By 2025 the AI market is estimated to be somewhere between $60 Billion to over $100 Billion.
AI has been known to increase the productivity of businesses by over 40%
Investment in AI startups has gone up 6 times since the last 20 years
The direction we’re heading in is clear, but don’t panic just yet.
What’s even under discussion here?
Most of us by now are well aware of AI (Artificial Intelligence), but machine learning might be a new concept. Essentially, it is the next step in basic AI.
Artificial Intelligence is often described as ‘Machine Intelligence’. This means that the machine is able to intelligently carry out tasks which range from face recognition and natural language processing to problem solving and making scientific contributions.
Substitute ‘intelligence’ with ‘learning’ and think about what that means. You will most likely get pretty close to the actual meaning. It is machines learning things that have not been fed into their program. To be clear, they are not taking up painting and gardening as hobbies or learning new skills of their own accord. It only means that once they face a hindrance or experience something new in their functions, they are able to apply it to their future workings to improve their methods.
The question we’re posing here is:
How useful is this potential of robots for humans? Can they help us make more money?
Yup. They sure can.
Already, a lot of the biggest businesses in the world such as Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Pinterest and even big stores such as Walmart are using machine learning. It manifests in the form of chatbots, image curation, advertising, spam moderation (in case of social media) and even streamlining commercial intent (for retail businesses, especially online shopping).
While AI and ML at the workplace and in business may seem a bit sinister and ominous to some, it can easily be seen as freeing humans of menial or tedious jobs.
Imagine having to go through everything a user on a social media website saw or liked or commented on and then to take out averages and look at the Ad options you can offer this particular individual and then placing them around strategically. Now imagine doing that for millions of people. How many workers will be required and how much time will it take? You can also think a bit about having to go through each public page and platform to take care of spam for good measure. These are all tasks computers are performing for us.
Therefore, it is not altogether a false statement to say that instead of spoiling things for humans, these technological advances actually take the boring jobs off of our hands. Is this statement somewhat naïve, completely overlooking the statistics on jobs and employment rates? Maybe. The point about us not needing to do boring jobs and instead focusing on more intellectually demanding ones is still valid though.
Anyhow, now that we know AI and ML are here to stay and where the big businesses stand with them, one may ask
Is it a viable option for small ones?
The first part of the answer is that it is actually no longer a question of whether it will happen or can it happen. Reason being that it has already happened. As individuals become more dependent on technology and access becomes easier and cheaper, those who are running those businesses are becoming more dependent on these bots and assistants. Maybe ‘dependent’ isn’t the correct term, but we are all surely becoming more accustomed to their presence and used to their help. So to some extent, AI and ML are both being used in businesses, big or small, because they are being used by those who run those businesses.
Where investment in this technology is concerned, however, the situation is slightly different. Let us show you some statistics here
- In the last 4 years the use of AI in businesses grew about 270%.
- From 10% this usage has increased to a whopping 37% in 2019.
Given below are some examples to point out to you changes that you have probably already seen without realizing they are the answer to your question.
Everyone says hi now
Every website for a service or business, big or small, has its own chatbot now. They always say hi and ask you if you need any help-much like the sales persons at stores who everyone is always trying to evade. They’re everywhere now but it’s cool because robots don’t have feelings. You can go right ahead and ignore them like you wish to do with sales humans.
A lot of the records are automated
Payrolls, accounting work, and even financial analysis can be achieved through software robotics. You will not need an actual physical futuristic robot to sit down and make these for you. Robotic software can achieve this.
All things in one place
Cloud applications, though mostly in use by big organizations, can be used by startups if they’re outsourcing any work or if a bunch of people are working together from their homes. It is a great help with management and HR work.
For smaller businesses, investing small amounts into these software and technologies has the added benefit of reducing the amount of employees needed to run basic operations. It is in a way saving costs. We are aware that it sounds horrible. It is, in a way, encouraging employers to hire robots instead of people, but this shift might just prove to be the nudge humanity needs to progress even more.
There is already a concept floating around called Robotic Process Automation (RPA). The main idea behind it is to use ML to teach software how humans work on computers to perform their everyday office tasks- the kind of tasks that can be automated. So instead of a bunch of people designing an application/software to do something from scratch, the software will learn on its own from those who do it and those processes will then be automated.
With assistant AI taking care of all the laborious work, it frees us humans up for creative, intellectual, and innovative endeavors. It might just work like tough love and end up pushing people to spend their time with better more stimulating and consequently gratifying work.
If you came here for advice, we say go for it. Make that investment. Get that sweet dolla!