Artificial Intelligence (AI) once seemed to be nothing but science fiction. Today, however, the concept of AI has become, if not quite a daily reality, at least closer to being fully realized than it ever has been before. Machine learning, while not true AI, is certainly being implemented in some different industries. When machines can learn and adjust their programming, it opens many new doors that can lead to unanticipated breakthroughs and benefits, although many companies still haven’t fully realized what AI can do for them. In 2018, however, that may change thanks to some new advancements coming in this field. Here are a few of the ways these advancements will benefit companies.
AI Will Move into a Number of Departments
AI won’t simply be a part of a company’s IT department anymore. Instead, it will spread throughout an entire business. This will lead to a number of changes in terms of how a company operates. First, it will require hiring more AI experts. In fact, some companies have already created senior-level manager positions in order to oversee AI integration and management. IT departments may even spin off separate AI offices to develop and manage various AI applications as well.
As far as where AI will be used, there are several new areas into which it’s likely to expand. Cybersecurity is one of these areas. With the capability to analyze attacks, learn from them, and create new defenses, AI is perfect for protecting against hackers. This is especially true when AI is continually challenged and trained by a company’s own cyber-security team.
Marketing and sales may also benefit from AI use. While AI may not be able to design and layout unique ads, it can help take on more of the daily tasks that do not require human beings to be completed. This includes providing basic customer interactions, offering support, and gathering data. Many websites now offer an interactive chat feature that can answer many common questions which users might have and, when the script isn’t able to provide an answer, transfer a conversation to a real person.
AI can also watch what customers do and put together a list of their behaviors, allowing sales experts to better customize messages and ads for their specific markets. While AI can’t replace the creativity needed in marketing and sales, it can certainly help with the data collection.
While AI may find its way into cybersecurity and marketing, it’s not likely to fully transform businesses just yet. Instead, during 2018 many companies will start to experiment more with AI in order to see just what it can truly do. The popularity of interactive devices, such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa, have shown that AI can become a helpful tool for individuals and families. This year, company leaders will also begin to examine whether or not it can become a useful tool for them.
Where Will AI Be Widely Used?
There will be some areas where AI will definitely be used in 2018. In fact, it’s likely to become the norm in some of these areas. AI chatbots, as mentioned above, have already become fairly commonplace on company websites. These chatbots will likely become even more widely used in 2018. In addition to being added to more websites, AI scripts will also become more complex and able to carry on conversations. These conversations may almost become indistinguishable from chatting with actual human representatives, at least to a certain extent. With the ability to learn and develop new responses, these chatbots will become more helpful to both customers and employees. In addition, it’s likely that voice assistants will begin making their way into the office this year.
Another area within which AI is already in being employed is the user experience. With the ability to learn what a particular user or employee does and likes, AI will be able to transform applications on the fly, creating a more optimized experience for each user. AI can actually help drive various tools to better understand their role and what their user needs them to do. This allows AI to develop tools in such a way as to make them more efficient and user-friendly.
AI will also be useful in any industry where user prejudice or emotion can come into play. AI doesn’t get emotional or have prejudice—it evaluates all users equally based on the data it has, and it can still use judgment that approaches human levels in some areas. For example, AI can assist HR departments in evaluating candidates to hire or even promote by checking for things such as educational qualifications, job experience, and work history. This technology can serve as a type of bias check in order to make certain that hiring and promoting processes are conducted based on merit.
Despite all of this, there’s no reason to fear that AI will someday replace humans in the office. While AI can certainly become incredibly helpful and take over some routine tasks, it can’t be creative or go off instinct. There will always be a place for humans in every industry, even if AI becomes more prevalent and advanced.
While AI has clearly become helpful in some areas, such as online customer support and customization, it’s only just now moving into some other parts of the office. In 2018, companies should expect to hear about AI advancements in cybersecurity, marketing, and sales. Despite becoming more helpful, AI won’t ever take over. In fact, experts don’t expect AI to reduce the number of jobs—instead, it’s expected to create new positions.