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Get Real About Artificial Intelligence

29 May 2018
Get Real About Artificial Intelligence

“The future is here now.” Nowhere is this statement truer than in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the rapidly expanding range of its applications.

AI may be defined as an exponential increase or enhancement of a human brain’s natural capacity for data acquisition and processing. Where the brain has “only” 300 million data processors, AI’s processing capabilities are limited only by technology that drives it, which means that these capabilities will continue to expand as technology continues to evolve.

Closely related to AI is Machine Learning (ML), which is exactly that: machines are being “taught to teach themselves” according to the data that is fed to them. Both AI and ML-driven technology gathers and processes data far more quickly and in far greater amounts than even the smartest human being ever could.

With data being harnessed in practically every facet of our daily lives and particularly in every business segment, the use of AI and ML for business is fast becoming the norm. Healthcare and Life Sciences, Agriculture, Food & Beverage, Automotive, Financial Services and Trading are just some of the industries whose operations have integrated AI, not to mention IT and Cybersecurity.

All these changes brought about by AI might seem daunting to the lay or non-technical man on the street who, regardless of his job or specialisation, will have to adapt to these changes. Once the stuff of science fiction, AI is changing the way everyone works for the better, and it is up to everyone to make the most of it.

How AI is Transforming Industries

Businesses have long since recognised AI as indispensable to gaining and maintaining their competitive edge. Because of its virtually limitless data processing abilities, AI has an integral role in big data gathering and analysis. Augmenting or extending our natural data processing capacity with AI means being able to gain deeper, more actionable insights and making better informed business decisions.

This is particularly true in the financial services industry where fintech is enabling banks and investment firms to use AI in areas such as investment research and market analysis, loans processing and fund management.

Where it was once impossible to provide products and services or even communications that were exactly tailor-fit to millions of individuals, the enhanced data gathering and processing capacities of AI and ML will make this high-level customisation possible.

These capacities have proven invaluable for retail, e-commerce and other industries involved in individual customer interactions. Brands are now able, for instance, to suggest products according to a buyer’s choices, or even to suggest products according to a buyer’s budget.

Marketing communications also rely on AI for their customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Chatbots can now provide customers with the information they seek thanks to AI, which also makes it possible for advertisers to base their messages and campaigns on data.  

AI-powered customisation has also made an impact on medical services where diagnoses, prescriptions, and care can now be individualised much faster, and at a much higher level.

Streamlining, optimising and automating many, if not practically all of a business’ operations is also possible with AI. It can facilitate large-scale monitoring and analysis activities, for example, in verticals such as industrial farming and livestock, and energy production and management.

AI likewise enables preventive measures such as those used in large-scale cybersecurity by detecting anomalies, identifying patterns, anticipating threats, and taking the necessary steps.

Resolving AI Issues

While AI was developed with the best intentions of making life easier for everyone, coping with the transformations brought about by AI is not as straightforward.

For starters, the development, implementation and management of AI in the workplace require specific expertise of which there is, as yet, a profound shortage. There is also a lack of experts who know how to manage the data produced by AI. Quoting a study by SMU and JP Morgan, Singapore’s Economic Development Board has noted the fast-growing demand for data analytics skills.

With the staggering amount of data that can now be collected, data overload or a failure to effectively manage data can actually pose a significant problem that could hinder business operations.  App Developer Magazine says companies fail 60 to 80% of the time in attempting to put all that data to practical use.

And because AI will need supporting infrastructure, businesses will also need to make sizeable investments into the necessary hardware. Many organisations that would like to get started on integrating AI into their operations say that their current data capacities fall short of being able to support it, and find themselves having to invest further into data management systems.

But perhaps the biggest challenge faced by businesses in adopting AI and ML is the growing concern over humans being replaced by machines—put simply, humans are worried that machines will be taking away their jobs. Algorithms, for instance, are seen to do the work of accountants, analysts, fund managers, and even lawyers.

Many industry observers, however, maintain that AI is meant to supplement and not to supplant human capabilities in the workplace. Robots, for example, have also been seen to work alongside humans in manufacturing facilities.

Proponents of AI add that in taking over tedious, repetitive tasks, it actually frees up humans to work on more important, higher level activities that need that irreplaceable human touch.  

Artificial Intelligence: A Layman’s Approach

Recognising the eventual need for practically everyone to move in step with AI-driven transformation, SMU Academy offers the Artificial Intelligence: A Layman’s Approach programme for professionals looking for a deeper understanding of AI in the workplace.

IT managers as well as other workers with a business function at their respective organisations will better appreciate what AI and ML are, as well as their different types and underlying issues. Under the instruction of Marvelstone Ventures Founding CEO, Joel Ko Hyun Sik, programme participants will also get to see the AI strategies employed by tech majors as well as AI in action across different industries.

Grab the future by the horns by getting better acquainted with AI. Get registration details for the Artificial Intelligence: A Layman’s Approach programme, now.