Artificial intelligence is already here. When you visit a website and a popup window featuring an attractive face asks you if you have any questions, that’s probably not a real person. Instead, it’s a bot that has learned to answer questions just like a human. AI is also behind all of those driverless cars you keep hearing about but have probably not seen in person.
Artificial intelligence is simply the capability of computer systems to learn from various sources of input and to become more and more intelligent. Google, Amazon, NetFlix, and Tesla are just a few examples of brands who are doing amazing things with this technology.
In fact, you probably couldn't spend more than an hour online without running into some type of technology driven by artificial intelligence. AI is used to learn patterns, make predictions, and formulate appropriate responses.
While AI capabilities have been around for decades, there weren’t many practical uses for it in the past. This is why for many years, references to artificial intelligence remained largely in the realm of sci-fi. Now, that has changed.
Thanks to the internet, big data, and consumer demand for better user experiences, AI has a newly found usefulness. What’s even more exciting than that is the fact that AI will have a huge impact on the future. To put it into perspective, 32 percent of software technology and IT companies invested in AI in 2016. Keep reading to learn more.
Here are just a few of the ways that AI will impact our future.
Our Possessions Will Become Smarter And More Connected
Fifteen years ago, you could expect to invest around 2 grand in a decent home computer system. Now, this technology has gotten significantly smaller. It’s also cheaper as well. Because of this, nearly anything that is powered by electricity can have a computer or processor put inside of it. Our thermostats, home security systems, appliances, and other items are now available as connected devices.
At the moment, the internet of things is still relatively small. This is partial because people might go more than a decade before they replace a dishwasher or refrigerator. That means adopting these new technologies is a slow process. However, in the future owning connected appliances, cars, and other devices will be the norm.
That isn’t the only change the future will bring. Most IOT devices only communicate with one or two sources. For example, your thermostat might be connected to an app on your phone. However, in the future that is likely to change. Imagine your car sending a signal to your thermostat when it senses you are fifteen minutes from home. The thermostat could then automatically adjust from a budget friendly temperature to one that is more fit for humans in anticipation of your arrival. The head of your electric toothbrush might even work with your refrigerator to include ‘new toothbrush heads’ on your weekly shopping list.
As connected devices become the norm, businesses will find new ways to use artificial intelligence to create more connections. This will create better customer experiences, and make life more convenient for us all.
Brands Will Use Machine Learning to Serve Customers Better
If there is one thing that meets the ‘classical’ definition of artificial intelligence that is familiar to most, machine learning would be it. If you’ve ever interacted with Cleverbot or seen the movie AI, what you have seen is a humanized version of machine learning. This is essentially a computer system that not only memorizes input but adapts as well.
Picture a chatbot offering up automated customer service on a website. However, instead of just being able to answer direct questions or memorize some basic exchanges, the bot can detect when a customer is getting frustrated. This could then be used as a signal to provide reassurance or to ask the customer if they want to escalate the issue. Even more exciting for brands would be a bot driven by artificial intelligence that could sense when a customer was most receptive to making a purchase or listening to a sales pitch. The bot could then signal a real sales rep or customer service representative to take over. It could also initiate a discussion about special offers or discounts. Machine learning can even play a role in improving the internal processes and procedures in an organization. For example, by analyzing customer responses to social content, a system might recommend that a marketing team improve writing to increase engagement.
More Brands Will Start Using Their Data For Analytical Purposes
A large part of artificial intelligence will be in the area of data and analytics. Unfortunately, most companies are not taking advantage of the data they have stored beyond operational purposes. The result of this is that they don’t truly have the insight into their customers’ behaviors, values, and needs that they should. In fact, companies that aren’t using data are missing huge opportunities to gain and retain loyal customers.
Currently, there are many tools available that can be used to clean and refine data for analysis, as well as tools that can be used to perform that analysis. In the future, there will be even more of these tools available, the price points for them will lower significantly, and this will make the process of data analysis more accessible to smaller businesses.
What’s the role of AI in all of this? Currently, analytics tools only give users the information that they ask for. When artificial intelligence is added to the mix, the tools will be able to anticipate which data is useful and even arrange that data in ways that are most useful for the user. As a result, the information can be used to gain even more insight. This can be used to enhance customer experiences, and recognize points of disconnect.
Predictive Analytics Will Become The Next Big Thing
Data itself, and even the analysis performed using that data all contains patterns. Just like you used patterns in school to predict what might come next in a row of shapes and symbols, artificial intelligence can be used to recognize patterns as well. Then, it to can predict what comes next. However, rather than predicting a shape or color, AI might be used to predict customer behavior or the popularity of a product at a given time.
Over time, systems can become smarter and even better able to formulate predictions that are accurate. The development of this intelligence will likely come from not just better capabilities within the systems themselves, but also an increased availability of data from which to learn. Think of all of those connected devices and appliances that people will have. Now, imagine those all feeding data into a household management system that will eventually learn your family’s patterns of behavior. This could then be used to recommend schedule changes and other things to help make your daily life run more efficiently.
It’s not difficult to imagine non-competing brands sharing data with one another to enhance their predictive analytics abilities as well. Imagine airlines, hotels, and rental car companies sharing aggregate data with one another so that each brand could improve their abilities to predict patterns in the behavior of travelers.
There likely will not be a watershed moment that changes the way AI impacts our daily lives. Instead, it will be a gradual process where data becomes more available and AI is slowly incorporated into analytics tools.
Malia Keirsey is an ambitious guest contributor, writer and web designer for this reviews page. She has finished the University of Chicago with master’s degree in sociology. Today, she is fond of blogging and writing about internet marketing, tech, and education. Follow @MaliaKeirsey on Twitter.