At Sentient Digital, Inc., we firmly believe that IT can support AI effectively. How does information technology support artificial intelligence?
- Automatic reminders
- Personalized recommendations
- Proactive monitoring
- Fraud detection
Despite these (and many other) increasingly common business practices that utilize AI, there are some who believe that, with the rise of artificial intelligence, information technology will become irrelevant. This myth has been perpetuated largely by a common misreading of the well-circulated article by Harvard Business Review editor Nick Carr.
Although the title of this article boldly states that “IT Doesn’t Matter,” Carr’s argument is actually far more nuanced. He argues that if IT is going to remain relevant and useful to businesses, then it must be willing to restructure and evolve. As modern technology has evolved greatly in the last decade, this statement continues to be true.
Keep reading to discover how your company’s IT department can create a foundation for using AI effectively throughout your business.
Why Should My Company Use AI?
There are many ways to integrate artificial intelligence into your business, and each will come with its own benefits. But when looking at the big picture, there are a few main reasons to use AI:
- Optimizing your business operations. For example, AI can send your team and customers automatic reminders, monitor your network traffic, and much more. Automating these mundane tasks frees up your workers to devote their energy to more important and creative tasks.
- Improving customer experiences. AI allows you to offer customers a personalized experience, which is better suited to meet their needs. Personalized recommendations, for instance, can help customers quickly find the products they are most interested in purchasing.
- Making better business decisions. AI is frequently used to compile huge amounts of data into digestible information, leading to strategic insights and business intelligence that you might otherwise not have discovered.
For many companies, however, the prospect of implementing artificial intelligence is unfamiliar and daunting. Fortunately, when information technology supports artificial intelligence, it is much easier to start incorporating AI into your business. Contrary to popular belief, AI works best as a complement—not a replacement—for IT.
Will AI replace IT?
One reason that many businesses are reluctant to incorporate AI technology is the fear that artificial intelligence will make many jobs irrelevant, resulting in massive world-wide lay-offs.
These fears are not entirely unfounded, given that some jobs can simply be performed better by AI. Warehouse robots, for instance, can usually perform more efficiently than their human counterparts simply because they do not have a corporeal body that needs to periodically eat and rest its muscles.
However, this is not the first time in history that improved technology has resulted in the loss of certain types of jobs. More importantly, these job losses have always been equaled out by the creation of new jobs in both existing and fledgling fields.
Remember when railroads started becoming obsolete in the mid-1900s? Railroads once provided thousands of jobs and were the key to a city’s economic prosperity. People had the same concerns back then about nation-wide unemployment. But with the decline of railroad employment came the creation of many new careers in automobiles and airplanes.
While we cannot predict the future, so far the rise of artificial intelligence has followed similar trends. Thanks to AI, there is a plethora of new jobs in previously existing fields. Biomedical engineers, for example, now create prosthetics with human-like sensory capabilities. Military and aviation electricians now work with flight simulators and drones. AI has also created numerous new job fields, such as self-driving cars and voice recognition technology.
Furthermore, despite all its benefits, AI is simply not as good at certain tasks as a human. This is why it is critical that information technology supports artificial intelligence.
With the rise of robotic cars, for instance, some people initially feared that all truck drivers would soon be laid off. However, both the CEO of Waymo and the previous CEO of Uber have stated that self-driving cars won’t replace human drivers, because self-driving cars will never be able to handle all driving conditions perfectly.
When it comes to issues such as traffic congestion and weather conditions, human drivers still—and likely always will—rank superior. Similarly, there is IT work that requires human input and cannot be replaced by AI. Instead, companies should focus on how AI can be used by an IT department to enhance the entire business.
How Does Information Technology Support Artificial Intelligence?
<p>5 Ways IT Supports AI – An infographic by the team at <a href=”https://sdi.ai/”>Sentient Digital, Inc.</a></p>
1. Automatic Reminders
Automatic reminders can make internal processes within your company more efficient. If a project deadline is looming near, or if staff members frequently forget about quarterly meetings, your IT department can utilize an AI system to send out automatic notices rather than manual ones.
Automatic reminders are also useful for managing customer service. Businesses that typically have customers return every few months, such as healthcare professionals, can create a system that texts or emails reminders to each customer on a designated schedule. Companies can also send automatic payment reminders to customers.
Having your information technology department implement automatic reminders can give greater freedom to all of your departments by wasting less time on mundane tasks. In addition, artificial intelligence can support an automatic reminder system by collecting data and optimizing its processes.
For instance, AI can run A/B tests and determine if users are more likely to open reminders on specific days, at certain times of day, or through certain mediums, such as emails or texts. This makes reminders more effective, leading to better outcomes for your team and your customers.
2. Personalized Recommendations
If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, you probably noticed the products it recommends to you. When looking at a specific product, you’re shown other items that are frequently purchased with that product. On your Amazon homepage, you can also find personalized product recommendations based on the items you recently viewed.
But personalized recommendations are hardly the exclusive domain of Amazon and Google. Any retail website can make use of AI software that deduces a particular customer’s shopping habits and curates product suggestions.
Personalized recommendation software can also greatly benefit media companies, such as news sites or streaming services. It allows them to make suggestions to audience members based on the content they tend to read or watch.
Even companies that do not sell a particular good or service can benefit from using personalized recommendations. Marketing and loyalty programs can make use of this same type of AI to deliver personalized content and emails. Walgreens, FedEx, and American Express all utilize this kind of AI.
In order for recommendation engines to operate efficiently in real time, rather than take hours or days to process data, IT departments need to be prepared to manage high-performance computing clusters. Having an information technology team prepared to support artificial intelligence is key to making the most of AI at your business.
Whether via a phone call or instant messaging system, chatbots are excellent for streamlining customer service experiences. The implementation of chatbots resolves simple complaints efficiently while saving your company time and money. Having a chatbot allows employees, whether in customer service or IT, to handle more complex problems with greater speed and efficiency.
Chatbots can also generally respond faster than a human. In an era when customers lose patience with long response times or being placed on hold for more than a few minutes, this feature can potentially save your company from losing clients.
Many chatbots still rely on communicating with customers via a canned question-and-answer method, and this often satisfies the needs of a business. But chatbots have also evolved greatly in the last few years, offering advanced solutions for companies that need a more complex chatbot.
There are many chatbots capable of having and comprehending conversations. These types of chatbots often integrate machine learning techniques, enabling them to learn from experience. If this kind of chatbot enters into a conversation beyond its depth, it is usually programmed with the functionality to recognize that it does not understand the conversation. In that case, it can transfer the call to a human representative, and then stay on the call to learn from the human interaction.
A Word About Data Mining
Another reason why personalized recommendations and chatbots need IT management is to make sure that customers do not develop concerns about data mining. Studies have shown that customers do enjoy the tailored recommendations that AI can quickly provide and that customers would prefer to chat with a digital assistant over calling a real customer service representative. That said, many customers do also have concerns about their personal information being used in ways other than to give them personalized recommendations and services.
It’s hard to blame them for such concerns. Whether it’s Russia’s potential involvement with the U.S. election, a fresh WikiLeaks scandal, or the reveal that Facebook sells its users’ personal information, the topic of data breaches is constantly in the news. It’s no wonder that this subject weighs heavily on people’s minds.
Having strong information technology support for artificial intelligence is crucial in the management of these systems. It has been demonstrated time and again that AI, for all the ways in which it can streamline business processes, does not understand ethics.
In fact, AI is known to replicate biases it observes from humans. An AI tool created by Amazon in 2014 to recruit software engineers, for instance, ended up discriminating against female applicants. In addition to the practical support offered by IT teams, human oversight is needed to employ artificial intelligence ethically.
4. Proactive Monitoring
Your IT department can set up AI across all departments to monitor network infrastructure, such as fluctuations in traffic flow. Congestions or decreases in traffic could indicate security risks that need to be examined personally by IT staff. AI can also be used to monitor infrastructure of individuals computers, ensuring they do not exceed their memory or storage limitations.
Human workers only have the capacity to perform periodic checks, and all too often, other work takes priority over this kind of monitoring. Unfortunately, this can easily lead to a reactive mindset. IT workers may only respond to issues as they arise, rather than continually working to improve efficiency and prevent problems.
Artificial intelligence can be tasked with constant monitoring, even after hours and on weekends. Not only does this free up IT workers to complete other work, but also it empowers your company to be proactive.
5. Fraud Detection
Modern technology has made it far easier to detect fraud. At the same time, advances in technology have multiplied the ways in which criminals can commit fraud. Most companies need to employ a multi-layered approach to detecting fraud, usually involving both AI and statistical data analysis techniques.
There are a number of artificial intelligence tools versed in fraud detection. Machine learning tools, for instance, can process large amounts of data much faster than a human. They are also designed to become faster and smarter over time.
Machine learning tools can identify patterns of behavior by users that match past instances of fraud. Your IT department can then use this synthesized data to take action against scammers and establish more effective preventative measures.
Contact SDi for IT and AI Solutions
Ready for your information technology to support artificial intelligence? Sentient Digital, Inc. can help.
We specialize in artificial intelligence and offer customized solutions to improve your business’ efficiency. If your underlying technology or IT department requires assistance to support AI, we can also provide technology solutions and staff augmentation to fill in the gaps.
Our experts are here to help you navigate the complex, continually evolving world of AI. Contact us online or call Sentient Digital, Inc. today at (504) 308-1464 to discover how artificial intelligence can help your business.