Artificial intelligence: Are we there yet?
This month, Atheneum hosted a panel of AI experts for a discussion on where the technology is currently, what the future looks like, and how businesses can, and are, enabling it.
AI is often misinterpreted: we’re not there yet
According to Atheneum’s panel of AI experts, the reality of ‘strong AI’ – machines that can reason and do everything humans can do – is still another 100 years or so away from development. “We don’t have AI yet. We have statistics. There is still a need for human analysis,” explained Dr Diana Deca.
What we do have however, is increasing use of automation – Dr. Fran Cardells sees it as the ‘new electricity’ with “100 bots working for us every day, from our daily searches in Google to online banking.”
How AI can enable businesses to improve decision making
Investing in AI technology has the potential to enable businesses to streamline operations, advance market research and better manage client relations.
The panel discussed how this automation of processes allows businesses make better-informed decisions, faster, by enabling access to real-time data. It also diverts usage of a skilled work force away from admin tasks towards areas that will better benefit the business.
AI in Industry
In insurance for example, AI has the potential to replace manual processes with automated systems and improve how policies are tailored for individuals and businesses. This technology can reduce cost of losses by ensuring the most well-informed decisions are consistently made. Just as data helps marketers to better tailor advertising, insurers could save billions of pounds from having better knowledge of their customers. By analysing customer data they can more accurately predict behaviour, understand preferences and customise product offerings.
What does the future look like for AI?
Atheneum’s AI panel described how more advanced techniques are being developed to train for complex data processing tasks. “While AI can currently make a decision based on existing data, the next evolution will be when we’re able to review the process the AI took to get to that decision. This will enable the next decision to be addressed faster,” explained Dr Cardells.
“We’re currently able to measure the temperature and volume of a room with 4D cameras, but we will get to the point where we can analyse how many items there are and how much they weigh, for example, which will revolutionise the retail, insurance and logistics industries.”
“The next step is how to get AI to the point where human monitoring is no longer necessary.”
Should vs could: AI helping humans to make better decisions
As Dr Deca explained, AI based on statistics is commonly utilised today to present information learned from previous user activity. However, in theory, AI could be developed to recommend what humans should do in certain situations, rather than what they could do.
For example in the e-commerce industry, recommendations such as: “Customers that bought this, also bought this…”, could instead recommend products that are genuinely most beneficial to the customer’s need. Automated recommendations otherwise have the potential to encourage a cycle of customers all making the same wrong decisions.