Artificial Intelligence Explained for Non-Digital Natives

Artificial Intelligence

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution of Machine Intelligence is real. It will define which businesses live and die in the next decade. And the first casualties will be those who fail to adopt and adapt.”

Okay, before you start to hyperventilate or call your artificial intelligence wallpaper doctor, the quote above is from Hypergiant, a company that provides Artificial Intelligence solutions for businesses. So, it’s sort of like Coke saying you can’t live without Coke or McDonald’s saying a hamburger is essential to survival.

That said, like it or not, particularly for “non-digital natives” (age 50+; did not grow up with technology), the world has changed.  If you are still in business or want to relate to your children or grandchildren, saying it was better before or ignoring the present will not serve you. Do you have to start with a robot assistant? No. Does it make sense to infuse your business with some of the new social and digital communications tools out there? Yes.

The first step is understanding what AI is.

“Artificial Intelligence scares us when we think that we have detected reasoning from a machine,” says Thierry Hubert, Founder and CEO of Darwin Ecosystem. Like when Alexa began laughing at people. But that turned out to be a command anomaly, not an ironic commentary from a sentient machine.

“Pattern detection is the fundamental ingredient of all cognitive computing associated with AI.”

“Pattern detection is the fundamental ingredient of all cognitive computing associated with AI. Systems do not have an existential prerogative. AI unifies our collective knowledge and augments our reasoning ability,” says Hubert. “I prefer to call it cognitive computing because it best represents the system’s ability to apply cognitive processes such as pattern detection, structuring natural language, detecting objects on images, translating languages and learning a trend to be able to recognize it to improve diagnostics or predictions,” he adds. “Cognitive computing is more aligned with human expectations, which is something all cognitive lifeforms can relate to — pattern detection,” explains Hubert.

When you look at it as patterns informing predictions it is easy to see how it works. A child starts to run into traffic. 99.9% of the time someone nearby will grab them and pull them back. A computer ‘nanny’ could easily learn to do this.

In fact, you may already be using Artificial Intelligence and loving it.

Netflix making suggestions based on your previous selections is AI. Google Maps, that gives you in real time the best route with the shortest time and avoids accidents? That’s AI. How about mobile bank deposits that can decipher handwriting on checks…So convenient! Email spam filters that can learn what you consider spam.  All of these are built on AI. (Online ads tailored to you based on past purchases is also AI, but that one can be creepy.)

The Illinois Holocaust Museum is using AI in the form of Holographic interviews with survivors.  Visitors to the museum can ask questions of the Holograms. Assuming they ask one of the myriad of predictable questions, an answer will be forthcoming. This is so amazing and cool! In this case the holograms cannot come up with new answers. They can “hear” questions and respond with the “right” answer from among existing answers. (Much more meaningful and deeper content, but along the lines of a chatbot.)

Start like you would to visit another country.

Today’s technological reality can feel like living in another world. So think about it the way you would if you were planning to visit a foreign country. You read about it. You find guides. You pick up a word or two so you can connect with the locals. Or you do none of these and dive right in for the experience. You find your comfort zone and begin to push.

The trick is to break it down and start where you are. Are you digitally accessible–can potential clients find you or your business online? Can they easily buy from you? Can they recommend you to someone who needs your services?

That’s the place to start. What do you need to keep your business going, your pipeline flowing, right now?

Need help? Just give me a shout.