A couple of weeks ago, I polled the business community for their top technology predictions for 2017 and within a couple hours, I had a few hundred emails in my inbox with some really great insights. Fascinatingly enough, the vast majority of these responses had something to do with the rise of Artificial Intelligence in our everyday business lives.

Yes, it appears that the robots are taking over, which seems like a scary thought. The mere mention of AI still conjures images of Will Smith in I, Robot, which totally does not bode well for humans...

...okay, well, maybe robots won't take over planet earth, but there is a big fear amongst many that they'll take over our jobs. Some folks are also becoming overwhelmed with the thought of AI being implemented into business and are afraid of not being technologically savvy enough to keep up.

So what does the future look like with human beings working alongside artificial intelligence beings?

Sales Will Become More Efficient

Big data has certainly optimized sales efforts by eliminating the need for an icy cold call. Using data technologies, companies can identify their top sales leads and focus their efforts on the folks most likely to buy their product (instead of wasting time on people who have no interest). According to recent findings by Forbes, 89 percent of marketers now use predictive analytics to improve their sales ROI.

For AI innovators, predictive marketing technology is awesome for sales, but could even be a whole lot more efficient. According to a recent study by Conversica, the vast majority of companies fail to follow up with 1/3 of their interested leads. This is where AI Assistants come in. These virtual beings are given a name, email address, and title and can do all the preliminary dirty work for sales teams, which involves reaching out to leads, following up, and having initial conversations with customers to gage interest. Then, when the lead is almost ready to buy, it is passed to a human.

This system ensures the 1/3 of qualified leads aren't falling through the cracks due to human error and because of this, AI will actually lead to:

The Creation of More Jobs

Since the AI Assistants are handling a huge bulk of the work, don't you think that using them might put many human salespeople out of a job? Alex Terry, CEO of Conversica, answers this question all the time.

"It's the same issue a lot of people had with replacing bank tellers with ATM machines," he says. What the general public may not know, is that by making banks more efficient by implementing ATMs in the 1990s, each branch had less overhead and were able to do more work--which lead to a higher return. While individual banks had less people working there, the increase in profit allowed banking companies to open more branches and hire more people to staff them.

This same scenario is being seen with AI.

"When sales teams become more efficient, they increase their ROI--which allows companies to have a greater marketing budget," says Terry, whose AI technology is being used by the likes of IBM and other Fortune 500 companies. "Therefore, they can hire more people."

All of this to say, folks, human beings aren't going anywhere. "AI was never meant to replace humans, but to work alongside them," Terry explains. "Humans and computers together is the most powerful combination."

You see, AI is not impeding human interaction, but rather it is enhancing it by connecting us with those we will have the most success with. And obviously, when we have more success, we are able to grow our businesses and offer a better life for ourselves and our families. So bring on the 'bots!