Artificial intelligence – Communicating the Opportunity

Seven months ago I outlined the dramatic shift we’re seeing in the field of AI. And over recent months, we’ve seen it seep further into our lives.

I attended a talk with Tim Berners-Lee at Dell EMC World in Las Vegas and was struck by some of the comments he made around AI. In discussing the difficulty in predicting how AI will evolve, he acknowledged concerns around a future whereby machines become smarter than humans and the power shift that it could start. He also highlighted that any concerns around what the future holds for humans living alongside AI, won’t stifle current innovation. Though we may have difficult decisions in the future as to how much control and access AI is given, we’re about to enter a very exciting time where it plays an ever-increasing role in improving our experiences across a range of sectors.

While the consumer facing AI innovations have grabbed the headlines so far, what’s set to really transform our world is the opportunity it promises for many businesses by streamlining processes. By driving efficiencies, better understanding market opportunities and reacting faster across the board, organisations now have the potential to deliver real bottom line impact. Getting these tools into the right hands is where the challenge lies.

The other major challenge is communicating the benefit of AI effectively to potential key stakeholders. For example, we’ve seen a great deal of scaremongering around job losses due to a robotic or AI takeover. Yet, we can’t overlook the benefits it provides such as the opportunity for upskilling workers, creating more engaging and dynamic careers and removing many safety hazards from human workers.

In a similar vein, AI has been hailed as a potential game changer in supporting law enforcement to keep ahead of criminals. However, much of the coverage around this area has taken a negative tone, looking at how rogue cyberweapons and malware on steroids represent AI developments over the coming 25 years. A combination of human intelligence alongside AI will be essential in striking the right balance and enabling our security services to do more to protect us, without requiring vastly more resources.

Even in customer service, businesses are still facing dilemmas around which channels consumers want to use, how to assign resources across these different channels of communication and the level and speed of service which we’ve come to expect. Though AI provides the opportunity to solve many of these challenges cost effectively, communicating this to customers in a positive light will be essential to getting them on side and removing the stigma around automated services.

With so many tech vendors sticking an AI badge on their latest offering, journalists and technology buyers have a tough job in cutting through the noise to demonstrate the truly innovative stories around these technologies. There are huge opportunities for technology vendors, but getting their messaging right and communicating how they enhance our world will be crucial. Whether it’s providing the infrastructure for vast amounts of data storage, securing data and AI’s access to it, or creating new forms and applications of AI; the way these functions are communicated will be closely linked to their impact.

With further developments in the UK’s digital strategy set to include a clearer focus on AI, alongside an increasing growth of AI in all forms, the uptake and integration of AI into our society will be inextricably linked to how we communicate the opportunities and threats.

Written by Katie Turner, Practice Director, Business Technology.

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