How to Leverage Artificial Intelligence in Your Business

By now, most of us have heard about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Once the exclusive domain of science fiction and futuristic movies, it is now becoming prolific in many aspects of our society!

But do you understand what it is? Are you and your business prepared for AI and how are you leveraging it in your business today?

AI has been around and evolving since about 1956 and it is now advancing at a speed that is almost incomprehensible!

According to Ray Kurzweil, the speed of advancement of society today is accelerating exponentially. Furthermore, he asserts that the entire progress of the 20th century would have been achieved in only 20 years at the rate of advancement we saw in the year 2000. So, the rate of advancement in the year 2000 was 5 times as fast as the average in the entire previous century!

He believes that another 20th century’s worth of advancement happened between 2000 and 2014 and another will happen between 2014 and 2021! In a few decades after this, a 20th century’s worth of progress will take place multiple times in the same year and a decade later it will happen multiple times in the same month!

Basically, it boils down to the “Law of Accelerating Returns.” Kurzweil believes that the 21st century will see 1000 times the progress as the 20th century!

A big part of the changes and advancement that we will see will be both in Artificial Intelligence and made possible by Artificial Intelligence.

Current State

The diagram below comes from a webcast from Dr. Kai-Fu Lee and Peter Diamandis. They classify AI into “waves” and show the high-profile companies that are leveraging AI into the core of their business.

  • 1 – Internet AI
  • 2 – Business AI
  • 3 – Perception AI
  • 4 – Autonomous AI

It is easy to see that everyone of us has been impacted by waves 1 to 3. In many ways, we have already come to rely on these three waves and we take them for granted. Less of us have been impacted by Wave 4 but that is coming much quicker than most of us realize.

Categories of AI

According to Tim Urban (author of the blog Wait but Why), there are three major categories of AI that we need to be aware of:

  • ANI – Artificial Narrow Intelligence: This is weak AI or artificial intelligence in one area only. These systems are in use all through our devices today. For example:
    • Your phone is full of ANI software – from your map apps to the weather apps to product suggestions on Amazon.
    • Your car has ANI systems like anti-lock brakes, fuel injection, car spacing assistance, etc.
    • Email spam filters
    • Google Translate
  • AGI – Artificial General Intelligence: This refers to a computer that is as smart as a human in every way and on every dimension. These systems do not yet exist but it is expected (based on the current rate of technology acceleration) that they will be here by 2025!
  • ASI – Artificial Superintelligence: AI thinker Nick Bostrom defines superintelligence as “an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills.” This is obviously not here yet but it could be here mind-blowing fast after AGI is reached. ASI will be achieved by leveraging AGI and this will accelerate the rate of technology acceleration even faster!

What Can We Do Today

As I mentioned in a past post, AI is not a wild-eyed, science fiction dream . . . the relentless advancement of technology and Artificial Intelligence is impacting and will impact every area of our lives. If you are not on top of your game, it will leave you and your business behind!

So what can your business do to prepare for and take advantage of AI? Here are some ideas to start you off:

  1. Build a continuous learning culture in your organization by encouraging your staff to:
    • Stay abreast of technology changes in your market by working with your industry associations.
    • Read industry association periodicals in and outside of your areas of expertise.
    • Look outside your industry and your market at other industries. What advances are they using that you can leverage?
    • Subscribe to a general technology trend periodical (like those from Deloitte, Peter Diamandis, Wired or even Popular Science).
    • Regularly have your staff host learning forums where they share their knowledge with their peers.
    • Bring in industry leaders and specialists to speak with your staff and educate them.
  2. Think strategically:
    • Set some time aside in your quarterly strategy sessions to brainstorm around how your business is using, could be using, or should be using AI.
    • Join a Mastermind group that contains people from different industries and backgrounds and drive the AI conversation within this group.
    • Collaborate with the businesses that are programming and enabling AI. What can they offer you today that can give you a competitive advantage?
  3. Try pilot projects in your business using AI packages:
    • Look at AI technology that your business may be able to benefit from and run some small-scale projects to see if implementing the software is beneficial.
    • Form some AI technology forums within your industry groups and leverage the learnings from your industry peers and their successful AI programs.

Take Action

Firstly, set aside some time this week to do a deep dive into AI to understand it better. Then assess how you are leveraging it and how you could or should be leveraging it. Don’t shy away from AI or ignore it. Technology and the world is advancing exponentially faster every year and AI will impact your industry sooner or later. Do not be caught off guard!

Finally, review these articles for more information:

 

Technology destroys the perfect and then it enables the impossible.” Seth Godin

 


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