Every company is going to be affected by artificial intelligence technology--even companies that operate entirely outside the technology space. New products and use cases are constantly appearing, and embracing them can help a business achieve new efficiencies.
A massive report on tech trends published by the Future Today Institute highlights many ways that A.I. will be developed and deployed. For founders trying to solve problems inside their company, looking at the next generation of products that are A.I.-enhanced could be an easy pathway toward a solution.
Here are three predictions about how A.I. will wind its way into company processes, even for companies whose focus is not on A.I. at all.
1. A.I. will identify points failure in the work environment
Making workplaces safer for employees is a constant concern, and A.I. tools are coming along to assist in that effort. The report highlights two areas--predicting workplace injuries and predicting systems and site failures--where products can monitor your company for potential pitfalls. On injuries, the report highlights the work of Turkish company Intenseye, which identifies workplace injuries as they happen, while San Francisco-based Voxel monitors employees to determine when "high-risk activities" are being undertaken. In both cases, if one company is doing it, there will likely be other companies offering similar products before long, and all the offerings are likely to eventually be able to integrate with existing camera and security-monitoring systems.
As with all A.I. systems, being wary of the model's bias--such as the idea that the software might not assert an injury has taken place when it has, or that certain activity is high-risk when it's actually not--and taking steps to prevent such bias from affecting human decision-making on these issues, is a key component to implementing such products properly, safely, and ethically.
2. A.I. will help eliminate repetitive work tasks
Replicating relatively boring and mindless human-effort-intensive tasks with algorithms and machines is a technology that offers a lot of promise to a lot of companies today. According to the report, this area of A.I. is "the most commonly deployed AI technique among enterprise companies." The use cases are all over a company's work: from repetitive paperwork and filing efforts, to assisting customer support efforts like call centers and help desks, to plowing through large amounts of information to highlight what's relevant.
A great many executives and information workers spend a large portion of their time in repetitive reading, writing, form-filling, sorting, and similar tasks that don't actually require anything like the level of training, education, and expertise that they have. Many of these tasks are of the kind that could be taught to a child--which is one way of thinking about whether a process can be taken over by an A.I. model. If it's work that is relatively simple and repetitive, there's a good chance you can give your employees software or other tools to do it instead, taking the load off them and freeing them up to do the human-centered work you really hired them for.
3. A.I. will assess physical spaces and objects
The work of insurance companies already brings A.I. into models that quickly assess, for example, damage to vehicles and buildings. If your company maintains fleets and facilities, you could find your insurance company assisting you with software that incorporates such technologies. And it won't be long before similar technology is used in many other ways, in other products that are now or will soon be on the market--to ensure that all of a company's storefronts have consistent signage, for example, or that a salad bar is properly stocked.