August 26, 2021

It is tempting to think of artificial intelligence as sentient, humanoid robots interested in eliminating the human race, but the truth is far more banal. Far from being a futuristic threat, AI is essential for creating the world we currently live in. You might not realize it, but you likely use AI tools every day — when you search on Google or make purchases on Amazon. Advanced AI research might be trying to develop a computer program that thinks, learns and feels, but for the most part, AI references algorithms that help to analyze data and make predictions — which is exactly why it is critical in business.

Over the course of just a few years, artificial intelligence has moved from a mysterious futuristic tech to a compulsory tool businesses need to stay ahead of their competition. Regardless of what type of business leader you are (or plan to be), you need to know how to leverage AI. While you can learn more by pursuing an artificial intelligence certificate, here’s a quick guide to the common uses for AI in business in 2021:

Powering Infrastructure

One cannot simply plug AI into any application and see positive results. The foundation of the application — its infrastructure — must be built to utilize AI. Fortunately, AI can be helpful in developing effective infrastructure, not just for a single machine learning program but for a generation of tech tools that utilize AI. AI-powered infrastructure will be more malleable and thus more practical for businesses interested in developing AI tools for corporate or consumer use.

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Updating Files

One of the simplest applications of AI is in cross-referencing data, which can help businesses keep their files up-to-date. Incorrect or otherwise outdated information can mislead a business in various ways, from delaying client relations to misdirecting strategy. Though updating files isn’t the most glamorous use of AI, it is among the least inexpensive and most ubiquitous in business.

Forecasting Consumer Behavior

Businesses need to deliver what consumers want — ideally just as they want it. Usually, it takes too long to develop a product to wait for demand; by the time a business has a solution ready for market, consumer attitudes and behavior has likely shifted again. Thus, it is a profitable use of AI to help predict consumer behavior. Usually, AIs created for this purpose look at historic consumer trends to give businesses the right strategy for the future.

Boosting Cybersecurity

Cyber attacks have become among the most significant threats to small business success, so business leaders should do what they can to keep their organization’s digital assets safe. AI tools can help businesses shore up their cyber defenses, working to identify vulnerabilities and add protections where necessary to keep valuable data safe.

Detecting Fraud

Recognizing fraud can take years of extreme vigilance, especially in larger organizations. However, AI can piece together the patterns of fraud in seconds, helping businesses identify and eliminate fraud before it becomes costly and dangerous. In particular, businesses can reduce fraud through AI that verifies identification and detects scams, which will also help bolster cyber security.

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Personalizing Marketing

Perhaps the most well-known business application of AI, personalized marketing is when consumers are given targeted advertisements based on their browsing and buying history. AI tools recognize when consumers string together certain purchases and understand how to deliver marketing messages at vulnerable decision points. By using machine learning to guide marketing strategy, businesses can increase conversions and drive profits.

Performing Customer Service

Another widespread practice is in customer service chatbots, which are AI-driven messaging tools that customers can use to ask questions and receive help. Most chatbots don’t use machine learning to help customers; instead, they are programmed to respond to certain queries with specific text. AI chatbots, on the other hand, use natural language processing to understand what users are asking and deliver a useful response, radically improving user experience.

Assisting Recruitment

Recruitment is a time-intensive job for a company, but AI recruitment tools make sifting through hordes of candidates much easier. AI-powered sourcing tools help businesses find candidates they might not have considered for available positions; AI application tools help businesses ask candidates the right questions and better analyze their answers. All in all, recruitment can go much smoother and more successfully with machine learning.

AI is everywhere, but AI is especially everywhere in business. From bringing aboard employees to communicating with customers to keeping data organized and safe, AI can help your business thrive — so the sooner you understand AI applications, the better.

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