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AI Is Here -- Is Your Company Ready?

A step back: Uber has stopped testing self-driving cars because of a fatal crash.

A look forward: A 10-year-old unlocked the code for Apple’s Face ID, a facial recognition security feature that allows you to use your face to log on to your mobile device.

Are we going backward or forward when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), and why should businesses take note?

The truth is, we are living through the disruption of AI right now. Technology testing is not always a step forward. It’s a back-and-forth struggle. In this environment, it’s confusing to know how AI fits into your business. Is it hype? Is it overhype? There’s no doubt in my mind that businesses need to get a handle on AI in order to be relevant in tomorrow’s world -- actually, even in today’s world.

We are experiencing a second industrial revolution, and businesses need to jump on now. Even though AI is used by thousands of companies, many companies have not jumped on board, and many opportunities have gone unused.

Uber, Walmart, Apple, Google, Facebook and General Electric all use AI, but those are huge companies with deep pockets. What can you do to leverage technology if you own a much smaller business to avoid being left behind?1. Robotic Process Automation: Be As Efficient As PossibleA big leap ahead of earlier automation utilities, robotic process automation (RPA) is code that mimics humans carrying out tasks such as:• Picking up changes in customer profiles and updating all systems including billing and marketing.• Natural language processing tools for extracting certain sections from documents.• Ordering fast food by pushing a button instead of talking to a cashier.These RPA scripts/programs are rule-based and transparent in how they do their work, but they don’t fall into the category of machine learning, meaning they are not capable of learning. They are also the least costly AI tool and are well-suited to working across multiple back-office systems. I meet with clients all the time who want to optimize their business operations by leveraging technology. Start here.In order to get RPA for your business, get an expert team to design and execute the automation. Then, make sure your data is clearly documented and mapped out, that you have a process for collecting the correct data, and that you are regularly reviewing and updating data quality and procedures. In addition, be sure to constantly measure the efficiency that is produced by automating processes across your different systems and find gaps that can be further worked on.

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