Like it or not, the machines are claiming new territory. And by “machines” I mean artificial intelligence (AI).
Our business and personal lives are touched by AI every day. That friendly lady who took your information and looked up your account when you called your insurance company? A robot.
That helpful service on Netflix that recommends new shows to watch? An AI algorithm.
That stilted voice that gives you directions when you’re lost in a new city? AI.
Amazon’s helpful home assistant, Alexa and Apple’s assistant, Siri? AI.
Without realizing it, we’re interacting with “thinking” machines on an unprecedented level and in forms we had only imagined before. A trends report on artificial intelligence explains:
AI isn’t a singular technology, but an umbrella term that includes machine learning, voice recognition, predictive analytics, among others, to solve a problem.
Artificial intelligence technologies of all forms are gaining momentum in 2018.
Whether you’re excited, indifferent, or stocking a bunker with dry goods, there are a number of ways that your life is likely to be impacted by artificial intelligence in the coming years.
And, if you’re a small business owner, you need to be thinking about how your business is likely to be impacted by AI.
You can’t afford to ignore the opportunities presented by utilizing artificial intelligence technologies in your business. Mark Skilton, Professor of Practice at Warwick Business School shared the following in a policy briefing: AI technologies are likely to provide new market opportunities and competitive advantage. Perceptive organizations are already investing in proof of concept studies to determine whether there are opportunities to benefit from AI.
The numbers bear out his claim. Every business owner and would-be entrepreneur should check out these 28 statistics about AI in 2018—and beyond.
AI in Our Lives
1. AI technology is already touching the majority of people in the United States. The Webby Awards AI Trends Report revealed that: 79 percent of U.S. adults indicated they had used some form of artificial intelligence in the last 12 months, and 65 percent acknowledged that automation has a significant impact on their daily lives.
2. Humans still hold an understandable amount of mistrust for artificial intelligence. It comes as no surprise then that people prefer to reserve the decisions that are most important to their health, wealth and well-being for themselves. Sixty-nine percent of people polled would prefer healthcare decisions to be made personally without the influence of automation. (Webby Trend Report)
3. Sixty percent of those surveyed preferred to handle money matters on their own without AI interference. (Webby Trend Report). But we continue to see services like Wealthfront and Betterment gain more customers, and we expect that more and more people will shift to machine-based investment strategies.
4. Eighty-one percent of people polled anticipate that AI automated devices will drive cars in the next 10 years. We’re already seeing this feature from Tesla and numerous other automakers (in limited form).
Perhaps all of these years of using GPS to help us get around helped pave the way for its AI big brother. Artificial intelligence seems to have earned an accepted place in our transportation future.
5. Eighty percent of those polled expect to see automated devices deliver products to our doors. (Webby Trend Report). This provides an interesting opportunity for smaller businesses to continue to differentiate by providing personal, human-powered service to their customers.
AI is still a field in development. Everyone is keen to jump on board and take advantage of the benefits it offers. But the technology is still evolving to meet the expectations that both businesses and consumers hold. These real-life examples show the mixed results that AI is experiencing today.
6. While the idea of a robot assistant seems appealing to a wide swath of consumers, the reality may not live up to the anticipation. One of the most well-known artificial intelligence agents, Apple’s Siri, is only reportedly used by about 15 percent of iPhone users. That leaves 85 percent of iPhone users who don’t seem to find value in the robot pal who lives in their pocket. (Intelligent Voice)
7. More troubling, 46 percent of iPhone owners who do use Siri, believe that Siri’s capabilities have been “oversold.” As Siri is a primary selling feature for a flagship product from one of the most renowned technology companies in the world, this begs the question—can anyone really execute an interactive voice recognition-based bot in a useful and meaningful way? (Intelligent Voice)
8. The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas has adopted the use of an artificial intelligence concierge called “Rose” to assist their guests and provide a unique interactive experience. Since Rose’s introduction, the hotel has seen a 39% increase in on-site spending and 90% of guests who interacted with Rose reported that they would recommend her. (Social Media Week)
9. Unsurprisingly, the companies who prioritize innovation seem to be better at adopting and taking advantage of new technologies. Narrative Science found that 61 percent of companies with a dedicated innovation strategy are using AI technologies to mine their data for thus-far unidentified business opportunities. This is in stark contrast to the 22 percent of businesses without an innovation strategy who are utilizing AI in the same fashion.
Data mining is still limited to larger companies, but increasingly, tools are available to help even small companies assess their data and turn those assessments into actionable tactics.
For example, even smaller businesses can effectively use chatbots to increase profits. At crowdspring, we fully appreciate the advantages AI can bring to a business. For example, you may have noticed that we use an AI bot for lead generation on our site and our blog, to encourage readers to subscribe. We know that many entrepreneurs and small business owners need help with naming their company, logo design, web design and other graphic design projects, but lead forms are not always the best way to help us measure and follow-up on that interest. The AI bot allows us to adopt a low-key, conversational approach, rather than using forms (as most companies do in such cases).
Who is Driving AI’s Growth?
10. A Forrester Data Infographic reveals that business technology decision makers—or people making technology decisions who work in roles outside of IT—are big proponents of incorporating AI technology into their businesses. Data has shown that: 63 percent of business Technology Decisions Makers (tdms in a role outside of IT) are implementing, have implemented, or are expanding use of artificial intelligence.
11. Traditional tech decision makers (who work in the IT field) are slower to embrace AI technology at 43%.
Are We Ready for AI?
12. A startling statistic from Forrester points out that while more than 60 percent of executives believe that their business is not where it should be in terms of its digital transformation, 20 percent of CEOs will fail to act. Forrester predicts that this will lead those firms to fail or be acquired by other more tech-savvy businesses. (Forrester)
13. Forrester also reports that retailers are largely unprepared to take advantage of intelligent agents, or “bots.” Among many other tasks, these programs can provide shopping suggestions or guide shopping choices for their internet clientele. Forrester’s Predictions 2018 report goes on to explain:
Lack of skills, quasi-differentiated brands, and aged operations are hurdles for traditional retailers—but the role of intelligent agents will be the thorniest issue in 2018. Only 33 percent of retailers understand the disruptive nature of intelligent agents; 67 percent do not.
14. AI technology is still in its infancy and growing pains are inevitable. It’s projected that 75 percent of AI projects in 2018 will fall short of expectations because they “fail to model operational considerations.” But, the good news is that this will likely lead decision-makers to revisit the scope of their AI investments and proceed with a better understanding of the field. Firms will be better equipped to achieve success with this additional learning under their belts.