Artificial Intelligence (AI) promises to revolutionize – and digitize - the way enterprises conduct business. With the ability to perform cognitive functions (such as learning and problem solving) and process large amounts of data, AI can relieve employees of repetitive tasks while providing greater analytic capabilities for businesses to better manage operations, improve customer service and, even, predict the future.
According to Gartner's research, AI augmentation will create $2.9 trillion of business value and recover 6.2 billion hours or worker productivity in 2021. While many fear AI will replace them, Gartner foresees new job growth, naming AI a positive job motivator. AI also will assist current employees engaged in mostly nonroutine tasks to better perform their current job. As a result, companies and their staff must gain a better understanding of AI and how to adapt it to realize its full potential.
What is AI?
A sector of computer science associated with building smart machines. AI performs tasks that typically require human intelligence. Incorporating different technologies such as machine learning, machine reasoning, and natural language processing (think Alexa or Siri), AI gives computers the ability to simulate human thinking and reasoning for complex problem-solving.
According to Gartner, “Rather than have a machine replicating the steps that a human performs to reach a particular judgment, the entire decision process can be refactored to use the relative strengths and weaknesses of both machine and human to maximize value generation and redistribute decision making to increase agility.”
While AI conjures images of robots taking over the world, the technology extends human competencies, giving businesses and their employees greater capability to streamline tasks, improve decision-making, boost productivity, optimize processes, and forecast future outcomes.
AI Market Applications
As AI is positioned as the next “must-have” technology impacting the future of virtually every enterprise, many industries are leveraging its power in different ways. Some business areas are at the start of its implementation while others are maturing it. Here are a few examples of AI’s positive impact in several market areas.
Big Data Analysis
Data continues to grow at unprecedented rates. In 2020, just one person generates 1.7 megabytes of data every second from online searches, applications, social media, etc. Looking at a volume scale, around 40 trillion gigabytes will be in the digital universe by 2020.
Even with the increased amounts of structured and unstructured data derived from different sources, roughly half of companies do not have a data platform to derive insights from it. Those that do ignore much of their data, according to Forrester Research, analyzing just 12%. 95% of businesses cite the need to manage unstructured data as a problem for their business.
AI provides the tools to effectively analyze and process Big Data and put it in a context that provides actionable insights on customer behaviors, market trends, product quality, and growth opportunities. Using this information, businesses can make more informed decisions that support future growth. For example, as the current global pandemic changes the way the world interacts, AI can provide a better understanding of new buying patterns and opportunities.
Improved Patient Quality Care
AI projects were more prevalent in healthcare than any other sector of the global economy in 2016. Supporting the growing trend of evidence-based medicine, AI techniques can rapidly process a virtually limitless amount of inputs to identify patterns within a certain patient population to quickly identify and diagnose diseases and recommend the best treatments. In general practitioners’ offices, AI can extract information from a patient’s electronic footprint and automatically outline the risks and actions to address them. The adoption of AI as a healthcare information technology can help lower costs and improve patient quality care.
Greater Retail Customer Experience
The retail market increasingly uses AI to improve the consumer experience, support decision- making, and optimize operations. 86% are experimenting with AI to forge new growth. For example, AI-powered chatbots engage with customers to promptly handle queries and resolve problems. AI also helps to identify consumer behaviors to provide businesses with insights into buying habits and preferences.
As digitized books replace hardbacks in education, AI will serve as a virtual tutor, gauging student facial expressions to determine who does not understand or not fully engaged to better tailor the experience to the individual. Custom-tailored education can help students improve performance while alerting teachers when to provide additional support. AI also can help teachers recraft courses by identifying areas of needed improvement.
An AI Talent Gap
An AI-driven economy creates the need to prepare the present and future workforce. Closing the AI talent gap requires training, recruiting, and retaining skilled workers. “One of the absolute prerequisites for AI to be successful in many [areas] is that we invest tremendously in education to retrain people for new jobs,” says Klara Nahrstedt, a computer science professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and director of the school’s Coordinated Science Laboratory.
The fear of workforce disruption should not deter companies and their employees in the adoption of AI. While an old job may phase out, AI will create new ones. For example, automating menial jobs may give employees more time to focus on other tasks such as greater customer interaction.
If American workers and companies do not leverage AI technologies, many jobs and industries may move abroad. Workforce certificate training programs can help individuals develop the skills to transition into new jobs or gain a better understanding of AI. Taking less time than earning a new degree, training programs can introduce and elevate the technical and soft skills of workers of all education levels, age, and experience to gain a technical understanding of AI tools and systems.
Norwich Offers the Right Education Platform
Norwich Pro has created a comprehensive certificate program consisting of a series of classes aimed at both introducing the essential facts and debunking the common misconceptions surrounding this topic.
Ideal for students, managers, non-technical, and technical staff members across different departments, Norwich’s Artificial Intelligence Certificate program features courses covering the revolutionary technologies shaping the future of work and business:
Individuals can take these noncredit, instructor-led classes as part of the certificate or individually. Participants will gain fundamental knowledge of AI, its terminology, technologies, and impact in business to gain a broad view of AI, its definitions, the state of development and the implications for business
All workers in every industry must regularly update skills as new technologies such as AI is introduced into business operations. Preparing the workforce of the future for the rise of AI can best position companies to obtain the full potential of the new technology.
For information on Norwich Pro’s complete roster of certificate programs that develop and deepen professional skills to get ahead in careers or enter new ones, visit https://pro.norwich.edu/.