Popular doomsday predictions arising from advances in Artificial Intelligence range from the widespread loss of jobs to a world dominated by robots. Steve Brooks, consultancy director at Cooper Parry IT, argues it’s time to bust the myths and realise that AI can free us up to make the most of our distinctly human leadership qualities.
A lot has been said about Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recent times. Stephen Hawking called it “either the best or worst thing to happen to humanity”. Elon Musk labelled it “far more dangerous than nukes”. And the ethics and security around the technology have been at the forefront of countless discussions.
It has ruffled a lot of feathers. And has been championed by others as our opportunity to soar.
Amidst the opinions of high-profile supporters and detractors, one thing remains clear: right now, any predictions of bowing down to our automated overlords, from a data volume and algorithm perspective, are very much pie in the sky.
The truth about AI in business
At an event we ran recently, we asked the audience about their thoughts around AI. When the votes were in, two answers dominated. Firstly, “I like the idea but don’t know how to apply it in my business”, and secondly, “I don’t know enough to say”.
These responses reinforced what we already knew: the key challenge with AI at the moment isn’t ducking for cover from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lasers.
It’s about opening people’s eyes to the practical uses of the technology. It’s showing them the power it has to revolutionise their business. And it’s mythbusting popular culture to say “no, these robots aren’t stealing our jobs on their way to world domination.” Instead they’re taking care of the repetitive, menial tasks they excel at. And they’re freeing up our time to use our exclusively human qualities, such as creativity, empathy, teamwork and leadership.
For that reason, Artificial Intelligence will make us more human, not less.
From data to insights, and insights to action
Far from the futuristic concept many perceive it to be, the practical uses of AI and its huge productivity boosts are available to your business right now.
Take Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Business Central, for example. It’s an all-in-one, cloud-based business management solution boasting built-in AI capabilities that could supercharge your efficiency, improve your customers’ experience, and give you a significant advantage against your competition. It features:
- Late Payment Prediction: Based on what’s known about their payment history, Business Central can predict whether your customers are going to pay sales invoices on time. As a result, the time and personnel you would have used to sift through old reports to unearth the same information are freed up, and ready to be used on other tasks.
- Streamlined sales quotes and purchase invoices: Because Business Central is fully integrated with your other Microsoft programs, such as Outlook, the AI can look at the emails you’re receiving and identify what the customer’s asking for. Then, it can provide a sales quote; cutting the time to produce a quote down from minutes (or even hours), to seconds. On top of that, it can be used for creating purchase invoices in Outlook, too.
- Supply chain optimisation: Business Central’s AI system looks at sales forecasts to predict when your stock will run out. Then, it highlights the optimal time to order new stock, and even creates a purchase order for you.
- Image analysis: Business Central’s built-in image analyser detects attributes in any of the images that you import. It can identify specific products, making it easy for you to review and assign them. And if you import an image of a person, it can help you to group them with others based on gender or age.
AI drives success and simplicity
The capabilities of Dynamics 365 Business Central lay bare AI’s power to change the workplace for the better; increasing productivity and efficiency by automating tasks and predicting trends, improving customer experience, and freeing up our time to do what we do best: being human and using the intelligence that only we have.
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, said “AI will probably most likely lead to the end of the world, but in the meantime, there’ll be great companies.” There’s only one certainty in that sentence. Let’s make sure it comes true.