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Transforming Business with Artificial Intelligence

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The Future of Jobs report by The World Economic Forum predicts in 2020, (greatly because of the rise of automation) the top 3 fundamental skills needed in business will be inherently human:

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can and will be used to amplify these human skills through a stream of intelligence for previously and seemingly impossible superhuman results.

Ironically, herein lies the paradox that AI technology is not only fueling the pace of change and need for human skills but also, in turn, making us more intelligent and dependent on it to adapt to this changing environment. With AI, machine learning and deep learning systems, AI machines are becoming indispensable and will help level-up the human experience.

However, we must remember AI is not only about the technology in of itself; it’s ultimately about how AI technology can be leveraged to assist in creating immersive and unexpected human experiences. What we can be certain of is because of new emerging technology like AI, the rate of change will only increase. And the need for Human Intelligence; complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity will be even more valuable and in demand in the future.

The AI foundation: digital transformation

We are now in the experience economy; the need for experience design is two-fold, businesses should create great experiences not only for their customers but employees as well. So, to better understand the tremendous opportunities surrounding AI we must first look at this changing landscape.

We are living in an unprecedented time of societal transformation. Digital is disrupting every industry, all societies and each individual. Content is being consumed through more devices, at a faster rate than ever before and because of this people expect their experiences to be personalized, connected and flawless across every touch point and they won’t tolerate anything less: this is what is at the core of the digital transformation. Businesses are now realizing the need to shift from a product-focused approach to an experience focused strategy for both their customers and within their organizations.

Exceptional experiences have become critical to attracting and retaining customers, changing the way we interact, entertain, work and relate to the world around us. Today, these data-informed experiences are how businesses and brands can break through the noise and make a connection and an impact.

Experiences are powered by data and that in turn drives business innovation. By leveraging the power of data, we can create experiences that matter. For instance, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created daily; AI can use much of that data to intelligently determine how consumers are interacting with or abandoning a brand. This helps inform what works and what doesn’t, leading to future experiences improved by insights, supported by data and brought to life through beautiful, powerfully curated experiences.

The AI activation: the SUPER framework

Now that we’ve laid the foundation of the technical aspects of AI, let’s talk about the strategic model that will unleash competitive advantages for you and your business.

It is called the SUPER framework, and it will provide superhuman capabilities. SUPER is an acronym for Speed, Understanding, Performance, Experimentation and Results. It’s a powerful five-pronged model that harnesses AI as a catalyst for innovation. The SUPER model provides five guiding principles that are necessary for successful AI implementation. These serve as the basis for an AI roadmap on which a strategy can be built. All five prongs must be addressed by your AI strategy for your project to succeed:

  • Speed (facilitating work processes)
  • Understanding (revealing and mastering deep insights)
  • Performance (enabling customization of delivery to customers)
  • Experimentation (allowing the iterative process of re-invention and feedback)
  • Results (providing tangible, measurable and optimizable results)

In this world of product and pricing parity, the delivery of superior experience of service has become the new marketing and competitive edge. With the AI SUPER framework, companies and entrepreneurs can now harness the power of data, personalization and on-demand availability, to name but a few, at the touch of an intelligent button.

Speed: facilitating work processes

AI will help with business efficiencies: everything from the speed of manufacturing to ideation, to content creation, to internal processes. For the consumer, this will result in faster service and faster delivery of products.

Let’s take a more detailed look at Speed, by which we mean increasing the velocity of work and reasoning or getting to a starting point more quickly.

For instance, if you want to improve customers’ experience of getting through an airline check-in procedure more efficiently, you’d focus on optimizing their traffic flow. One airline company, Trans States Airlines (TSA), has been testing a new system that could accelerate the speed with which travellers pass through security at the airport. It uses AI to evaluate the facial expressions and posture of travellers to point out any that may pose a threat to security. Of note body scans are not shown to TSA screeners to ensure travellers’ privacy is protected; TSA personnel will only be alerted about those who might pose a threat.

Understanding: revealing and mastering deep insights

AI will permeate innovation across marketing campaign creation, service bots, applications, attribution and delivery. AI makes experiences more effective through better Understanding.

AI can access vast amounts of data very quickly, revealing and interpreting that information to provide insights into marketing, customer behaviour, healthcare, automotive, driving habits and so on. Combined with IoT and similar technologies, the possibilities for comprehending the world around us are unlimited.

Netflix uses predictive analytics to understand customer preferences and make predictions to provide optimal recommendations. The recommendation engine not only connects viewers to the content they want to see, but it improves over time. It learns about customer tastes and distinguishes between what people say they want to see and what they really like.

Performance: measurement and optimization 

When we talk about Performance, we mean efficiency, which measures the effectiveness of the process. In this respect, we’re concerned with how well the job, service or product is or has been performing. AI strategies and their application must be measured and optimized on their performance and how well they are supporting the overall business strategy. In other words, those strategies must pay off, and that must be measured, quantified and reported to various stakeholders. Key performance indicators need to be defined before the AI initiative is begun, to measure business-level success.

As the volume of data and content explodes, companies need to deeply embrace AI and machine learning techniques to unlock true insights from these datasets at scale. With AI/machine learning, cloud computing will evolve from a simple automation layer to an indispensable and pervasive intelligent fabric across organizations for predictive audience segments and hyper-personalization capabilities.

Experimentation: actionable curiosity

AI also ushers in a new era of Experimentation, by allowing for faster interactive processes, meaning supporting minimum viable product (MVP) feedback loops; creating, testing and optimizing. Also, AI inspires new approaches to products and services that were unimaginable in the past.

We are now at a point in time that is reminiscent of the mid-1990s, where the early winners of the internet were those who identified opportunities and experimented to address those business problems. We are in a very similar setting with AI today. However, there needs to be a systematic game plan for experimentation with AI.

Results: business transformation

Finally, AI must produce Results that support businesses, consumers and industries. PayPal, for instance, uses deep learning to detect deceptive merchants and pinpoint sales of illegal products. In addition, their models optimize operations by providing an understanding of why transactions fail. Both these solutions improve the ability of PayPal to deliver service to its customers by cutting down on fraud and improving reliability.

As AI matures, we’ll be able to measure results in a more quantifiable way because AI can quickly process vast volumes of data and make inferences based on what it finds. This opens up the power of predictive analytics and highlights the value of the virtuous feedback loop.

The AI future: transforming the world

Technology has changed our world forever. Individuals can communicate with anyone at any time from a small handheld device. They can retrieve information from all the libraries in the world, help with the discovery of new medicines and aid in the creation of profoundly personalized experiences. With this new digital reality, AI promises to advance forward the world and us on an individual and societal level, enabling new vistas of understanding.

In the end, business and consumer power will drive and power the course and success of AI. And yet it’s important to understand and remember that AI is a tool not a replacement for human intelligence, to be leveraged for good, to unite the art of human creativity with the logic of science to create magical experiences to propel business and societal innovation for years to come.

The opportunities for innovation with AI are endless. The only limitation going forward is our human imagination.