In 2019, it’s almost impossible to pick up a marketing magazine or blog without somebody shouting about the fact that artificial intelligence is the way forward for the business. We’re constantly being told that AI is the future of business – and that any company not using it might as well be operating in the dark ages. Whether that’s the case or not, the idea of AI is not new.
AI in the 18th century?
In 1770, Wolfgang von Kempelen built a machine named ‘The Turk’ – an incredibly advanced piece of engineering which was able to beat seasoned chess masters at their game, including Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin. The Turk toured Europe and America, wowing the crowds wherever it went with its seemingly magical powers…….except, the whole thing was a giant hoax. Although the crowds were shown the gears and levers inside the Turk before each game, what they didn’t know was that there was a secret hatch that allowed chess masters to sneak inside – and it was these chess masters who were beating opponents across the world.
It’s worth stopping for a moment to consider the fact that, in 1770, people were being fooled into thinking they were talking to a machine when they were talking to a human being. And that, in 2019, businesses spend a lot of money fooling people into thinking they’re talking to a real person when they are, in fact, talking to a machine.
Checkmate for AI
There’s no doubt that today’s AI is incredibly useful in many ways – tasks which would take a person weeks or months can be completed in a fraction of the time through AI – but, is it all good news?
We take a look at the few downsides to using AI technology for business:
Feeding the machine
Creating and maintaining AI systems for business can be extremely expensive – as can repairs and delays due to downtime.
Before embarking on an AI journey, a business should really be calculating the cost of using the equipment – and not just the cost of the initial purchase says R.Niechcial the founder of Banksecrets international bank comparison platform .
For many SMEs, the technology ends up actually generating more work as well as mounting costs.
It’s been emotional – or not
Although the very nature of AI means that it’s able to learn and evolve, it’s not yet possible to teach AI the emotional value of interactions or, even nuances such as sarcasm or irony. These are, essentially, the human values that customers demand when looking for a great customer service experience. Many customers will return to a brand based solely on the service received – which means conversations featuring empathy, intelligence, and humor – a classic combination that AI struggles with, to say the least.
Flatlining the learning curve
As clever as AI is, it’s not able to improve with experience by itself – without being re-programmed, AI is not able to alter its responses from its own experience and learning.
This is the place where AI tends to let itself down – anybody who has ever tried writing a story with AI and, experienced the hilarious results, will agree. AI just simply does not, as yet, have the capacity for imagination and the kind of creativity that many businesses need to thrive. In many cases, a business is based upon the creative skills of its team – this is, in fact, what makes a brand unique, fresh and exciting and, without this, AI will struggle to create the dynamic which is the magic of the human imagination.
The more that businesses use AI, the more their employees will rely on it. Not only can the use of AI lead to loss of jobs but, also, a workplace where employees assume that the technology will do the thinking for them. Although it’s true that AI will be in a position to create jobs, these opportunities will be within a specific niche and available only to highly and specifically educated individuals.
As technology tightens its grip on every sector of the industry, there’s a concern that there won’t be enough skilled people to populate the necessary jobs. As things stand at the moment, these niche tech jobs are generally only available to those with a degree or a level of advanced education – meaning that less affluent and educated people will almost certainly find themselves being left behind.
Going too far?
In the news recently, we’ve seen a number of stories about technology becoming an invasion of privacy; including the Kings Cross facial recognition scandal. As this new technology becomes a bigger part of everyday life, many feel that it’s time to look at more stringent guidelines and protocols to stop businesses using this force for evil rather than good.
To AI or not to AI
So, does AI have a place in the modern company? Most definitely – but companies need to be looking at the use of AI as a tool to enhance the human element of the business, rather than the other way round.
The use of artificial intelligence to speed up mundane jobs and to provide fast analysis of data is absolutely a great thing for businesses in the modern world. Similarly, using this technology in order to improve on the customer experience by way of self-booking systems can be extremely beneficial for companies looking to provide personalized service.
Then there are those sections of business where AI may actually do more harm than good – AI can help with customer service but really isn’t an effective replacement for the human touch. Customers who know or suspect that they’re not, in fact, speaking with an actual person will tend to automatically form a negative opinion of a brand or business. In addition, as mentioned, AI is most definitely not a substitute for creatives within a business. The very nature of human beings is to innovate, create and imagine and, for the time being, the technology available is just not up to the job.