There are a lot of misconceptions concerning artificial intelligence circulating in public discourse. Classical works of science-fiction have taught us to think about A.I. either in terms of killer robots, god-like computers, and sly androids, or as the saviors of mankind in the form of automated workers, benevolent star-ship operators, or friendly house servants. The truth is, at least in the present moment, that contemporary artificial intelligence systems are much less proficient at things we thought they would be good at according to works of fiction. However, they are simultaneously pretty skilled and efficient at performing other kinds of tasks, albeit ones which are not as immediately awe-inspiring and spectacular. Also, they are an important part of the global IT economy, and according to this infographic are predicted to make a lot of money in the future.
There are many websites that deal with improving your business in different ways, such as Bootstrap Business, however, in this article, we will examine how artificial intelligence is being introduced into the realm of everyday business operations. While these applications of A.I. might not seem impressive at first, they are nonetheless transforming the way we work in important ways, and here is how.
One of the defining features of A.I., and computer science, in general, is the use of formal syntax. Code is structured according to a strict set of rules, which is what allows it to communicate with hardware in order to perform particular tasks. A beneficial side-effect of the formal nature of code is that it is especially suited for working on problems which are expressed in a similarly formal language. This is why computers are so good at doing math. A less obvious example of where the computational power of A.I. can be used is in the legal profession. The law is also a system of strict rules and regulations, which are expressed in precise terminology. This makes it suitable for machine analysis. For instance, court rulings can be analyzed for particular terms in order to find a common pattern, i.e. that cases which involve a particular offense are more likely to be resolved in favor of the defense. A.I. systems can go through millions of case files in a fraction of the time it would take a person, giving legal experts a powerful tool for understanding and predicting court outcomes.
Not only can A.I. assist with analysis, it can also produce data of the same kind it analyzes. By establishing that there are patterns in the way particular kinds of language are used, the A.I. gains the ability to mimic them. For example, if you feed a large number of similarly structured financial reports into an A.I. capable of machine-learning, it will eventually figure out how to write them itself. To give you an idea of how this works, imagine you have simple spreadsheet document with one column representing countries, and another representing their GDP. We can use this document to reach and express certain conclusions, such as that the GDP of the USA is bigger than Brazil’s for instance. However, doing this for every possible relation between the given data would take a long time to write for a person. Fortunately for us, an A.I. can figure out that the formal relation between columns can be expressed in a natural language such as we used above. This makes it possible to automatically generate things like financial reports, meteorological predictions, email invitations, etc. Should this spark your interest, a plethora of good advice can be found on Infinigeek.
Another area where A.I. found its use is in automating standard office procedures. The functioning of every workplace depends on a host of repetitive activities which are not directly related to the services a company provides, but are nonetheless essential for everyday functioning. This includes arranging meetings, communicating memos, keeping track of case files, finding relevant documents, replying to common customer etc. This used to be the task of various middle management types, but recently virtual A.I. assistants have started taking over this line of work. Keeping track of important but uninteresting information is something A.I. excel at, and people find boring and mundane, so it makes sense to leave this kind of work to them. In other words, A.I. assistants can work in tandem with IT services departments to drastically reduce office busywork and red tape through technological means. This allows employees to focus on solving challenging, creative tasks, instead of concerning themselves with trivial work.
A.I. systems are making more and more inroads into the world of everyday work. And yet a lot of their potential still remains completely untapped. While it is hard to make concrete predictions about what the future holds for, we can at least be certain that it will involve more and more A.I. in the positions of fellow workers, instead of just tools.