The concept of artificial intelligence, which entails machines using data to solve problems and form decisions, has once again risen to the forefront of public conversation.
In 2023, ChatGPT graced the cover of Time Magazine. Technology juggernauts such as Microsoft and Meta have announced elevated financial investment and increased dedicated resources to bolster their efforts in the Artificial Intelligence ecosystem. According to a study published in the Association for Computing Machinery’s Journal, 25% of Americans perceive artificial intelligence as a concept related purely to robots. Such visions of science fiction storylines do not align with reality, and it is essential to understand these technological advances and their potential implications. While artificial intelligence may seem inaccessible and difficult to comprehend, it can help to advance the commercial goals and strategic visions of a business. If you are keen to embrace innovation in your business, consider the following:
Understand The Origins Of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is not a novel concept; its applications can be varied and multi-faceted. Chinasa T. Okolo, a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University, shares: “With the advent of generative AI, there are multitudes of misconceptions rising about AI. In terms of its respective origin, AI has actually been around since the 50s but most of the popular use cases we’ve seen have only started to emerge within the past decade or so. Another misconception people have about AI is that it can solve any type of problem and completely replace human workers. Lots of research, including my own, shows that people have a very low understanding of AI and often assign to it higher capabilities than it actually possesses. Due to this, there is a tendency for people to put a high amount of trust in the decisions produced by AI, something which is referred to as over-reliance.” Several helpful resources can inform people who are early in their understanding of this topic. Raesetje Sefala, who conducts research at the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute encourages individuals who aren’t familiar with AI to leverage free resources such as YouTube, blog posts, and helpful websites such as https://www.katecrawford.net/
Leverage AI For Simple Tasks
Integrating this technology into your business can be relatively easy. For example, you can incorporate a chat function into your website to address frequently asked questions using platforms such as HeyDay, which can answer inquiries about established policies, tracking shipping, etc. Mikel K. Ngueajio, a PhD candidate who conducts research for Howard University’s Affective Biometrics Lab, engages with Artificial Intelligence through her research. When it comes to applying new technologies to help a small business, she reflects: “We associate AI with technical industries like software, engineering, etc. But, AI can be used in non-technical industries. Firstly, there are AI-powered chatbots to share information about opening hours, return policies, etc. An AI chatbot can quickly provide information to ensure that the customer has a positive experience and increase the likelihood that they want to return to the store. Another example of AI is managing inventory or supply chain logistics by automating restocking processes. Overall, AI can help reduce costs and improve forecasting accuracy.”
Refine The Marketing Strategy Of Your Business
It’s no secret that data is king. All businesses, regardless of scale or sector, can benefit from understanding their customers and clients through patterns and trends. Ms Ngueajio contributes additional insights and explains: “AI can be used to analyze customer behavior and preferences so that you can have targeted marketing campaigns. This is Amazon’s and Netflix’s business model i.e get to know the customer more and use that information to recommend better things for them and keep them coming back for more. Small businesses can use reviews, questionnaires, and surveys to do the same. In short, AI has the potential to transform the retail industry as well and improve their overall performances.”
Wordsmith Your Content
Businesses can differentiate themselves by sharing content that resonates with readers. But this can prove to be a time-consuming feat as entrepreneurs work to expand their customer base, meet revenue targets, cultivate a team, and address other priorities. Software such as Grammarly, uses natural language processing to help users write emails and other communications. If you want to have AI produce longer forms of content, then you could consider ChatGPT. ChatGPT has received recognition for its ability to generate articles, blog posts, and other literature based on a short prompt. Founders with a more technical background may weigh the costs and benefits of creating technology in-house rather than purchasing functionalities from another firm. According to Ms Okolo, business leaders should evaluate the following before investing time and resources into creating their own AI: “For business owners training their own models, data collection, data annotation, and model training can be quite pricey due to the resources needed to label datasets, store large sets of data, and train models on the cloud. Additionally, for business owners taking advantage of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) from services like ChatGPT, these methods may be more cost-effective but could also vary in pricing depending on the business needs. Business owners should explore multiple options and decide whether they should develop AI models in-house, outsource AI development, and/or rely on 3rd party services using APIs.”
Develop Visuals For Your Online Brand
This AI functionality has become controversial, but certain software applications can create visuals and art for users. Crystal Bright, an interior designer who specializes in virtual visualizations, recently made a viral post about using AI to create professional headshots. Using that same technology, business owners could curate videos and images to promote their products and services.
With its litany of offerings, Artificial Intelligence clearly merits its popularity in the current conversation. The potential is extraordinary. But there are also limitations to bear in mind. Ms Sefala advises AI users to 1) consider any bias that AI may exhibit based on the underlying data set and 2) be sure to audit the software/conduct quality assurance before rolling it out for broad customer adoption.
AI is not meant to replace your creativity, business savvy, and intellect; instead, use it as a tool to advance your own goals and ambitions.