When people think of artificial intelligence (AI), they often conjure movie scenes with robots taking over the world. Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk hasn’t helped that image by calling AI the world’s “greatest existential threat.” While great for the box office, these misrepresent AI and discount its tremendous benefits for nearly every aspect of our lives.

Driver-assisted cars, improved customer experiences, cancer detection, and wildlife conservation – artificial intelligence is powering it all, but that’s just a small portion of how AI impacts our everyday lives.

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence comprises computer systems able to perform work typically limited to human intelligence. Machines use large amounts of data and its patterns to learn tasks. The technology becomes “intelligent” over time through experience to achieve decision-making abilities comparable to humans. Using this learning, AI creates automation for specific activities typically performed by humans.

Is AI the end of the workforce as we know it?

Former Alphabet Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt shared a story of automation at the Global Digital Futures Policy Forum in 2017. The introduction of ATMs in 1969 was thought to be the elimination of teller jobs in the banking industry. However, the number of tellers doubled between 1970 and 2010. ATMs allowed banks to operate with fewer tellers, which supported the opening of more banks, increasing teller jobs overall. The moral of the story? While artificial intelligence will change job duties over time, it doesn’t necessarily mean the elimination of jobs.

Doug Thompson, president of Agilify Automation, which specializes in machine learning, often gets asked about AI’s impact on staffing. He doesn’t see AI automating whole jobs, but instead giving higher-level cognitive opportunities for staff and leaving lesser tasks to computers. When speaking to the Indianapolis Customer Experience Professionals Association recently, he said, “If a company doesn’t remain competitive, people will lose their jobs. If a company applies AI to process more volume at higher quality, they remain very competitive and don’t have to eliminate jobs.”

What are AI’s major benefits?

Resource savings

AI is a time and money saver for organizations. Traditional IT projects often require long development cycles with expensive internal or external human capital attached. Machine learning projects by comparison can be deployed more rapidly with less money. Surveyed organizations at the forefront of AI adoption report seeing up to 44% cost savings on projects. AI also brings new tech to legacy systems. The risks associated with switching CRMs or ERPs keeps many businesses on outdated technology. With the assistance of subject matter experts within the business to identify areas for automation, machine learning can bring new life to existing systems at a significantly lower cost than adopting a new management system.

Data discovery

Approximately 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years. This glut of information presents prime opportunities for machine learning. Unlike humans, artificial intelligence can analyze vast amounts of data quickly. Businesses can leverage information never considered before to create competitive gains.

Connectivity

Artificial intelligence works across systems and can streamline multiple databases. Consider a customer service representative working with clients of various product lines. Information often sits within different systems requiring CSRs to access multiple data sets to generate solutions. You know it’s happening when you hear, “Can I put you on hold for a moment?” Artificial intelligence brings this data together rapidly allowing CSRs to quickly access answers to improve customer experience.

Error Reductions

AI lives on data inputs. Clean information eliminates errors caused by human interpretation. AI also minimizes person-to-person knowledge deterioration when training. Machine learning brings continuity to job-related tasks and the timing of their delivery across staff for better employee management. Machines, unlike humans, also don’t take vacations or get sick. Their work is always as good as the data given to them and they can work continuously.

What can be automated?

Think of AI like an Excel macro – it learns repetitive tasks and executes them as many times as needed. Ask your staff what tasks they do daily. Where do they get the information and what steps are taken to complete the task? How much time would be saved in automating the task? What additional work could replace that time? AI automation time adds up quickly. Even 60 seconds a day across 80 associates generates significant opportunities in an eight-hour work day for a company.

Does FreightRover use AI?

FreightRover’s affiliate partner Rover180 recently announced its acquisition of Vemity, an Indiana-based company specializing in artificial intelligence automation and machine learning. As a result, FreightRover will soon integrate artificial intelligence into its PayEngine platform to improve invoicing and supply chain payment processing. Vemity’s technology allows PayEngine to harness often overlooked data to reduce manual work, improve invoice accuracy, and increase payment velocity for buyers and vendors along the supply chain. The technology provides better payment processing scalability without increased time and effort.

What’s Next for AI?

According to The Brookings Institution, the US currently spends approximately $1.1 billion annually on non-classified AI projects compared to China’s commitment of $150 billion over the next decade to the technology. To stay competitive, President Trump recently signed an executive order called the “American AI Initiative” to dedicate more federal resources toward artificial intelligence advancement.

We will continue to operate in an AI-filled world with new discoveries happening in nearly every sector including healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and finance. Unlike the Hollywood movies, rather than robots taking over the world, they will be helping to solve the world’s challenges. To quote HubSpot, AI isn’t “human versus machine. It is human and machine versus a problem.” With that in mind, the opportunities are endless.