You’ve probably heard of the term Artificial Intelligence (AI) being referenced in the news recently, on the street, in conferences or even just on Twitter: it’s a really big thing right now in the digital transformation space.
You might be wondering though, what really is AI and what’s the fuss all about? In this article, I aim to demystify AI and share my perspective on what’s an increasingly fascinating, fast-moving area.
So, what’s AI?
The way I think of AI is this: it’s a combination of Computer Science, Psychology, Engineering and Linguistics. In a nutshell, machines are being trained on vast quantities of data to act and behave like humans. Depending on the task, there’ll be tasks that AI can do better - or worse - than us.
Want to quickly enhance a photo? Want to get rid of background wind noise in a video you’ve created? These are some classic examples of how AI can speed up workflows.
Where is it used?
Aside from the examples I’ve mentioned above, there are so many use cases of AI: whether it be in Education, Law, Defence, Retail: you name it. A key example you may have seen in the news though is the rise of Generative AI.
This is a space where we as humans input a prompt into the system, number crunching goes on behind the scenes and the result of the prompt outputs text, an image or sound. A classic, now widely used example is a chatbot, ChatGPT (Chat Pre-Trained Generative Transformer), which I’ll share some more later on.
Before we get to that though, let’s cover an increasingly important area of AI: Automation.
AI use cases: Automation
A key example of where AI is used is automation. Let’s imagine you’ve bought something online and need to check your delivery status or request a return. Instead of waiting on hold to speak to someone, many e-commerce sites allow you to log into your account and “speak” to an automated assistant.
It’ll present you with some options (ie: Where’s my order?), and as you tap through each option you’ll have completed your request in half the time it’d take to get through to someone to act the same request at a call centre.
With these automated assistants, staff in call centres can be focused on complex queries whereas the virtual assistant can be left to take care of the repetitive and mundane tasks.
It’s expected by 2026 that 1 in 10 interactions will be automated, with an expected saving of $80 billion in labour costs. In my view, unfortunately, job losses will be inevitable as AI gets smarter and leaner, but there’s also an opportunity cost attached to it: losses in one area can result in staff being redeployed and up-skilled in other business areas.
The rise of ChatGPT
I’ll now turn to an area that’s linked to automation: ChatGPT. Since this chatbot’s launch back in November 2022, it on average handles 10 million queries a day and is trained on approximately 570GB of data from a variety of sources ranging from websites and books.
Use cases-wise, there’s plenty of them! Let’s take Marketing as an example. Imagine I wanted some inspiration for a new furniture
design company. I input my prompt and ChatGPT outputs my request. When inputting this to ChatGPT the response was fairly long so I’ve redacted some of the text:
I’d personally not recommend relying solely on ChatGPT’s response, but it’s a handy resource if you’re needing help getting started.
In marketing, ChatGPT has intertwined its way into Education. It’s had a mixed response, but on a simplistic level, it can be a very resourceful and time-saving tool for educators from a content creation standpoint. Let’s say a teacher has a group of Computer Science students and wants to test their understanding. Ask ChatGPT to make a quiz!
Helpfully, ChatGPT also gives the answers too:
My thoughts & conclusions
Use cases aside, Artificial Intelligence combines cleverness and controversy. The rise of ChatGPT has resulted in a paradigm shift in how AI helps us live, work and play. As this area continues to evolve and uncover breakthroughs in use cases, ethics will always be a key part of AI: making sure that data is used fairly, lawfully and most importantly sensibly.
It’s important to look at AI holistically without being dragged into the hype. AI will always be an incredibly sophisticated tool that can drive huge amounts of value if you can find an area to utilise it, but it’ll not solve every problem, nor will it be the right fit for every business.
Conversational AI Expenditure: Content Guru. (n.d.). ''. [online] Available at: https:// www.contentguru.com/en-gb/resources/blogs/how-to-reduce-customer-service-costs-with-ai/ [Accessed 25 May 2023].
AI expenditure: AI Business. (n.d.). IDC forecasts global AI spending to go past half-trillion mark by 2023 | AI Business. [online] Available at: https://aibusiness.com/verticals/idc-forecasts-global-ai spending-to-go-past-half-trillion-mark-by-2023 [Accessed 9 Feb. 2023].
AI Expenditure by 2025: IDC: The premier global market intelligence company. (n.d.). Spending on Artificial Intelligence Solutions Will Double in the United States by 2025, According to a New IDC Spending Guide. [online] Available at: https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp? containerId=prUS48958822.