Seven Reasons Businesses Can’t Afford to Ignore AI

By Mike Bugembe

Sometimes keeping up with the latest buzzwords and trends in business can seem overwhelming. Do they apply to you? How? How many are just hype? What do they even mean?

If you want your business to succeed in the coming decade (and who doesn’t?), you need to pay attention to big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI). Your very existence may depend on it.

Here’s why:

Reason #1:  AI is not science fiction. It’s a business disruptor.

For many, the term “artificial intelligence” conjures up images of robots stealing jobs from human workers, self-driving cars, and super computers taking over the world. However, in today’s environment (and specifically as it relates to your business), it’s much more about harnessing the power of big data and using machine learning to analyze that data for unseen insights and perform forecasts using a myriad of possible business scenarios and ever-changing factors.

So, what exactly are we talking about, then? With the precision analysis and forecasting that machine learning and AI can provide, you can make better business decisions. No more blindly stabbing in the dark, guessing which maneuvers will improve your bottom line.

AI is a game changer in today’s business environment, and if you want to play the game you need to get on the field.

Reason #2:  AI is not on the way… it’s already here!

If you think AI is a mirage on some future horizon, think again. A study by Gartner reveals that 37% of businesses today have adopted AI – that’s a 270% increase over just four years ago, and every indication points to continued and exponential growth of AI.

With the implementation of AI on the rise your competitors will be looking to get on the bandwagon, if they aren’t already. You don’t want to be left in the dust!

Reason #3:  AI will be the next General Purpose Technology (GPT).

Beyond disrupting business, AI is changing everyday life as we know it – just like the Internet did. “If the internet was the appetizer, then AI is the main course,” says Robin Li Yanhong, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, a Chinese tech conglomerate.

Furthermore, McKensey & Company, a leading management consulting firm in the U.S., calculates that AI will be used in 70% of businesses by 2030, and by 2025 as much as 95% of all customer interactions will go through some kind of AI-related functionality.

Experts are clearly predicting that AI will be as ubiquitous as the Internet in our daily lives within the next few years. Can you imagine a company that does not use the internet today? What do you think a company that doesn’t take advantage of the benefits AI has to offer will look like when AI is the GPT it is predicted to be?

Reason #4:  Venture Capitalists and Acquisitions Indicate AI is here to stay.

It’s rarely a good idea to blindly follow the pack and do something just because “everyone else is” (consider the lemming’s plunge off the cliff). However, when you see “the big guys” investing in a technology it’s probably worth checking out.

In recent years, many Venture Capitalists have turned an eye toward AI. For example, Jim Breyer, whose investment in Facebook back in 2005 turned out well for him (the company is now worth over $326 billion!), says this:  “Ten years from now, [AI] will have even more significant wealth creation, stockholder appreciation opportunities, than what I believe we saw in social networks in 2005 and internet investing in 1995."

Corporations are also making huge investments in AI as evidenced by a remarkable increase in acquisitions in AI and machine learning industries. 2018 saw an 84% growth (worth over $14.7 billion) in AI and ML-related acquisitions over 2016, representing 241 individual acquisitions. PWC predicts that by 2030 $16 trillion dollars will have been invested in the technology through buyouts and acquisitions.

Reason #5:  AI is not just for tech giants.

You may have heard the stories of how Netflix uses mounds of data and complex, proprietary algorithms to serve up just the right videos to viewers, and how Google and Facebook have harnessed the awesome power of data to (almost creepily!) place content-driven ads in your search results and news feeds. Mention that you like a certain new product while cooking dinner in your kitchen, and your Alexa will serve up an ad for it in your Facebook feed that evening.

While these giants of industry and many like them certainly have invested millions into crunching their massive store of data into actionable initiatives – and are reaping the benefits in the billions – smaller companies like yours are also enjoying huge returns on investing in AI technologies for their businesses.

Reason #6:  Implementing AI in your business is not as expensive as you might think.

You don’t have to have a Netflix, Google, or Facebook budget to benefit from AI and machine learning. The technology is becoming accessible to normal, everyday businesses thanks to the emergence of various tools, libraries, and frameworks as well as an increase in educated data scientists and analysts available to help.

You might be surprised at how within reach the benefits of AI are for you and your business.

Reason #7:  AI is the key to surviving and thriving in the coming decade.

According to McKinsey, AI could potentially create between $3.5 and $5.8 trillion in annual value in the global economy, and according to a recent study conducted by MIT’s Sloan Management Review, 85% of companies say AI will offer a competitive advantage for businesses.

“If you are a CIO and your organization doesn’t use AI, chances are high that your competitors do and this should be a concern,” says Chris Howard, Research Vice President at Gartner.

Do you want to be left behind by you competitors? Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, and the future is now. Get ahead of the game today and educate yourself on the benefits of AI and how it can be implemented within your business.

Mike Bugembe is an award winning author and  AI and big data specialist.  You can see more about him here:


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