS Executive Search has established itself as a top retained executive search firm that identifies and places unique, hard to find executives in highly specialized roles.
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