With any nascent technology, pre-existing enterprises have to be the most discerning when it comes to timing: jump into a new technology or platform too early and it doesn’t take off? You cost yourself a ton of money and R & D time. Wait too late? Well, there goes all that marketshare to a competitor. You certainly want to be an early adopter to the next big thing, but without beating everyone to a market that might or might not materialize. That timing is critical; it can literally make or break entire businesses.
Now is the time to start thinking about AI in a very real way.
Very few companies have the physical computing power, programming expertise, algorithm mastery or a staff well enough versed in AI to build a neural network themselves. But, what they can do (and you should be doing too) is thinking about how to select and then incorporate the right cloud-based, AI-AAS (AI-as-a-service) offering into your business workflow, because it is without a doubt the next big thing.
On that front, there are a number of contenders. Augmented reality made the big time with Pokemon Go and is a real candidate for the next breakthrough user interface between man and machine (and the rest of the world, for that matter). Virtual reality is still a longer ways off — the headsets are bulky and hot, and not enough great content is shot or designed for true VR (as opposed to 360 video). This is not to say either of them might not be huge, game-changing technologies and markets in due time; that time might very well be soon. But, neither are near the guarantee AI is when it comes to shaping the future of technology and industry writ large.
There might not be a business out there that couldn’t benefit in a meaningful way from savvy AI integrations. Hospitals might soon be using them to help diagnose disease — perhaps not in lieu of a doctor, but certainly offering another set of unbiased eyes. Pretty much any company whose customers or clients generate data can use AI to scrape that data, crunch it in every way imaginable, and then make recommendations on improving efficiency or increasing average spend based on the trends the neural network detects in the dataset(s) you’ve given it.
If you work in advertising, AI could better help you connect with consumers by positioning brands where audiences are most likely to a) be, and b) be in a receptive mood to brand messaging; by ascertaining key facets of audience members’ lives, the AI can better help position brands in front of those people who would want to see that ad (and likewise keep it away from those that would not be receptive to such an ad).
If you work in pharmaceuticals, AI will almost certainly help digest massive datasets and provide actionable intelligence for new molecular combinations to try. If you’re in logistics, there’s no end to the increased efficiencies an AI assistant could bring to bear on whatever you effort on a given day. If you work in construction or city planning, AI could be just the tool to solve the equation for the future of cities and transportation therein. If you work in the restaurant business, AI could easily compare supply-ordering histories, inventory, patron-ordering histories, among others, to streamline ordering, ensure less waste and entice repeat customers to keep repeating.
These are but a smattering of possible applications for AI in the future. There is almost no industry that will be immune to its advances. And, it is most definitely the time to begin learning about possible applications for your business and your industry, because the first mover in this field could find itself with all the marketshare to themselves…
Find the right partner, hire the right team, learn from the right companies… You might not be building the computing system of the future yourselves, but Google and others are; you are going to want your business to flourish because of this new direction, not in spite of it…