How Artificial Intelligence Will Help The Executives Of The Future

Dec 18, 2017

With applications ranging from conversational chatbots to self driving cars, artificial intelligence is set to transform the world over the next decade. Perhaps best defined as the automation of tasks that previously required human intelligence, AI is already being deployed to analyse images, to understand human speech and to find patterns in data.

To ensure that their businesses retain their competitive edge, it will be crucial for the executives of the future to understand how to harness this technology – and 81% of Fortune 500 execs agree that AI is an important area for investment. Indeed, AI has an enormous potential to assist with decision making and to augment the executive skillset.

Big Data

One of the key challenges of the modern C-suite is the exploding quantity of data now available, and the expectation that business decisions will be justified and validated with statistical evidence.

Big Data is showing no sign of going away, with the Internet of Things and the wearables market further adding to the number of datapoints on hand – in fact IDC predicts that the worldwide sum of recorded data will increase by ten times in the decade from 2016 to 2025. While there are a range of tools available to help managers grapple with these datasets, AI has a critical role to play in pattern recognition and the interpretation of data to predict the future.

Businesses like Palantir are already using AI technology to generate market forecasts and to identify anomalous patterns that may be indicative of criminal behaviour. As well as being applied to fraud detection, Machine Learning algorithms can help execs to plan for the future, to optimise processes and to identify profitable audience segments. What’s more, these algorithms won’t just deliver nuanced insights but will learn and improve themselves over time.

This technology also unlocks the potential for smart marketing – delivering highly specific messages to individual customers at precisely the time that they will be the most effective. This will provide service tailored to the customer as standard and at scale.

Savings

The concept of automation naturally suggests that AI may allow businesses to automate tasks and roles and hence to reduce staffing costs – and there are already firms working to deploy AI to tackle complex jobs like writing newspaper articles and analysing legal contracts.

Most agree, though, that AI is not yet driving redundancies – Facebook chatbots aren’t replacing customer service reps, after all. Instead, artificial intelligence can perform rote work, augmenting human labour and allowing staff to focus on more skilled work. Moreover, contemporary AI is not transferable from one task to another but is best viewed on an application-by-application basis. It will hence become a DevOps priority to establish exactly where AI can be deployed and where it will provide the most value possible.

Augmentation

In short, AI can assist the executive at almost every level:

• Automating admin tasks and rote work

• Interpreting Big Data to provide actionable market insights

• Forecasting future events based on historic trends

• Providing improved customer service

• And allowing savings to made across the business, while realigning staff to the most skilled tasks that they are responsible for

Given its potential, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the AI market is predicted to be worth $60bn by 2025. While artificial intelligence is still rapidly evolving, it’s crucial for managers and executives to begin to explore use cases and to develop the personal skills needed to manage AI tools and to interpret and analyse data. It will also be important to rethink how organisations function, from the ground up, and to consider precisely how humans will work alongside automation tools in the future. Laying this groundwork will place businesses on a firm footing to take advantage of what AI has to offer – and to remain competitive in an era of unprecedented digital transformation.




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