AI is here, and you should embrace it

There can be little debate that artificial intelligence (AI) is now becoming more and more a part of everyday life. With the rise of AI consumer products like the Amazon Echo, the public is seeing how incredibly useful this technology is when applied to their lives.    

However, for businesses around the world, jumping on the AI bandwagon and effectively implementing it in the day-to-day running of a company probably seems like a far fetched idea. Much of the focus on AI and its business application has been related to job losses and phasing out certain professions. For example, recently a Japanese company laid off over 30 employees to be replaced by robots.

What is important to realise, beyond this example, is that AI is here and being used by both huge multinational companies and also smaller, more agile firms, but in much less controversial ways. These early adopters are already experiencing huge benefits too. A recent report from Infosys, who are a global leader in technology services and consulting, found a clear, established link between the length of time that businesses have used AI and their revenue growth. 

Of this poll of 1,600 senior business decision makers across the world, they revealed that they’ve experienced faster growth in revenue over the past three years due to being further ahead when it comes to AI maturity.   

This is hugely significant. 

For those companies on the fence about potentially implementing AI, here is clear research which shows the true impact integrating AI solutions are already having. Remember, this is still a technology that has yet to reach its full potential, but here is evidence that it is already have a marked effect on some businesses’ bottom lines. What is also clear from this research is that decision makers know that AI is going to be a game changer for businesses around the world with 76 per cent of the respondents citing AI as fundamental to the success of their organisation’s strategy, and 64 per cent believing that their company’s future growth is dependent on large-scale AI adoption. 

Away from all the noise about robots taking humans’ jobs, the reality is that AI will work in partnership with us to make everyday business activities more effective and also lower costs. In fact, in the same Infosys report, 85 per cent of respondents said they plan to train employees about the benefits and use of AI, and 80 per cent of companies replacing roles with AI technologies will retrain or redeploy displaced employees. Humans will not become redundant, instead, jobs will likely become more focused and defined and allow us to become more specialist in other areas of expertise and cut out a lot of the basic administrative work, such as organising calendars, we are currently forced to looked after.

Revolutionising the sector

AI’s breadth of application is something that businesses looking to dip their toe into the technology should also be aware of. For example, AI was not created to have any practical use in my own industry of digital advertising. Yet, due to its huge potential, we’ve seen it becoming increasingly important and actually affecting the industry in a really positive way. 

To put this into context, in a bygone era marketers and publishers relied solely on assumptions about consumer behaviour, but along came targeting technology which could deliver ads to specific individuals based on their behaviour online. However, we’re now at a stage in the industry whereby targeting, which once revolutionised the sector, is itself being forced to evolve due to the prevalence of new technologies which push it beyond its current limitations. 

Regular advertising targeting focuses more on device and socio-demographic categories that are often not particularly relevant. Such an approach has huge limitations and ultimately results in poor user experiences, which can impact upon brands and publishers in a negative way. A by-product of this is that it may also have a part to play in why ad blocking is on the rise. This antiquated type of online targeting is nearly seen as being a bit of an oxymoron in the industry at this stage, because it is so untargeted. 

Yet AI is already completely changing targeting, and by extension the entire digital advertising industry beyond recognition. AI applications such as IBM’s ground-breaking Watson platform is able to analyse every piece of key data relating to every ad page generated, working on thousands of pages per second. Within this analysis, it is able to give detailed feedback, delivered in real time. In practice this enables the industry to take control instantly of an online marketing campaign and make changes to it which will heighten its impact and make it more efficient. This can only be a good thing in my book. 

Overall, much has been said of AI’s potential future impact and much of it has unfortunately been negative. However, AI is already here. For those unsure of whether to take the plunge and invest in the technology digital advertising is proof of an industry that is being radically changed for the better by AI. Don’t be afraid. 

Dale Lovell, Chief Digital Officer, ADYOULIKE
Image Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek / Shutterstock