When you think of artificial intelligence, or AI, does your mind go to the realm of science fiction? Maybe your brain begins to think of possibilities for your small business, such as customer services via chatbot. Or perhaps you start to think of ways machine learning can benefit your business – like suggesting products your customers might like based on previous purchases on your e-commerce site.
What is AI and machine learning?
AI refers to software technology that simulates human thought patterns and reactions. Some examples of tasks AI is designed to do include: speech recognition, information gathering, problem solving, and intelligent planning.
Machine learning is related to AI – it uses algorithms to find patterns, and predict behaviours. Apple’s Siri “smart assistant” software is a good example of both AI and machine learning; Siri tries to understand what you want, and gives you what you ask for, whether it’s the latest weather, the time in Berlin, or directions to a particular business.
Can AI and machine learning work for your small business?
The potential for automation in small business exists with AI and machine learning. The examples given at the beginning of this post are just a few. According to Wired,
The consumer-facing aspect of AI is just one component. Robotic process automation (RPA) uses software-based bots to perform repetitive, routine business functions. Using RPA, one insurer was able to handle 500 premium advice notes in 30 minutes. The process used to take two days. Such efficiencies can be multiplied across an organization.
No matter what your initial impressions about machine learning and AI, many small businesses are finding ways to use it to improve their businesses. You may be able to save time, streamline processes, increase sales, or boost customer satisfaction.
For more about how AI is transforming small business, check out Getting Smart About Artificial Intelligence, at Wired.