Being First, Next

Being First, Next

You are a leader at your company. It is your responsibility to grow it in the most predictable and capital-efficient manner possible. It is paramount for you to minimize risk. However, you have a vision of your business being the next leader in your industry. Being a leader requires calculated risk. How do you approach that mountain climb? What can you do that is special and worthy of your vision? What strategy fulfills each of those competing requirements?

To grow your company, you need to tap into something new. As the saying goes, “If you always do what you’ve done, you always get what you’ve always gotten”. The status quo will not do if you are a visionary that wants to lead.

What can your company afford to invest to achieve industry leadership?

Almost as important, what can you afford to lose if it doesn’t work? A company with a solid foundation can suffer setbacks. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences to decisions that don’t generate the planned results. No organization has endless capital or patience. A large strategic play that doesn’t pan out also consumes the calendar from other opportunities. Time is a finite resource, and that loss of time is permanent. A strategy that doesn’t achieve its planned results can impact your career.

It is well established that the most reliable way to reduce strategic risk is to use data in your decision-making processes. Unfortunately, if you have a vision the cost-of-entry has already been paid by most of your competition in the form of business intelligence systems, reporting, and dashboards. You’ve got to do more than just that.

So, what strategy can you employ that is impactful…worthy of a visionary’s personal capital? What is worth investing your company’s future in? What has the most attractive risk profile?

Content Analytics

Like I mentioned in my previous article, Content Analytics is a field that leverages Unstructured Data. This includes documents, emails, sensors, images, and even voice by using Text Analytics. By combining Text Analytics with Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, and Robotic Process Automation, text can be processed into structured data,

knowledge, and even understanding. That understanding can be integrated into your existing systems for immediate, innovative, and vastly improved decision-making.

Content Analytics gives you access to the 80-90% of your company’s data that you didn’t even know you had. It is your data, so it is a valuable asset. It informs on your company, your market, partners, vendors, and customers. You’ve made decisions based on data for years, but you never had access to all of your data. As a matter of fact, you had access to very little of it.

Imagine what you can do if you could leverage 10 times more data than you had before? Imagine what you can do if that data was integrated into your systems-of-record and decision support systems. Your company could react to situations in real-time informed by your own Unstructured Data.

Does the free-form text entered by your Customer Service department into your Operational Support System reveal dissatisfaction with the response time of your online service today? Imagine what you can do if that data informed your IT department in real-time to investigate the customer-facing infrastructure for performance issues. Further, that Customer Service data can initiate automatic performance monitoring that checks against a baseline and report those results transparently.

Is your Sales Department receiving emails from prospects and customers reflecting a trend of a strong interest in a legacy product? Perhaps that product is garnering renewed interest due to a pandemic or work-from-home related issues. Imagine what you can do if those emails could be automatically read, understood, correlated with current news, and forwarded to specific personnel in Sales and Marketing.

Is your Business Development area missing opportunities in M&A and partnerships? This can be due to Business Development having too many financial reports and analyses to read on their own. Imagine what you can do if everything was read, and trends were mapped to growth strategies.

There’s an Imagine what you can do with every functional area of your business. These areas benefit from access to Unstructured Data…Human Resources, Accounting, Legal, etc.

Implementing Content Analytics is a strategy that leverages your data (predictable and capital-efficient) but is also impactful and can launch your business into a leadership position. Your company could be the Next First in your industry.

In my next article, I’ll review the various perspectives of Content Analytics that you may encounter in the C-suite.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

The concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been hard to understand since its emergence. When asked about AI, the average person can confuse it with high-powered robots from TV shows and ideas from Elon Musk. Depictions in popular culture such as Terminator or “Star Trek” do little to demystify the myth. In the boardroom, executives when asked about AI know for certain that they want the technology a part of their organization but lack more than cursory knowledge as to how it operates. The mystery surrounding the term enables those cautious of advancements in technology to issue warnings that AI will dominate humans, endanger individual freedom, and destroy the remaining shreds of any personal privacy we have through a digital coup.

But does the emergence of AI signify the decline of human intellectual freedom? To make that determination, a definition of AI needs to be established. At a basic level, AI is a way to replicate human intelligence in machines. Since the 1950s, every attempt by a scientist at AI was to answer the fundamental question, “Can machines think?”.

The pioneer of AI was Alan Turing. In the 1950s, he was credited with engineering “thinking machines” that were capable of reasoning at a human being level. The “Turing Test” was used to see if computers could do reasoning puzzles as well as humans to be assessed as “having a human capacity for contemplation, judgment, and intention”. Further scientific research would separate the actions and the behavior of computers to see if they could simulate thinking humanly and rationally as well as acting humanly and rationally. Such developments as white label AI and artificial neural network would come to define the leading edge of the field.

How Is Artificial Intelligence Measured?

There are different metrics by which AI is measured, one of which is intentionality. AI algorithms are designed to make decisions with real-time data. Insights derived from unstructured, semi-structured, or structured data can be used to do instant analysis to reach decisions. The dynamic nature of AI inputs differentiates them from passive machines that are only capable of predetermined responses. The intentionality of AI machines

makes them pliable to human values. Unlike popular culture and imagination, there is little risk of AI posing a risk to human beings. The presence of AI helps and augments human capabilities rather than endangers them.

Another feature of AI is intelligence. Oftentimes, AI is used with machine learning and data analytics to look for underlying trends. Identifying such patterns leads researchers to intelligent decision-making on specific issues.

Having intelligent design is important for another AI criteria which is adaptability. AI systems are dynamic, they must learn and adapt to incoming information and factor it into decisions. As circumstances and conditions shift, AI algorithms must adjust to new changes and update to reflect them.

Artificial Intelligence Examples

While the perception of AI varies from the average person to the executive, there are everyday uses and examples of AI that often go unnoticed by the untrained eye. Here are some common uses of the technology:

1. Siri 

 Smartphones have become ubiquitous since their inception. Everyone that used an iPhone is familiar with Siri, Apple’s assistant. Siri is a pseudo-intelligent digital personal assistant that is a great example of machine learning (ML) technology. With every use, Siri gets smarter when it comes to the user’s requests to send messages, add events to the calendar, and find information.

2. Alexa

 Alexa from Amazon is the smart home hub that has been made welcome in many homes. It is a good example of AI because it can recognize and decipher speech from anywhere in the room. It helps us do every day, useful tasks such as schedule appointments and set alarms so we could focus on more value-added tasks around the home.

3. Tesla

 These self-driving vehicles are not just a glimpse of the future but also a great example of AI in action. Due to their over-the-air updates, Tesla cars get smarter as you get a better driving experience.

4. Amazon.com

 Amazon started as a bookseller and has turned into the number one shopping destination on the internet powered by AI.

While it cannot predict and ship products to us before we even know we need them it is not too far off yet. Amazon’s AI algorithms can predict a lot of purchasing behavior based on a consumer’s online behavior. The massive amount of data that Amazon collects refines the algorithms with predictive analytics.

5. Netflix

 Everyone’s favorite home movie app relies on AI to make decisions on what movies to suggest. Collecting billions of records, Netflix suggests movies based on consumer’s previous reactions and viewing history. As the data set grows so does the accuracy of personal predictions for Netflix users.

6. Pandora

This is a beloved music app that is used by many people to curate musical playlists. Pandora analyzes songs and “musical DNA” to personalize recommendations for people using AI. Such a level of personalization is what attracts users to adopt the app and customize the experience.

Artificial Intelligence & NLP

AI is a broad term that encompasses how machines simulate human intelligence. While there are different levels of AI, such as weak AI and strong AI, there are also subsets of the technology such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML).

AI powers systems that mimic cognitive abilities, like learning and solving problems. To master such tasks, NLP capabilities help computers understand and translate the human language. While AI and NLP cannot yet interpret the nuance and context of the text, the machine can translate, extract keywords, classify topics, and map content.

NLP is also used as a capability in data analytics tools that perform content analysis. It can be used to analyze large batches of content to map relationships, assign responsibility, and extract insights. This enables businesses to gain valuable insights, move the business forward and scale.

Artificial Intelligence Benefits

AI Benefits At Work

The evolution of technology has benefited society on a large scale. Specifically, AI has moved the economy forward by ushering in a new era of work. Robots and AI make work more efficient by augmenting capabilities and automating redundant tasks. By utilizing machine learning, AI improves over time making a business more efficient at using resources and scaling. It reduces the margin of human error and uses data patterns to cut costs. These advancements can benefit an array of industries from scientific research where researchers use AI to map cancer cells to space exploration companies where futurists design rockets that land on Mars. There are plenty of enhanced capabilities and opportunities powered by AI in the future.

AI Benefits At Home

The reach of AI extends beyond the economy into the home of the everyday individual. AI makes everyday life more efficient and information more accessible, it helps people create new opportunities in their environment. As a result, it improves job satisfaction, savings, and revenue generation.

As mentioned in the examples of AI like Pandora and Netflix, AI uses search algorithms to provide targeted information for a better user experience. Whether listening to music or watching a show, the presence of AI guarantees that these lifestyle choices will be curated. Also, AI in the home handles mundane tasks such as data entry and answering emails freeing up the individual to pursue their interests in their free time.

The proliferation of AI is innovation. Just like electricity marked an era of human progress, so does the evolution of AI expand human creativity and ingenuity by automating the redundant and mundane tasks necessary for accomplishing a greater vision. When the power of the human mind and the efficiency of AI collaborate the quality of human life improves.

Industries That Use Artificial Intelligence

Given the plethora of AI benefits on the economy, numerous industries have adopted the technology into their business practices.

Here are some examples:

1. Healthcare

 Healthcare was one of the early adopters of AI given its far-reaching benefits in the medical field. AI has been used for: digital consultations, robotic surgery, data, and health record-keeping, and changing the service delivery in the healthcare setting.

2. Marketing

In some ways, all the departments in the business support marketing in the brand-building activities. Some of the marketing initiatives such as A/B testing can be automated with AI to figure out the best possible ad copy combination that would work.

3. Education 

Robots are used to fill in the gap between reading and social skills for students and students with disabilities. Smart scheduling assistants are used to schedule parent-teacher conferences, so a student’s needs are addressed consistently.

4. Retail And Ecommerce

AI-powered tools are used by e-commerce companies to manage sales and inventory. AI chatbots can interact with customers managing the customer service experience and boosting sales.

Conclusion

These days, AI is more than just a page out of a science fiction book. It has become ingrained in our society to empower the individual and the business to make progress and to move forward. From healthcare to tech, from smart driving cars to smart phones, AI touches every corner of our lives with computer intelligence that simulates our own intelligence so it could make our experience better in the moment.