ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND ITS EFFECT ON BUSINESSES IN THE UK
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence or AI for short means in it’s simplest form that computers can perform tasks or complete work that is normally done by a human.
With the technology available now, you actually don’t have to be super brilliant or be wear a lab coat in a fancy laboratory to use AI. AI is everywhere. It is on our phones, offices and even on our washing machines.
From a business perspective, there have been some worries over the years as to how AI would affect the economy of countries. This article would be discussing what effect AI has on businesses in the UK.
Before going in depth into that let us first consider the advantages and disadvantage that AI poses to businesses in UK.
Pros of AI
1. Less Error and more efficiency
The introduction of AI to business operations has made them easier to complete and also with minimal error. Computers barely make mistake unless there is fatal flaw with the installation or data inputted into the system.
In today’s competitive market, businesses would definitely do better if fewer errors are committed on a daily basis.
Computers now have the ability to collect different types of data in large numbers with minimal error and this has saved companies a lot of money over the years.
There is also not a reduction in effectiveness at the end of the day unlike humans who are prone to make errors towards the end of the day, when they are tired.
2. Everyday Use
You are probably reading this article on your phone or your tablet, with the use of the internet. AI helps Google to identify keywords when you search for them online so as to bring you the best result for your search. This is why businesses now pay big bucks to writers and other freelancers so that they rank high when people search for certain keywords.
Another daily use of AI is the use of GPS. GPS helps us to navigate, telling us when to turn left or right and also alerting us when we get to our destination. AI integrated into the GPS system is what allows it to do so.
3. Virtual/Digital Assistant
Siri, Alexa and virtual assistants are all familiar use of AI. They are integrated into our phones and they do almost everything a personal assistant will do for us. With the help of these virtual assistants, meetings can be set up and also reminders and to- do lists.
Aside from that news alerts about certain issues, say for example a dip in stock prices or a new startup funding can all be sent directly to you.
4. Experiments and Simulation
AI is used in experiments. This is especially useful in the medical field. With the use of Artificial Intelligence, doctors and specialists can know what medical procedure would be best without causing complications.
Businesses can also use this feature of AI. Companies can use AI to simulate how well customers would accept a product based on the information that they have on hand. AI can also be used to run advertisement campaigns.
AI is also used in simulation. It means AI is used to predict what would happen in the future based on data from the past. Simulating with AI helps to determine to a great extent what different scenarios could result from change in some of the input variables.
5. Handling of repetitive jobs
Monotonous jobs that normally bore humans out can now be performed every time with the use of AI. Mobile games where the person plays with Computer is an example. Thanks to AI, the computer is able to identify your moves thereby making it’s own counter moves.
Cons of AI
1. Loss of Jobs/Unemployment
AI causes loss of Jobs. When the AI was first introduced into the manufacturing industry, a lot of companies laid off their workers because the new machine could do what human did, and in fact do it better. These companies were also thinking of how much they’ll save from the salaries formerly earned by these workers.
AI is expensive. A lot of people cannot afford high end phones that have more AI features. The maintenance and repair for it is also expensive.
Many people argue that this would make the gap between the rich and the poor only grow wider.
3. Lack of Human emotion and Judgement
AI could try all it can, but it would never give that human touch like a human would give another human. Chatbots replacing customer care service providers are effective but they do not show empathy or concern that is usually associated with humans.
Most of AI is also based on algorithm and as such they work as they have been programmed to without showing flexibility. One case where AI failed miserably was when there was a shooting in a mall and many people were trying to get an Uber to get them out of the area. The demand for the service was high, and then the prices started going up because that was how the program was designed ( To increase fare when the demand was high).
Normally a human would have lowered the fare or as a matter of fact not charged at all because their lives were at stake. AI did not.
How to Use AI to Enhance Marketing
The one goal of marketing is to make profit. To make profit you need to understand what the consumer wants. The growth of AI over the years has made it possible so that the consumer not only buys a product but also has a complete customer experience (CX).
Just think about the way brands and companies are going about their businesses today. Most people in the UK first get to hear of a product or service from social media or from a targeted ad. After their purchase, customers are also updated about new happenings in the company, which makes them feel as though they were a part of the company.
To make a their marketing better and not just a one-time sale, brands and businesses all over UK have made wise use of AI. Companies in the UK and also the world over have started to understand what power AI holds in making their business grow.
Although many of these companies might have been resistant in the beginning, the prevalence and clear advantage of AI cannot be overlooked. According to some recent statistics, 4.5 in 10 businesses plan on making use of AI to improve customer experience. 55% of those businesses plan on improving their customer experience by increasing customer loyalty.
Here are some of the many ways that businesses in the UK can use AI to improve their marketing and overall image.
• Use of Chatbots
Chatbot is short for Chat Robots. Chatbots are mostly used to respond to inquiries and complains that customers have.
Although chatbots are still relatively new, they can help in greatly reducing the time taken to respond to customers complain. With the help of machine learning, chatbots are programmed to answer general questions and filter inquiries. Filtering the inquiries make it possible for it to know which one to pass on to human.
There is no need to fear though about chatbots replacing humans. This is because most people actually prefer if they were chatting or talking to humans too. That human touch is still needed.
• Participate in Social listening
Social listening as the name implies has to with listening to what people say about your company on social media.
Most companies have an online presence spread across different social media accounts. This is great, but as the brand grows it becomes more difficult to track or analyze how much interaction your customers are having with your company.
This is why social listening automation is necessary. With the help of social listening automation, companies don’t miss the interaction their customers have with them. Most times the interaction is grouped into three categories (Positive, Negative and Neutral). This helps to give a general overview of the public sentiment.
• Automate Customer Interaction
Customers can get a more personalized response when interacting with companies with the use of AI. AI helps to understand what the customer likes or is interested in and therefore offers products or services that suit the interest or like.
• Targeted advertisement to customers
Just like with the automated customer interaction, marketers in the UK get to be able to present personalized or targeted advertisements to their customers.
Google for example, is making great use of AI in this regard. Over the years, the company has collected information about people. This information includes where they go, what they search for online, what emails they receive. With the use of this information, Google then presents advertisements that are related to the collected information.
Have you ever wondered why you get Ads on your phones regarding a place you recently visited or for a product you recently searched for? That is AI at work. This is a goldmine for marketers.
The Impact of AI on Business
No doubt we live at a time that our ancestors would be so envious of in term of the advancement in technology and how easy things get done today. This is arguably the most exciting time in the history of man.
AI has been used to bridge the physical, digital and biological worlds. This part of the article focuses on the challenges for the development and implementation of AI technologies and also the consequences for business and society in general.
Current models of AI stem from cognitive and neural science, with the idea that we should not program machines by telling them what to do each step of the way, but that we should teach them to learn to solve problems themselves.
This approach is made possible by the convergence of increasing computer power, big data and machine learning. We must therefore think more in terms of cognition and neuroscience, rather than algorithms.
One of the main hardware architectures used in AI technology is Neuromorphic Computing, a model for computation that is closely aligned with the natural structure of a neural network. Neuromorphic hardware has very low power consumption and can scale easily to perform under expanding workloads – it is anticipated to gain momentum with the increasing demand for AI. Cognitive Horizon The concept of cognitive horizon, a phrase coined by Dr Felix Hovsepian, can be used to describe the cognitive limitations of a system.
It is the sum total of all knowledge that a system can potentially possess at any instant in time – that is, a set of given ‘facts’, or information, that it holds together with the result of all reasoning performed on this information to produce new deductions. For example, a smart watch worn to monitor by a patient’s health might possess the information to recognise when factors such as their heart rate or blood sugar are higher or lower than their normal baseline. Using this information, the system would have the ability to then deduce when the patient is getting sick, and formulate a relevant treatment.
The AI system would be able to make better and accurate deductions as new set of facts are added to the system. This means that the system “learns” new methods and understands what the result of several of different facts would be. Eventually, an AI system has the ability to grow its knowledge and insights – its cognitive horizon – far beyond what a human can do themselves, reaching new levels of understanding.
The effort, funding and time that can be consumed by AI development should not be underestimated. For example, the concept of neural networks birthed in the 1940s only began to bear fruit recently. In order to determine the resources and time needed for a successful AI project, it is useful to have a framework for defining the nature of the problem being addressed, and the type of innovation needed to approach it.
In a 2012 article, Greg Sattell outlined 4 categories of innovation:
• Basic research: The type of work done at universities to discover how things work, with no clearly defined problem or outcome.
• Sustaining innovation: Work commonly done by corporate organizations such as Apple to address clearly defined problems, e.g. Developing pocket-sized iPods with a large amount of memory.
• Disruptive innovation: New approaches to old products and services – often you won’t know what you are looking for until you see it.
• Breakthrough Innovation: A field may have trouble moving forward and breakthroughs often come from newcomers with a fresh approach.
A ‘Breakthrough Innovation’ can be described as an ‘Invention’ because it involves the process of creating an entirely new product or service. In the case of an innovation, it has to do with the process of improving an already existing product or service
Ethics and Jobs
Most leaders within the AI community have predicted that a significant proportion of jobs will be automated, McKinsey & Company suggests the figure could be as high as 45%. The real worry according to the leading AI scientist and director of research at Google is how to prepare for the mass elimination of jobs that is surely coming.
In a recent article, Klaus Schwab takes not of the ever increasing gap between progress and society’s ability to respond to its consequences. He emphasizes the need for all stakeholders to collaborate to deliver our future by design rather than default, and to ensure new technologies are used to create a better world rather than one of increased disparity and insecurity. Much debate is needed before we decide on the form our future society should take.
How Does AI Affect The Economy Of UK?
Questions have been raised as to what effect AI would have on the economy of the UK. In a survey carried out by Accenture, more than 6,300 business and IT executives were asked questions. About 84% agreed that technology has made it possible for companies to integrate themselves into the everyday life of people.
Taking a look at Amazon for example, we see that the company has integrated itself into the lives of millions of people with its AI assistant Alexa.
Customers today want the best services ever and they are willing to look elsewhere to other companies that would always treat them as kings and give them the “Customer is always right” treatment. Businesses are fast realizing that they need to alter the way in which they interact with their customers to meet their demands. The introduction of robots and AI will offer an opportunity to change the way interaction is carried out.
He continued by saying “Cognitive systems are self-learning systems that simulate the way a brain works using data mining, analytics and natural language processing to learn, interact and make decisions. Intelligent automation technology will amplify human capabilities, working seamlessly alongside people to uncover underlying patterns and trends, provide better insights, make decisions, and prescribe actions more efficiently – ultimately improving customer experience over all.”
UK consumer attitudes
OpenText, the leaders in enterprise information management, recently surveyed 2,000 UK consumers on what their opinion was about AI and robot technology.
The survey showed that UK customers see the advantages of AI. The breakthroughs that this technology has made in healthcare seem to be one of the main reasons for their decision. 33% of UK customers believe that technology would help to identify their illnesses much earlier.
Aside from a quick diagnosis, they also believe that the diagnosis would be an accurate one according to 25% of UK customers.
Robo-advisors in government
Two thirds of UK citizens (66%) believe robots will be working within government by 2037, with 16% thinking this could happen within the next 1–2 years. Those surveyed did not fear this introduction of robot technology in government. In fact just over one in four (26%) UK citizens think robots would make better decisions than elected government representatives.
Despite believing robots would make better decisions, 16% said they would still want humans to make the final decision. When asked which government functions could be better performed by robot / intelligent automation technology, one in ten UK citizens (10%) said robots would make better decisions on the economy than humans.
When asked about the biggest benefits of the introduction of robot technology in government, the research revealed that one in five (20%) UK citizens think there would be less admin and form filling to complete as the result of introducing robot technology into government.
Reduced waiting times’ would be the biggest benefit – nearly a quarter of UK citizens (24%) identified this as an issue robots could help improve, and nearly one in five (19%) believe there would be fewer errors in government processes.
AI is still very much in its early stages and evolving. It is important however that we pursue meaningful and useful machine intelligence and consider the impact new technologies have when used together rather than individually. Whether AI is used to replicate a job an human would normally carry out or for more advanced or complex work, it would be driven by how well the models of computation are. For example, whether self-driving cars will be completely automated or need human assistance is open to debate. However, businesses looking at AI today should not be concerned as to how they can make their system cheaper or faster but rather what they can do to that is different from what has been done before to better the lives of the people.