By Katie Lundin, Customer Service Wonder Gal at crowdspring
Like it or not, the machines are claiming new territory.
And by “machines” I mean artificial intelligence (AI).
Our business and personal lives are touched by AI every day. That friendly lady who took your information and looked up your account when you called your insurance company?
That helpful service on Netflix that recommends new shows to watch?
An AI algorithm.
That stilted voice that gives you directions when you’re lost in a new city?
Amazon’s helpful home assistant, Alexa and Apple’s assistant, Siri?
Without realizing it, we’re interacting with “thinking” machines on an unprecedented level and in forms we had only imagined before. A trends report on artificial intelligence explains:
AI isn’t a singular technology, but an umbrella term that includes machine learning, voice recognition, predictive analytics, among others, to solve a problem.
Artificial intelligence technologies of all forms are gaining momentum in 2018.
Whether you’re excited, indifferent, or stocking a bunker with dry goods, there are several ways that your life is likely to be impacted by artificial intelligence in the coming years.
And, if you’re a small business owner, you need to be thinking about how your business is likely to be impacted by AI.
You can’t afford to ignore the opportunities presented by utilizing artificial intelligence technologies in your business. Mark Skilton, Professor of Practice at Warwick Business School shared the following in a policy briefing:
AI technologies are likely to provide new market opportunities and competitive advantage. Perceptive organizations are already investing in proof of concept studies to determine whether there are opportunities to benefit from AI.
The numbers bear out his claim. Every business owner and would-be entrepreneur should check out these 28 statistics about AI in 2018 (and beyond).
AI in Our Lives
- AI technology is already touching most people in the United States. The Webby Awards AI Trends Report revealed that:
79% of U.S. adults indicated they had used some form of artificial intelligence in the last 12 months, and 65% acknowledged that automation has a significant impact on their daily lives.
- Humans still hold an understandable amount of mistrust for artificial intelligence. It comes as no surprise then that people prefer to reserve the decisions that are most important to their health, wealth and well-being for themselves. 69% of people polled would prefer healthcare decisions to be made personally without the influence of automation. (Webby Trend Report)
- 60% of those surveyed preferred to handle money matters on their own without AI interference. (Webby Trend Report). But we continue to see services like Wealthfront and Betterment gain more customers, and we expect that more and more people will shift to machine-based investment strategies.
- 81% of people polled anticipate that AI automated devices will drive cars in the next 10 years. We’re already seeing this feature from Tesla and numerous other automakers (in limited form).
Perhaps these years of using GPS to help us get around helped pave the way for its AI big brother. Artificial intelligence seems to have earned an accepted place in our transportation future.
- 80% of those polled expect to see automated devices deliver products to our doors. (Webby Trend Report). This provides an interesting opportunity for smaller businesses to continue to differentiate by providing personal, human-powered service to their customers.
AI is still a field in development. Everyone is keen to jump on board and take advantage of the benefits it offers. But the technology is still evolving to meet the expectations that both businesses and consumers hold.
These real-life examples show the mixed results that AI is experiencing today.
- While the idea of a robot assistant seems appealing to a wide swath of consumers, the reality may not live up to the anticipation. One of the most well-known artificial intelligence agents, Apple’s Siri, is only reportedly used by about 15% of iPhone users. That leaves 85% of iPhone users who don’t seem to find value in the robot pal who lives in their pocket. (Intelligent Voice)
- More troubling, 46% of iPhone owners who do use Siri, believe that Siri’s capabilities have been “oversold.” As Siri is a primary selling feature for a flagship product from one of the most renowned technology companies in the world, this begs the question – can anyone really execute an interactive voice recognition-based bot in a useful and meaningful way? (Intelligent Voice)
- The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas has adopted the use of an artificial intelligence concierge called “Rose” to assist their guests and provide a unique interactive experience. Since Rose’s introduction, the hotel has seen a 39% increase in on-site spending and 90% of guests who interacted with Rose reported that they would recommend her. (Social Media Week)
- Unsurprisingly, the companies who prioritize innovation seem to be better at adopting and taking advantage of new technologies. Narrative Science found that 61% of companies with a dedicated innovation strategy are using AI technologies to mine their data for thus-far unidentified business opportunities. This is in stark contrast to the 22% of businesses without an innovation strategy who are utilizing AI in the same fashion.
Data mining is still limited to larger companies, but increasingly, tools are available to help even small companies assess their data and turn those assessments into actionable tactics.
For example, even smaller businesses can effectively use chatbots to increase profits. At crowdspring, we fully appreciate the advantages AI can bring to a business. For example, you may have noticed that we use an AI bot for lead generation on our site and our blog, to encourage readers to subscribe. We know that many entrepreneurs and small business owners need help with naming their company, logo design, web design and other graphic design projects, but lead forms are not always the best way to help us measure and follow-up on that interest. The AI bot allows us to adopt a low-key, conversational approach, rather than using forms (as most companies do in such cases).
Who is Driving AI’s Growth?
- A Forrester Data Infographic reveals that business technology decision makers – or people making technology decisions who work in roles outside of IT – are big proponents of incorporating AI technology into their businesses. Data shown that:
63% of business Technology Decisions Makers (tdms in a role outside of IT) are implementing, have implemented, or are expanding use of artificial intelligence.
- Traditional tech decision makers (who work in the IT field) are slower to embrace AI technology at 43%.
Are We Ready for AI?
- A startling statistic from Forrester points out that while more than 60% of executives believe that their business is not where it should be in terms of its digital transformation, 20% of CEO’s will fail to act. Forrester predicts that this will lead those firms to fail or be acquired by other more tech-savvy businesses. (Forrester)
- Forrester also reports that retailers are largely unprepared to take advantage of intelligent agents, or “bots.” Among many other tasks, these programs can provide shopping suggestions or guide shopping choices for their internet clientele. Forrester’s Predictions 2018 report goes on to explain:
Lack of skills, quasi-differentiated brands, and aged operations are hurdles for traditional retailers — but the role of intelligent agents will be the thorniest issue in 2018. Only 33% of retailers understand the disruptive nature of intelligent agents; 67% do not.
- AI technology is still in its infancy and growing pains are inevitable. It’s projected that 75% of AI projects in 2018 will fall short of expectations because they “fail to model operational considerations.” But, the good news is that this will likely lead decision-makers to revisit the scope of their AI investments and proceed with a better understanding of the field. Firms will be better equipped to achieve success with this additional learning under their belts.
- AI is already in the process of reshaping businesses around the world. But, it’s often not simply a plug-and-play solution. Changes to infrastructure may be called for a business to take full advantage of AI technology. In the next year alone, it is estimated that 59% of business tech decision makers polled consider changing their business model to support AI to be a “high” or “critical” priority for the next 12 months.
- One of the biggest challenges to implementing AI technology is managing the transition to replace a business’s existing data practices. 26% of business tech decision makers cite data practice change management as a major AI challenge. (Forrester AI Infographic)
The Language Barrier
- When a new technology is introduced there’s always a bit of a lag as the world catches up. The same is true of artificial intelligence technologies. Some people fail to understand AI’s impact because they don’t speak its language. Narrative Science shares that 38% of companies surveyed reported that they were using AI technologies in their workplace; but, 88% of companies surveyed were using tech that relies on AI to function.
- Unique proprietary algorithms are the backbone of platforms like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. A failure to understand these algorithms can pose a serious challenge to marketing efforts. For that reason, it’s essential that marketing professionals source talent that can act as translator and influencer between the marketing team and the platforms that rely on AI algorithms. Forrester predicts that:
25% of CMOs will fail to do this, resulting in their brand becoming undifferentiated and silenced in the market.
Concerns about the Future
With the advent of any new technology, there are always concerns worth exploring. How will AI impact our businesses, our economy, and our lives? While it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and hype, it’s important to consider the impact that artificial intelligence technology may have. Here are a few examples of the concerns that consumers hold about AI as we head into 2018:
- Increased automation has some people very concerned about the future of their jobs – and rightly so.
For example, considering that one of the most anticipated uses of artificial intelligence in the coming years is to create self-driving vehicles, those in the trucking industry may have a reason for alarm. The American Trucking Association’s estimate shows that there are 3.5 million US-based truck drivers who stand a 79% chance of losing their job due to vehicle automation. (2018 Webby Trend Report: This Automated Life)
- This fear is not limited to one industry. The Webby AI Trend Report goes on to show that almost one-third of the people surveyed are concerned that automation may eliminate their job.
- Concerns about AI extend beyond job loss to other factors of life as well. 45% of those polled worry that AI and increased automation may pose a privacy risk. (Webby AI Trend Report)
- And, a clear majority of the people surveyed – 57%– reported concerns about the impact automated artificial intelligence will have on the world economy over the next 10 years.
Where Will AI Appear in 2018?
AI technology will perform many tasks in a wide range of business fields in 2018. Here are just a few of the places you’ll find artificial intelligence next year…
- Businesses rely on market insight to strategize, plan and make product or service design choices. In 2018, AI technology will take on a larger share of the insight delivery process. According to an infographic from Forrester, 31% of business tech decision makers plan to implement AI technology to improve the delivery of their business’s insight services.
- It logically follows that 33% of business tech decision makers anticipate that AI will aid in the improvement of products and services and cite this as a key benefit of artificial intelligence technology. (Forrester AI Infographic)
- Narrative Science reports that 38% of businesses surveyed feel that providing predictions on customer, machine and business health is the most important service that artificial intelligence technology can provide.
- 27% of businesses that feel that the most valuable service AI can offer is automating manual and repetitive tasks. (Narrative Science)
- In a world of constant media bombardment, people are learning the value of quiet as they seek to escape from all the noise. It’s estimated that 1% of the US population, will spend roughly $24 billion, using AI services to filter out media that isn’t relevant to them. (Forrester)
- Intelligent agents are somewhat commonplace today. Amazon and Netflix are always at the ready with new suggestions for you to purchase or watch. I’d wager that many of us don’t even notice the creepily accurate (and sometimes outlandish, or redundant) recommendations that we see popping up on our screens. Forrester predicts that 10% of purchase decisions with be guided by a platform’s intelligent agent or bot, starting the “real economic impact of empowered machines.”
As you look ahead to the new year it’s important to strategize to optimize your chances of success in our constantly-evolving technological landscape. By all signs, artificial intelligence is just starting to find its place in our businesses and lives. We hope these statistics give you a better understanding of what to expect in 2018.