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3 things every business needs to know about AI

AI is a hot topic of conversation the world over. The concept – which is based on the idea of machines being capable of thinking, acting, and learning like humans – is currently seeing computers interact with their environment in a manner considered somewhat “intelligent”. When provided with data, computers are beginning to deal with tasks in ways which mimic (to a certain extent) human thought processes, behaviour and rationality.

This technology, its transformative prospects and how it will manifest in our day-to-day working lives is dominating conversation from boardrooms to breakrooms. Awareness has spread far beyond the IT department, and wider business is now clued up. They’re openly embracing the AI opportunity and implementing technologies of various scales and capabilities.

Are you looking at taking your next AI step? Here are three things to know before going any further.

There’s an AI skills gap companies are struggling to plug

A recent survey revealed a significant AI skills gap on the horizon. Deep learning, (a sub-field of machine learning concerned with algorithms inspired by the brain’s artificial neural networks) was used by 28% of respondents. Its ability to create networks capable of learning unsupervised from unstructured or unlabeled data allows for automated decision making, leaner processes, better results and higher profit. It’s a business tool of unprecedented value.

However, 54% of surveyed companies reported that the deep learning channel of AI would play a key role in future projects. With a 26-point blank space separating expectation and reality, businesses must ask the question; who will do this critical, acutely skilled work? AI talent-seekers find themselves facing a double-edged sword. The expertise is scarce, and an increased appetite for AI threatens a potentially smaller talent pool in the immediate future.

To best prepare for fast-emerging requirements, we recommend consulting with an IT service provider. They can audit your infrastructure, systems and applications to pinpoint exactly where, when and how AI will need to be applied to your business. From here, they can train your teams, put you in touch with a trusted AI provider, or even undertake the work themselves.

Cybersecurity and AI can be a dysfunctional couple

In the not so far away future, AI will transform our ability to take on cyber attacks and safeguard business. As cyber threats – including malware and ransomware – evolve, standard cybersecurity measures will have a harder time keeping up, so a more dynamic approach may be necessary. For example, emerging AI algorithms use machine learning to adapt over time by using data from previous attacks to pre-empt or shape a response. As this new generation of cybersecurity becomes commonplace, the widespread adoption of other AI technologies poses an ironic risk.

With new AI tech comes less user understanding and more in-roads for cybercriminals. It’s an equation loaded with opportunity and jeopardy in equal measure. As digital transformation in your business deepens, make sure that you’re as educated as possible about your AI and its specific functions to identify risk sources. And most importantly, implement the most robust cybersecurity your budget permits to prevent AI from transforming your business in all the wrong ways.

It’s branching out into “human” decision-making territory

In the last year or two, larger companies (and innovating SMEs) have begun to get a much firmer grip on what AI can and can’t do. Recent AI exploration has been characterised by pilot schemes that eventually lead to proven initiatives being soft-launched and deployed company-wide. Data capture and analysis, marketing personalisation and predictive technology (for example, anticipating when machinery may need servicing based on activity) have made their way into the mainstream. But what else awaits?

Expect to see AI becoming involved in decision-making that’s typically centred on the human touch – involving emotion, relationship building and critical thinking. Everything from support, hiring and firing in HR to supply chain management in operations and compliance in legal will feel the beneficial force of AI. These tools will frequently be offered as a service and tailored to purpose, so talk to an IT managed service provider about your ideas – you may be surprised by the accessible costs.

For help identifying the AI opportunities that will future-proof your business, contact Sentis Managed Solutions on 0345 862 2930.