Why Artificial Intelligence is the Future of Business Automation & Economy?


Business growth and economy are linked together. Healthy business helps economies to flourish at micro and macro levels. There are complexities inasmuch as business may thrive within a country due to local conditions but may face severe challenges on the global platform. Opening up barriers further raises the bar on local businesses. Enterprises must maintain profitability and make use of innovation to remain competitive. In this scenario, artificial intelligence proves to be a game-changer as an Accenture Research study shows on the effect that AI has on 16 industries in 12 developed economies. AI simply raises profitability by about 38 percentage points.


Business AI Automation

AI brings in its wake worries about creating unemployment but considered from another perspective this paves the way for skill restructuring. AI automation certainly proves helpful in unlocking new potential areas and increasing profits in quite a few areas of business and manufacturing. 

Intelligent automation can streamline both supply-side management and production chain while assisting the sales process. Workers who spend more time on routine, repetitive tasks are freed to use creative and innovative skills that can contribute to improvements. Improvements and innovations lead to speedy development of new products. Industry growth also relies on information, financial services and communication, areas that see a significant improvement by infusing AI into operations.


·         Manufacturing is one sector with high costs involving labor, low output efficiency and frequent breakdowns. AI changes the scene. Machine learning helps the system to adapt and evolve over time while reducing involvement of human supervision. There are fewer faulty parts, less of idle time and fewer breakdowns since sensors tied to AI systems can provide predictive maintenance alerts before a major breakdown. Manufacturing makes more use of IoT to create intelligent production infrastructure and here too AI ties up everything neatly.

·         Manufacturing, naturally, is tied to inventory in which businesses must walk the tight rope of maintaining adequate stocks without the risk of accumulating inventory that proves to be deadstock. The feed to production and its smooth operation depends on inventory levels of raw materials. Production, again, also depends on how fast finished products are moving and the input is provided by the sales and marketing sections. Bosch is a fine example of today’s high level of AI automation in which machines supervise production, find and repair faults and even place orders.

·         Sales and marketing sections have the tough job of generating orders that will keep order books full and a steady stream of revenues flowing into the company. Given the company and changing customer preferences it is a challenge. This is where AI helps with its capability track massive amounts of structured and unstructured data and capture such information in real-time from a variety of sources. Level of technology has reached a point where such AI-powered big data analysis in real-time is possible and the system presents actionable reports, even recommending the best course of action. Businesses can anticipate trends and be ready with products that are in demand, not with products that are outdated. AI also tracks customer behaviors online and helps businesses to derive data as well as make recommendations. One example is Amazon. A buyer searching for a product on its e-commerce site is offered options and relevant products in the AI-powered up-selling and cross-selling strategy. Amazon also makes use of AI-powered robotics system that takes in an order, uses a machine to pick the product and to dispatch it in the shortest time. Is it any wonder that Amazon leads the pack in online e-commerce?

·         AI powers programmatic ad space that helps relevant product advertisements to be displayed in milliseconds on a page containing content that interests the visitor. Chatbots are no less important in conversions. Artificial intelligence chatbots today are capable of offering a near-human interaction and converting visitors while helping businesses reduce costs they would incur on paying salaries. Chatbot is fine for online interaction and this model is carrying over to real-world scenarios in which a person can walk up to a counter and interact with a voice responsive machine and initiate further processes such as ordering a product, making payment, or checking in at airline counters. Personnel who would normally attend to these functions are free to use their creative skills in more pressing areas that AI cannot handle.

·         Even R&D benefits greatly by ML and AI in reducing development time or analyzing parameters through machine learning based on study of thousands of prototypes and various parameters. The result is reduced cost and speed to market.

·         Businesses rely on financial experts to provide guidance and analytics. AI automates the mundane task of data analysis and frees experts to focus on taking decisions.

 

Businesses start to stagnate and then spiral downward if they work on slim profit margins. Developed countries face the problem of high cost of labor and availability. Both these affect profit margins. Reduced margins leave no scope for R&D, expansion and innovation. AI changes the situation by helping labor to be more productive while reducing costs and increasing profits that will spur further innovation leading to growth. An Accenture study predicts that manufacturing, financial services and communication sectors will see a growth of over 4% by 2035. The writing on the wall is clear: Adapt AI or be left behind.

 

Healthcare

Healthcare combines service and business. AI automation has the potential to help generate additional $461 billion for this industry segment by 2035 while helping the segment to grow from 2.2% to 3.4%. Doctors and supporting staff are the hub around which the industry revolves. It is common knowledge that doctors are overworked and can rarely devote significant amounts of time to diagnose each case. The result can be improper diagnoses at the least and faulty diagnoses leading to wrong treatment. AI changes all this with its learning based on analyzing millions of records to come up with precise diagnosis. It is not only in treatment that AI makes a difference; prevention is the other area where early diagnosis helps potential patients avoid expensive treatment costs and remain productive in contributing to the nation’s economy. AI innovation is expected to add $100 billion by 2035.

 

AI, Governments and Economies

Businesses may be self-centered and focus on their survival as well as growth. AI, for them, is an indispensable tool for the present and the future and businesses that change to AI automation does contribute to the economy. Governments that use AI and encourage its use help the country to flourish. A case in point is China with its focus on research and development. AI is at the center with the government focusing on AI and robotics, aided by private companies like Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba that are investing billions in AI and research. China is just behind the US in the number of private startups valued at over $1 billion.

It is no coincidence that countries that lead in research and emphasize AI are also economically advanced. Case in point is Japan, US and South Korea that have the record for filing two-third of AI related patents according to the European Parliamentary Research Service. Patents in AI relate to telecom, transport, healthcare, science and devices as well as smart cities, banking and agriculture. Similarly, a PricewaterhouseCooper study shows the likelihood of increase of global GDP by up to 14% by 2030 due to fast-tracked AI implementation. Facebook funded 2016 Analysis Group study shows that AI influences GDP and job generation.

Even India, not considered a developed nation, is serious about AI implementation as the paper by NITI Aayog shows. It clearly mentions the need for an AI strategy for economic growth and for social development. Nations have a greater burden. While the corporate sector is profit-oriented in its thoughts and actions, the country has the responsibility to further interests of the corporate sector and also further social development that would boost economic activity. In a country as diverse and riddled with bureaucratic red tape as India, AI is the one factor that could help weave an infrastructure for all-round growth. India has already taken a step by going in for the development of smart cities that would attract global investment though other bottlenecks are yet to be worked out but AI is a step on the way to economic growth. Given that its problems are complex in virtually every sphere, whether manufacturing, agriculture or healthcare, India’s encouragement for AI development could see its IT sector serve the world should it be able to put AI to good use.

Developed countries are in a position to make use of AI and are using it at the governance level as well as its business sector level. Developing nations like India are following the lead. However, Africa mainly comprises of underdeveloped countries that need AI to handle the many pressing challenges in production, agriculture and healthcare. It is heartening to note that in Africa there is Abdoulaye Banire Diallo, founder of My Intelligent Machines, who is working on machine learning to build intelligent breeding programs that will help the dairy and agriculture industry.


As said at the beginning, business, governments and economies of a country are interlinked and when AI forms part of the link one can foresee improvements across the board for all.


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