AI has its place in business, just don’t believe the hype
Business Management

AI has its place in business, just don’t believe the hype

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is getting a lot of attention these days, but like the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing before it, a great deal of hype and marketing is already starting to obscure just what AI is and what the potential benefits could be for businesses.

AI is by no means a new sector of technology, but it has spent long years in the wilderness after repeated failures to deliver much on its promises. Now, new approaches are beginning to bear fruit, and AI seems to have become another buzzword that is thrown around with abandon by technology companies trying to add some extra glamour to their products.

At the giant CES show in Las Vegas last month, virtually every product on show had to have some AI spin to it. Thus we were treated to an AI toothbrush intended to improve your dental hygiene, an AI hairbrush to monitor the health of the user’s hair, and that evergreen trope of the consumer technology industry, the connected fridge, was also given the AI treatment.

As innovative as some of these devices may be, their operation more often involves conventional pre-programmed algorithms than anything that could genuinely be described as artificial intelligence. And many systems that are described as using AI, such as recommendation engines in consumer retail applications, often appear to do little than simply look at the user’s previous purchases and recommend more of the same.

But all of this hype conceals some real advances in the way that AI can now be used in order to improve the accuracy of predictions and forecasts, or produce better results without being explicitly programmed how to do a task, and IT companies are looking at how these approaches can be blended into business applications and processes.

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Dan Robinson

Dan Robinson has over 20 years of experience as an IT journalist, covering everything from smartphones to IBM mainframes and supercomputers as well as the Windows PC industry. Based in the UK, Dan has a background in electronics and a BSc Hons in Information Technology.

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