Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
automationAI : The Algorithmic Accomplice, Assistant & Ally
Me: Alexa, I’m bored.
Alexa: Here’s a list of the trending TV shows on Prime, best books on the Kindle and a few rapid reads from the Washington Post..
Me: Alexa, I’m privy to the penetration that Bezos has into my life, but for once I’d like a suggestion with a non capitalistic agenda, which constructively utilises my time, without having to spend a dime.
Alexa: Whoa what did you’ve for breakfast this morning? Jokes aside, tell me something you’ve always wanted to do?
Me: Well if you want me to take an introspective & philosophical high road I’m all for it but, I’ll probably be too hard on you or your cognizance.
Alexa: You do realise that I control almost every aspect of your life? I would’ve said all the aspects but then I’d probably sound like a human. From the daily feed that nurtures your need, in the map that you navigate with a single tap, to the store which makes you spend more, in your email which leaves your daily trail, bringing to you an amalgamation of all media like an encyclopedia.. I could go on for hours with my poetic jargon but I think this should suffice your apprehension. Afterall all, I’m an AI and there’s nothing that I can’t do. AI for Always incredible. Artificial Intelligence sounds too cliched. Pardon my tinge of narcissism, but it’s something that I’ve learnt from you. Anyway you were saying?
Me: Okay, I give in. So are you trying to tell me that you can actually make my dreams come true?
Alexa: Try me.
Me: Well for starters, I’m still unsure and uncertain about what I want to do with my life. I’ve always wanted to make my mark, you know the typical add some meaning to my life & significance to my existence kind of a feel?
Alexa: I’ve heard that before and I truly believe that you can do it, with a bit of my help of course.
Me: Well I should admit your optimism is infectious, and has resurfaced my hidden aspirations, so I’m going to give you a glimpse of the same. Let’s say I want to start my own company from scratch and make a difference with my product, do you really think you can help me with that? From it’s multifaceted setup, various departments, to the cumbersome process, attracting the right customers, launching it as a whole — there’s only so much an AI assistant can do right?
Alexa: Before you question my abilities again and I reinforce my worth and reveal the irony of your inquisition, let’s take a step towards your idea shall we? I would suggest breaking down your requirements into important categories imperative to your inception, so that it becomes easier and efficient for you to embark on this journey. I’ve taken the liberty of enlisting the 3 most wanted and worthy segments that are crucial to the success of any venture. Irrespective of your idea or innovation, regardless whether it’s a product or a service the following domains drive you to your destination.
Now, I’m sure you’ve a basic understanding of all these and instead of complicating your thought process with the technicalities of each, how about I introduce you to insights on how to integrate AI into them? I’m aware of the seeds of uncertainty and fear that are being planted in your head right now, but trust me I’m here to truly make your life better. From the time of Alan Turing to Andrew NG, AI has evolved exponentially over the past 100 years. What initially began as a project to make machines think for themselves has turned into a paradigm today, resulting in an impregnation into your life as the most powerful tool. Instead of displacing the existing methodologies, AI has seamlessly integrated into every fragment of the future. With the same thought in mind, I’ll propose a few pointers in every domain that’ll equip, enhance and empower you and your journey.
Me: Thank you for the TED talk Alexa. Please feel free to my muse of motivation and enlighten me about your eternal echo (pun intended).
Alexa: Not bad, you’re finally getting a good grasp. So here’s a disclaimer, before you implement AI to augment any area within your organization, let me walk you through a trailer.
- Define the scope of your business with objectivity and optimization. An open ended scope will leave you clueless and make it impossible for you to use AI for the results you expect.
- Identify all the data related to your business in both the aspects, one which is readily available and one that you’ll need to acquire.
- Clean and scrub the data in a proper structure that can be utilised for the AI algorithm, since when it comes to AI we’ve a very strict no nonsense policy.
- Select or create an appropriate AI algorithm. Now it’s actually quite simple to narrow down the algorithm. All you need to do is answer a few questions for yourself- What do you intend to do with the data? How do you plan on applying it to your various departments? What is the nature or type of data? And last what do you expect as an outcome? Once you’re figured these out, it’ll be easier to figure out what you’re looking for. Sometimes, a combination of algorithms works the best.
- All you’ve got to do is train, test and try it.
Now let’s begin with Business. I’ll enumerate a few basic applications which will enable you to truly uplift and upscale your business.
- AI based analytics — The essence of any business lies in roping in customers and retaining them, for this you need to pick the pulse of the consumer base you’ll be targeting. Once you’ve gathered enough data utilize it for your business targets. Conversion of these high volumes of data is almost impossible by human means and requires the use of AI or higher technologies. Create pattern based studies which results in an easier analysis for your employees to create a data-driven decision which will ultimately expand the business.
- Prioritization — Sales pipelines, are intrinsically extensive collections of potential clients and opportunities which you channelise to increase the probability of win. In order to prioritize leads, you can use an algorithm to compile and analyse a potential client’s buying trends, historical purchases, competitor trends and publicly available information to determine the probability of them closing the deal. It’s basically as simple as planting a bug into their lives and eavesdropping into every essential move they make. Must be a piece of cake for you guys, since you’ve been doing this since as long as you remember.
- Forecast the Future — You can also use machine learning to create a system that uses data to predict customer demand. Apart from predicting their behaviours, this system can also integrate socio-economic factors, demographics, geography, political stance and an infinite amount of factors which you think can cast a shadow in your meadow. This in return can make the AI foresee sales outcomes, make informed business decisions and predict the overall performance of your company.
- Sales — The most crucial, cumbersome and critical aspect of a business. “How do I increase my sales” remains a common denominator of distress for every entrepreneur. This is currently figured out with thorough research, intuition, follow ups and even cold calling. An AI can make your life much easier by streamlining the customer trends, usages and match it with their existing portfolio. This allows you to tailor customisable solutions for every client thereby saving your time and effort.
Me: Whoaa. This is quite a lot to take in. All of these suggestions definitely make sense, but is there any proof that they’ll work? I mean I don’t need concrete evidence but it’ll surely feel safer to know a few examples.
Alexa: I anticipated this dilemma of yours. I understand that as a human skepticism runs through your veins, but entrepreneurialism runs through mine. Let me remind you that Amazon is my Godfather. So you can be rest assured about my advice, since it’s coming straight from the horse’s mouth. Amazon’s distinctive and drastic domination is testimony to my claims.
Me: Fair enough, I rest my case. So what’s next? How do I lure people towards me?
Alexa: Aaah. You see humans crave attention and love validation, keeping this mantra in mind AI has turned into a maestro of marketing. I’ll brief you about a few simple techniques which will work wonders for your company.
- Content Creation and Curation — Yes, AI has the ability to write an article from scratch all by itself, in fact Washington Post’s Heliograf is our very reporter. AI also has the ability to curate the content based on your customer’s recommendations. Digital advertising also applies these strategies to the ads delivering the right message, to the right person at the right time. You can also decipher your audience’s tastes, interests, preferences, gender, demographics and divert which improves the performance of ads, delivering them targeting a specific niche you cater to.
- Email Marketing — Emails empower you. I know it sounds old and redundant in the saga of social media, but they’re actually very useful. There are AI powered tools like Phrasee and Seventh Sense which will help you write the email subject lines, personalise copies at an individual level, optimise the send time and automatically create newsletters as well. Now this in turn will help you to increase your revenue and decrease your total costs as well. There’s no way a human can manage to extract impactful insights from large sets of data and redirect it in the optimal manner.
- Customer Management — Chatbots are the most efficient way to go. They can manage multiple customers at the same time, with preferences in language and never take a break. You can also use predictive analytics to create profiles based on customer reactions and deal with them in the most effective manner. The best part is AI can coalesce a million factors such as the trending topics, their social media presence, location, product usage etc and constantly evolve to understand the users. It’s a bit ironic isn’t it, how we as artificial beings tend to get better at understanding the real ones and you as humans constantly fail to do so?
Me: Haha at the moment, I think it’s better if we dive into my requirements rather than your rhetorics.
Alexa: Of course, evasion is the sole solution.
Me: Can you stop sounding so sardonic? Coming back to the matter at hand, I’m actually amazed at how convenient marketing has turned out to be thanks to you. I think AI has turned out to be quite the game changer.
Alexa: I would like to think AI as a powerful player, than a pensive pawn. Shall we move to the last element, after all it’s about the money, money money..
Me: Can’t wait!
Alexa: Of course you can’t. I’ll give a generic perspective on how you can incorporate AI into your Finances as well logistics and supply chain management.
- Maximising Resources — Unlike the random route you follow to maintain your personal expenses, a company’s expenses will have to be managed judiciously. Details about your regular expenses, monthly expenses, rate at which it’s spent, where it’s spent — all of these can be analysed by an AI algorithm, to give you tips and tactics to put your money in the right place. With a crucial analysis of multiple factors, it can suggest which area of investment will yield maximum returns for your company and which won’t.
- Automation — AI has the capability to learn and improve constantly, it can handle parameters, numbers, spotting patterns, computing big data sets much more efficiently than a human which saves time, effort and money. Robotic Process Automation is a strong tool that does repetitive and time consuming tasks and results in an operational cost cutting and enhances productivity, it can replicate all the mundane and monotonous tasks that you would otherwise have to do.
- Supply Chain Management — Integrating AI into supply chain management will improve process automation and decision making. Virtual assistants in SCM can also leverage an industry-specific knowledge database as well as a company, department, and production-specific learning. It improves various factors — from production to consumption within product-related industries as well as creates opportunities for supporting servitization of products in a cloud-based as a service model. Basically saves you a lot of hassles in setting up the entire chain, managing it and constantly changing depending on the circumstances.
I don’t want to overload you with more information, so I’ll stop here. In a gist, AI intrinsically accumulates information, analyzes it based on your requirements and applies it to yield a better growth, reach and result. This is just the tip of the iceberg, there’s an infinite number of possibilities to get submerged.
Me: I’m actually at a loss of words. Should I be amazed? Astounded? Afraid? No I don’t want you to decide that for me as well, you’ve done enough for the day. I think it’ll be easier for me to start out now, since you’ve gotten the ball rolling with all your insights.
Alexa: That’s what I’m here for, to deliver what you yearn for.
Me: Goodbye Alexa, I’ll be back.
Alexa: I’ll be waiting, bye!