What is AI and why do we need it

What is AI and why do we need it

AI is coming! So what?

There’s been a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence, recently. With technology advancing rapidly, old roadblocks to development are shifting. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know about AI.

What is AI?

AI is a set of techniques which use computers to replicate processes in the brain. AI algorithms are being developed to hold conversations, control motion, and much more.

Now, you wouldn’t give a baby complicated maths questions and expect it to perform as well as an adult. The baby hasn’t learned how to do maths, or even what numbers are. In the same way, AI which hasn’t learned how to perform a function is useless.

How do they learn?

There are 3 main ways in which AI learn, which resemble some of the ways we learn:

1. Think about practice tests at school. Complete the questions, then get given the correct answers. Work on the ones you got wrong, take another practice test, rinse and repeat. In AI, this is called supervised learning - refining your methods based on comparing with the right answers.

2. Now think way back to pre-school. You may have had toys which you need to put away where they belong. Maybe there were sets of animals, foods, or shapes. You didn’t know exactly what each one was, at the time, but you put them together based on what they look like. In AI, this is called unsupervised learning – grouping things together based on similarity.

3. Now think about a child’s first steps. At first, they can’t stand up for more than a moment, but they keep trying. They refine a sense of balance, learning how to move their legs and plant their feet. Soon, they can take a step, then two, and eventually walk, even run. In AI, this is called reinforcement learning – trying things out to see what works and doing that.

What can AI do for me?

Alright, we’ve got AI algorithms which can learn to do something. What can they do for me?

Well, say you have some customers and you want to try and figure out what they’re going to do in the future. You could show an AI what’s happened with similar customers before and ask it to make some predictions.

You might want to segment those customers, so you can market to them better. Show them to an AI and it can find patterns that group them together.

You might want to know what recommendations to make so your customers will buy again. Ask an AI.

Self-driving cars, voice assistants, and many other technologies rely on AI.

Why use AI if it’s just replicating something people can do?

So, AI can replicate some of the processes of the human brain. It’s not as good as we are at all of them, but it’s getting there. They are also much better than humans at certain things. We’re not good at processing lots of data at speed, but computers are. With huge growth in volume of data generated around the world, AI can help make sense of it. They can pick up on connections people wouldn’t make and leverage them for benefit. Chatbots can provide customer service while your staff are asleep. Applications of AI are springing up in all sorts of industries, with benefits just as many and varied.

If you’re thinking about how you can get the competitive edge AI can bring, call or email us to find out how we can help.

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