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The Ultimate Guide to AI for business professionals

A blister in someone’s mouth could be completely benign. Unfortunately, it could also be cancer. You would need a dentists to be able to tell the difference. Dentists are trained on what to look for. They hone their skills by looking inside hundreds of mouths. Even with all this experience, it is difficult to make the right diagnosis.

Enter AI

Over the past 3 decades computer scientists have been trying to train computers in a similar way. When computers learn to do new things, they demonstrate intelligence. That is what we call Artificial Intelligence or AI.

How it works

We give computers a large amount of data and program them to find patterns in it. Computers summarize those patterns into repeatable formulas or algorithms. They refine these algorithms as they get more and more data.

Last year, scientists taught computers to look for mouth cancers. Computers were given photographs of both cancerous and benign tissue. Soon, computers started developing algorithms to identify cancerous tissue. Scientists compared their performance with that of trained medical experts. Remarkably, computer diagnosis was as good as and sometimes better than that of human experts!

AI is computers learning on their own

The techniques these scientists used to program computers to learn are collectively called Artificial Intelligence. The example I shared above uses Machine Learning and Deep Learning. Instead of telling the computer what to do (which is how programming usually works), we feed it a lot of information and tell it to figure it out.

Lots of uses

AI is being used in all kinds of exciting fields like healthcare, text generation for online marketing, industrial operations, security and accounting audit. You may have talked to Siri or an online chatbot. That’s AI in the background. Any situation where have lots of dependable data available and your work requires attention-to-detail, you may be able to delegate those tasks to a machine!

Risk to your job?

So, does this mean artificially intelligent machines are ready to take our jobs away? No. We have to understand the Artificial Intelligence is still more artificial than it is intelligent. These techniques enable computers to do tasks as if they are intelligent. However, they can only learn to do things that require complex comparisons, calculations and estimates. Sure, they can assist human beings, but human creativity, imagination and ethics cannot be digitized.

The role of AI is to make our lives easier by doing some things better, faster and cheaper than us. So, if you are interested in learning, building and solving problems, your job is safe.

The Summary

AI is actually a computer system running advanced machine learning algorithms that may make us think it is intelligent. In reality though, it is taking over some complex but boring tasks and making our lives easier and businesses easier to run. Like many other technological changes before it, AI is influencing the way we shop, communicate and work. It presents great opportunities for those who are ready to learn. I intend to show you how in future articles.

Which use of AI have you found the most exciting?


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