Salvatore Minetti, CEO and founder, Prospex, provides an insight into artificial intelligence and discusses how it can help businesses and the public sector
Over the past few years, the term artificial intelligence (AI) has been used readily by the media, businesses and governmental bodies alike, yet the term is often misplaced.
While the global AI market has reached a value of $2.42 billion – and is projected to hit $59.74 billion by 2025 – the ‘must-have’ technology is still steeped in mystery. In fact, when many people think of AI, they associate it with self-aware robots, or more subdued tech such as driverless cars or pizza delivery drones.
Even businesses are confused about AI. A recent survey found that 67% of global business leaders are distrustful of loading unwanted tasks onto machines. Yet despite the slight resonance and ignorance around artificial intelligence, demand for the technology has continued to grow over recent years; of the same 67% of global business leaders distrustful of the emerging technology, 75% still plan on hiring an AI Chief in the near future.
Importantly, to better understand the sector and take advantage of the new technologies on offer, the UK Government has been proactive in its attempts to create greater awareness about AI across both public and private entities. Following a public inquiry into the development and use of AI, the House of Lords released a report on April 16th offering a series of proposed actions to ensure the UK effectively embraces AI adoption. These recommendations include the development of a policy and regulatory framework to inform and coordinate the sector’s long-term growth, as well as initiatives to promote AI awareness.
So, as AI rapidly becomes more embedded in our working lives and garners increasing interest from the private and public sectors, it is vital that some general questions are addressed: What is artificial intelligence and, more importantly, how can it help both the public and private sectors?
What is AI?
The first question to answer is: what is AI? Fundamentally, AI provides businesses and government bodies with the ability to make better decisions. Instead of assessing data and gaining deeper insights into events that have already happened, AI allows users to predict what will happen next. This ensures the organisations that adopt an AI strategy maintain an edge over their competition, allowing them to hone strategies and predict market outcomes.
While the switch to a forward-facing strategy may seem confusing, the technology essentially cuts down the time to complete administrative tasks. By analysing huge amounts of data from a wide range of sources, AI quickly establishes market trends and recommends informed actions in real-time. Practically, this means that the companies and governmental bodies adopting an AI strategy will be able to generate new insights or streamline processes to either make or save money.
How does AI benefit the public and private sector?
While there remains some confusion around AI at the moment, in the coming years it is set to revolutionise the processes and practices of all manner of organisations.
Crucially, AI benefits both the public and private sector from its use of machine learning (ML). As AI relies on ML systems to analyse potential outcomes, learn from previous mistakes and come up with brand new solutions, it reduces risk. Rather than stumbling from one failed strategy to another, machine learning techniques prevent wasted funds, analysing huge amounts of data and rapidly finding successful strategies.
In the case of government bodies – which must adhere to strict budgets – AI and ML can be used to successfully roll out cost-effective strategies. Earlier this year the Home Office created its own AI programme to identify extremist content online. Rather than relying on staff to manually trawl through endless websites, AI now allows the Government to find potentially dangerous material at a quicker pace, as its system works continuously using a base algorithm. Meanwhile, employees’ time can be reallocated on solving different challenges.
For businesses, the same processes can help them become more efficient in how they utilise both their time and money. For example, by using AI tools sales teams can receive hyper relevant leads, freeing them up from inefficiently scanning CRM systems. Instead, the sales team can concentrate on what they do best: talking to people and selling products.
Providing useful applications across all aspects of the private and public sectors, AI solutions are quickly moving from the realm of science fiction and into reality. Today, organisations of all shapes and sizes must realise that AI has huge potential to improve efficiency, enhance services and create entirely new opportunities. As such, it is vital they approach this rapidly evolving tech with an open mind and develop a plan so that it can be effectively integrated into their operations before too long.