Warning, artificial intelligence will soon enter your computer and agents will begin automating your work. Does this statement make you nervous? It shouldn’t. The realities of AI are a lot different than what Hollywood has conditioned you to anticipate from the software.
First we need to understand that AI is already being incorporated into software. Recently we have seen Salesforce’s Einstein taking shape, Oracle has begun marketing their Adaptive Intelligent Applications and IBM’s Watson is beginning to pop up everywhere. Each of these tools are defined as AI and might automate some of your daily work. But what will the software actually do to impact your professional life?
The first key function of AI will be to automate simple tasks, which will become more complex over time, freeing the worker to focus on higher value activities. For example, Jane and Bill need to have a meeting. Both of their calendars are accessible via the internet. AI compares both calendars, applies each individual’s preferences and other variables and sets the meeting.
The part which makes this particularly exciting is that the AI will be able to implement self-improving output from your preferences to prioritize meeting times. So if you prefer to skip lunch and cut out around 4:30, then your AI agent will be more likely to offer a noon conference call. In other words, machine learning will simplify your mundane work tasks. This automated scheduling functionality is already available from x.ai.
A second area where AI promises early benefits is in providing decision support with large data sets. We can all agree that complex data sets make decision-making more thorough and difficult. AI will help to simplify the decision making process, by managing the data for us.
For example, physicians manage large sets of data from the many tests run on a patient, as well as their medical history. A complete blood count is a common front-line test which normally measures red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit and platelets. Abnormalities in any of these counts could indicate thousands of different afflictions. More tests are needed to begin navigating and eliminating possibilities. Public health information from hospitals and physicians around the world must also be factored in, creating a massive data set. Managing the rapidly growing tomes of information is a daunting task.
However, an AI agent has the ability to manage the information, through an electronic medical record, apply known medical science and learn to anticipate next steps. As health care continues to evolve, so can the software with machine learning. However, the software doesn’t replace the physician’s interaction with the patient, physical exam, intuition or ability to diagnose.
In the business world, we are beginning to see AI taking hold and many different professions are becoming early benefactors from the software. In human resources, AI is beginning to assist with reviewing resumes, automating portions of the annual review process and coordinating employee training. Sales teams will start to benefit from AI’s ability to apply machine learning to anticipate needed intelligence about a prospect, a deal, inventory, staffing, order status and other information. And won’t it be great when AI begins identifying when remote machinery needs maintenance or is on the verge of needing repairs, thus increasing the efficiency of a production facility?
The best part of AI making its way into business applications is that it will live in a familiar place. Users won’t have to use additional software to overcomplicate matters, instead it will be embedded inside the products they already use. It will work as a convenient feature that simply makes life easier. Eventually, the AI functionalities will become as unnoticed as the vast vocabulary built into your spell check software.
Artificial intelligence is the next evolution we are seeing in the software industry. While many people are concerned that this is the beginning of robots replacing humans, the reality is that AI will simply make humans more efficient and effective in the working world.