Less than a generation ago, the term Artificial Intelligence, or AI, instilled fear in most. Then again, major motion pictures had set the precedent that AI was a system programmed to think and act like humans…and would inevitably turn against mankind (does HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey” ring a bell?). In recent years, however, as AI has gradually woven itself into everyday life. Go ahead and ask Alexa about it – there has been a sort of compromise and better understanding of its many uses and applications. Additionally, AI has been a savior of sorts to a variety of industries across the globe, particularly in this increasingly digital age. If anything, AI is here to help much more than hinder. But now that we know AI isn’t The Matrix or an army of cyborgs, one must wonder: what is Artificial Intelligence? Furthermore, how are industries capitalizing on AI implementation in 2023?
Let’s begin by defining AI. According to one of the leading textbooks in the study of AI, Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig’s “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach,” the ideal and practical approach to AI is building “systems that think rationally” and “systems that act rationally.” This highlights how we use AI today, such as self-driving cars, smart assistants, chatbots, etc. But how are organizations putting these rationally thinking and acting programs to good use?
“There’s simply too much data for an entire team, let alone one person.”
At a recent Meet the Boss Live event, a group of Fortune 500 executives came together to discuss the role of AI in their approaches to sales, marketing, and customer experience and how to build a 360-view of the customer. To do so requires an immense amount of data – too much for humans to sift through and action. As one attendee from a major beverage company put it, “there’s simply too much data for an entire team, let alone one person.” This is where AI integration comes to the rescue. To not only “rationally” find the necessary data to meet the customer every step of their journey, but to act on it expeditiously. There is always the caveat of knowing too much about the customer and making them uncomfortable, which is one of the big goals for AI usage in this space in 2023.
Here are some of the key talking points from this event:
- The use of AI and data integration to define the customer
- AI enablement in advertising
- The use of data to engage the customer (chatbots, contact centers, etc.)
- How AI can assist with omnichannel
AI for ERs and GPs
If you’ve had the misfortune of a recent hospital visit, you may have noticed things moved a little faster or required less paperwork. As we learned at the 2022 GDS Healthcare Summit, the reason for this is actually a ripple effect from the hospital overflow caused by COVID-19. Healthcare facilities and workers realized the need to speed up processes to alleviate doctor/nurse/surgeon burnout and provide better patient outcomes. With AI implementation, health records and patient information are streamlined and easily accessible from hospital to clinic and vice-versa. But it doesn’t stop there. There’s the cost-effectiveness of AI implementation. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “it is estimated that AI applications can cut annual US healthcare costs by USD 150 billion in 2026.” This frees up money for use in other crucial aspects of patient care and gives health practitioners some breathing room.
Stephanie Garey hosts the NG Healthcare Summit in December 2022.
Putting the AI in Supply Chain (and Warehouses)
There has been much ado about supply chain disruptions over the past few years with the enormous amount of natural and geopolitical disasters. That is why there is a need for AI to step in and fill multiple gaps. Most notably for staff and skilling shortages as well as supply chain visibility issues. The programs were used to find latency issues combined with predictive analytics to stay ahead future disruptions. However, recently, much of the attention is now how retailers can better manage the warehouse and store floors.
It didn’t help that the digital-first age just so happened to come to life just as the world faced widespread tumult, thus making it difficult to keep up with customer demand and customer satisfaction. So, where does AI fit in when warehouses and store floors are predominantly overseen by humans with scanners?
“The key is in finding that balance between human intelligence and artificial intelligence.”
During a Meet the Boss virtual roundtable, a panel of major retail executives came together to discuss this very subject, and an interesting point came to light. To overcome the aforementioned challenges, there needs to be a balance between humans and automation. With AI’s predictive analytics, data management, and ability to expedite processes combined with the humans to feed the algorithms and do all the heavy lifting, shippers and retailers can provide consistency from one warehouse to another – regardless of size. This not only keeps the supply up with the demand but cuts massive losses due to missing merchandise. With regards to the growing digital economy, one attendee added, “scaling AI/automation is imperative as digital shopping continues.”
Colin Cosell moderating an AI/Automation Roundtable in December 2022.
In Conclusion, and To Be Continued…
So, the next time you buy a sweater, have a quick visit to the doctor, or purchase plane tickets online, remember one thing… Artificial Intelligence helped make those things a reality for you and has only started to enhance our lives. If you work in retail, healthcare, or various other industries – you may already know this. What the future holds for our wonderful new relationship with AI remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: Hollywood’s AI-powered, blood-thirsty, sentient machines won’t be coming after us…for now.
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