Machine learning has been around, subtly, since the 1950s. Fast-forward 80 years and it’s dominating your news feed and making everyone a little uneasy. Knowing that it will only evolve from here, it really is now a case of how to embrace the technology, rather than of fear it.
Phil Swinney, VP Technology, Media Mechanics
If you haven’t heard of or used Chat GPT yet you’re likely an astronaut who just spent the last six months orbiting Earth isolated in space. This new Artificial Intelligence tech or AI is transforming how we find the answers to the questions that scratch at the inside of your head. The brain teasers or twisters that may have taken you twenty minutes of Google search time are now being surfaced in 10 seconds with loosely formed sentences. No matter how tech-savvy you are, AI is impacting your life in some way and is going to play a bigger role over the next six to ten years.
Chat GPT is the first time that AI has really gone mainstream in the first person. We’ve all interacted with AI applications probably without knowing that the content we’re viewing or the ads we’re being served are the result of algorithms that listen and learn from our interactions. Most are oblivious to AI and how it’s being used to comb massive data sets and learn our behaviors. Now we’re on the verge of a tipping point and what is likely going to happen over the next decade is going to be culturally transformative.
Most of us are looking at AI in the same way that many looked at the Internet 25 years ago. Intriguing but not really valuable at this moment. We don’t really know how it’s going to fit into our business model or how we can use it to generate growth. Like many things we don’t understand, it gets overlooked because we don’t really know what to do with it. Here’s a fact that may help motivate you to find the answers.
According to Precedence Research (a Canadian research firm) the AI market is going to grow to a $1.5 trillion business in the next seven years. That’s an 800% increase that is likely conservative if you consider the spin offs and other unknown opportunities that often trail this type of exponential growth. AI tech is heading out of the back office into real life. It’s already challenging our legal systems, influencing the economy, and changing how we make decisions.
Beyond the headlines, here’s a high-level look at the different flavors of AI technology. Some require human interaction, others are autonomous, capable of making decisions without human involvement.
- Assisted Intelligence is a hardwired system that is designed to assist people in making decisions, but is not capable of learning. It’s a closed system that is often designed for a specific purpose. Examples include speech assist tools and predictive text on your mobile phone.
- Automated Intelligence is automation with an intelligent edge. This is a hybrid of AI and automation that uses data to learn how to improve the automation process. It is most commonly found in manufacturing production lines and includes manufacturing robotics that don’t need human interaction.
- Augmented Intelligence requires human interaction in order to grow and to learn. This type of AI is used for data mining and data-driven decision making. It is used to predict customer preferences when online shopping and in data analytics by political think tanks when looking for undecided voters.
- Generative Intelligence (GenAI) is capable of generating text, images, and other media responses using training data to start its deep learning algorithms that eventually start to “think” on their own. Chat GPT is a GenAI. It uses a human teacher to learn the basics and eventually begins to teach itself using interactions.
- Autonomous Intelligence is capable of adapting to different situations and can react without any human interaction. This AI is independent and able to grow on its own through self-learning and connectivity to networks that feed it data. Examples include Waymo self-driving cars or robotics like Sophia built by Hanson Robotics
In the past year the most notable growth in AI is in Generative Intelligence or GenAI. Chat GPT is quickly, if not already the new “Google Search” when it comes to finding answers. It’s like sitting next to the smart person in school, when the tough questions come up you can turn to Chat GPT and surprisingly it seems to have all the right answers. Everyone, including medical professionals, are using this tool to find solutions to complex problems that may have required hours of research or review.
GenAI is young in terms of AI solutions, but it’s rapidly becoming a game changer. According to Gartner research, by 2025 over 30% of outbound marketing messages from large organizations will be generated by GenAI compared to only 2% in 2022. Drug design, material science, computer chip design, healthcare, and manufacturing are all industries that have roadmaps for using GenAI to create efficiencies and solving business problems.
Artificial Intelligence is on a trajectory to transform how we learn and access information. It’s no longer a tech term tossed around by propellerheads in IT meetings. If you’re a business leader looking for an edge, developing an AI strategy could be the differentiator that accelerates growth.
Here’s a couple of examples of how industries are using AI to change the game.
AI in Fashion
Generative AI is now getting attention in the fashion business as a tool for generating images of people. Levi Strauss is now using AI-generated models to create images for e-commerce – providing the shopper with a large variety of options to view. The AI allows the brand to have unparalleled flexibility matching any set of specs needed to demonstrate how their products fit and looks on unique body types. At some point the tech will be able to accept shopper input and resize the model to match. For Levi AI is going to save them millions of dollars in photo shoots and modelling costs.
GenAI is helping to fuel a growing content generation market with billions being invested in tools that write content based on Natural Language Generation (NLG). Similar to Chat GPT, these systems use deep learning algorithms to generate large content catalogs used for everything from email/text communication to website content.
The AI is able to recognize tone/style and can adjust as needed to optimize content performance. It can be dynamically applied to user journeys changing how the user experiences a website or a mobile app.
Copy.ai, Jasper.ai, and Writesonic are examples of AI content generator tools that are affordable and easily accessible. The tech is still a bit raw, but like everything AI, it’s going to learn and get better over time.
Don’t rage against the machine.
What does AI mean to the average business or person? No doubt we’ll have super smart AI assistants that we can use to solve business problems and to predict outcomes. But the world is now your oyster and AI might be the pearl. Dream big and think about how you might improve customer experience, interaction, or efficiency. It can likely be done and it could pay handsome dividends to explore.
Being “tech-adverse” is probably not the best approach or response. There is no question that investing time in learning more about AI and the tools that use it would be good for your long game. You don’t want to be outsmarted by a machine, right?
About the author:
Phil Swinney is a 25-year veteran of technology with experience in software engineering and a passion for emerging tech. Phil leads the web development team at Media Mechanics, a Citizen of Republix.