What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science. In corresponding IT systems, an algorithm imitates the cognitive abilities of humans by identifying, classifying and learning information from input data. Artificial intelligence can be based on programmed processes or generated by machine learning.
How do AI and machine learning work?
In the field of machine learning – where artificial intelligence, i.e. the algorithms themselves, rather than humans recognise whether decisions are right or wrong – there has been significant progress in recent years. This is mainly due to the increased availability of large amounts of data (big data) and high computing power as fundamental requirements for performing the complex calculations in machine learning.
With the help of machine learning techniques, algorithms succeed in executing tasks independently through iterations.The machine orients itself to the specified quality criteria and the information content of the data. In contrast to conventional algorithms, solution paths are not modelled, but the computers used develop their artificial intelligence independently and learn to recognise data structures.
For example, in the context of Industry 4.0, a robot can recognise how to grasp a certain object or how to move it intelligently from A to B thanks to artificial intelligence. This deep learning happens through trial and error and/or feedback from successful attempts. The robots are simply told which technology, system or tool they should use to transport the object.
What to consider with artificial intelligence?
Without a doubt, one of the greatest challenges of artificial intelligence is the sometimes high cost of its development and implementation. But there is also the frequent lack of competence of employees in the field of artificial intelligence or the consideration of legal, technical and not least ethical risks.
Who is liable for damage caused by AI technologies? If, for example, a self-driving vehicle is involved in an accident, the question arises as to who should be called upon to settle the claim: the driver, the vehicle owner, the car manufacturer or the software developer? What happens if artificial intelligence is not used in accordance with the rules or is even misused? How can it be avoided that a call for tenders is not carried out properly due to AI exploiting information that it may have filtered out without the knowledge of the applicants?
Another transparency problem can arise from the fact that customers, business partners, applicants, etc. can no longer understand whether they are communicating with an AI or a human being.
Benefits of artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence promotes the development of innovative products and services in numerous industries: for ecologically and sustainably oriented business models, in the agricultural sector, medical sector, mechanical engineering or tourism and even in the creative industries. For companies, the biggest advantages of artificial intelligence are:
The automation of business processes to, among other things, avoid human error, maintain machines on time, save energy, react in real time to unforeseen events (transport of goods, stock exchange, society) and in this way avoid unnecessary costs and reduce expenses.
Detailed and completely new business insights
Conducting data analyses from a variety of different data sources in order to expand production performance, turnover as well as one’s own competitive position – also through an AI-based knowledge advantage. Or to use predictive analytics to make trend forecasts and decisions for the future of the company’s own business activities.
Customer satisfaction and sales
Expanding available communication channels and improving customer experience in general. Through machine analysis of customer feedback, through automated e-mail responses to frequently asked customer questions or through counting visitors in shops, stadiums or airports via video stream, with the possibility of channelling the rush of visitors or providing provisions for a straightforward or safe customer experience.
Creation of sustainable jobs
Although AI used in companies can certainly lead to a reduction in jobs or routine activities, artificial intelligence also creates new, future-oriented jobs. Since these are primarily for AI-qualified people, companies should provide appropriate training and further education opportunities in order to maintain their (international) competitiveness.