All over the world today, businesses and brands are employing automation to make their operations more efficient and effective while reducing redundancy as much as possible. While this might bring to mind a picture of robots take over jobs, that is not entirely the case as Artificial Intelligence is, in fact, a business asset, enhancing and promoting human capabilities and efforts.
Before we can talk about AI and its numerous advantages, we need a clear definition of what it is. In simple terms, AI is all about systems mimicking human intelligence when carrying out tasks, and improving on this intelligence using information garnered from observation and interaction. AI involves data analysis and super thinking to predict patterns using past events.
The emergence of AI does not lie in the newness or the discovery of the technology itself, but the uses and vast potential it reveals with time. AI offers numerous benefits to businesses and enterprises.
I have spent the last few days reading a book, titled ‘A-Z of Artificial Intelligence Consulting: 26 Artificial Intelligence ideas for your business today’ by Olusola Amusan, and it is quite an interesting book that any forward-looking entrepreneur, business executive and public servant should pick up and read. This book will help you appreciate the impact of this field of computing on all areas of business and how to better prepare for what is ahead.
Businesses and serious governments all over the world are waking up to how AI can benefit them as opposed to how it might sabotage them. AI-powered chatbots, for instance, enable smart and swift collection and analysis of data, as the interface converses with individuals using the messaging platforms. Aside from the time saved and the accelerated pace of businesses this incorporation could aid with, the data needs would also be taken care of more effectively as the reception and handling takes place automatically. Another business application of AI technology is in its use of machine learning in e-commerce businesses. By effectively using the search data of a customer, a level of personalisation can be predicted and presented to the customer, improving the ease of use of the platform. Helping shoppers find what they need and what they might be interested in is an excellent customer care practice, which would naturally increase sales and improve customer loyalty.
The emergence of AI in the health care sector is to be one of the most impactful uses of this technology. From the data collated about a patient, a lot can be avoided and resolved before getting to the critical stages. While it may not replace the health care practitioners, it would be useful as a tool, making their jobs more manageable and taking the anxiety edge off them. By gathering real-time data and offering clinical support, lots of lives can be saved, and degenerative diseases could be managed better by patients.
According to Amusan, chief executive of Coven Works Inc, “the World Economic Forum predicts that more than 63 million new jobs will be created by 2025 as a result of Artificial Intelligence and robotics. For small businesses, 50 per cent of all global businesses will require one form of automation or the other, according to a Gartner report, by 2021.”
This really is a wake-up call for businesses in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. It is no longer business as usual. Emerging technologies like Blockchain and AI are taking businesses to greater levels, and it looks like we are interested in just playing catch up. The advantages of the high-performance computing capability, the availability of a massive amount of data, and the competitive advantage of the insights proffered from analysis of the gathered data associated are missing from most businesses in Nigeria. Also, the employees who could be learning and carrying out more profound and relevant tasks stick to simple routine tasks, which can be automated. So, not only are these businesses lagging, but the employees are also under-experienced compared with those around the world.
AI is the game-changer, and running businesses without the necessary and essential automation processes it offers would be like playing a different game and expecting to win in another.
While about 80 per cent of the country’s economy leans on Micro, Small, Medium-scale Enterprises, government establishments are still the backbone of technological improvement. History shows that governments had a key role to play in almost all technological breakthroughs we know of today; this tells us the role of the government in the technological growth of a nation.
From the filling systems at government offices, the banking sector of the country, the needs of customers not met, to the loss of students’ results by educational bodies, the need for the AI technology abounds. Employing this technology would easily automate mundane tasks and free up space and time for more complicated jobs to be carried out efficiently by employees.
Until AI is no longer seen from the threatening angle of robots coming to take over the jobs of workers or as an unnecessary expenditure, businesses would not be able to run as efficiently as possible. This inefficiency widens the gap, revealing services offered everywhere else in the world as more efficient when compared with the service provided in the country.
We should realise that using AI would promote efficiency, create more jobs and boost the digital economy; until we acknowledge the loss of data and its effect in our businesses, Nigeria continues to be left behind when it comes to getting equipped with the right tools.
Let me end this piece with a quote by Amusan, “The age of traditional business is over, and for the first time, small businesses have the chance to scale, using affordable technology solutions that give them a fair chance at survival. The question is whether we will consider the investment as worth the naira. Whichever way you look at it, AI will affect your bottom line. If you don’t care, those who are adopting artificial intelligence will take on your customers and serve them better.”
A word is enough for the wise – get into the AI game now!