“Eighty percent of all corporate processes can be automated today,” says AI expert Chris Boos. How artificial intelligence is solving the business world’s problems by disrupting it.
Sensors in the floor immediately set off an alarm when a patient falls down. Bandages automatically recognize when patients might develop bedsores. And robots pass medicine bottles, deliver meals and easily lift patients from their beds to wheelchairs: Artificial Intelligence is playing an increasingly important role at nursing homes in Germany – especially with an acute shortage of nursing staff. “On average, it takes half a year to fill a vacant position for elderly care,” says Kristine Lütke, managing partner of a midsized care provider and chairwoman of Junior Chamber International Germany (WJD), in a guest commentary for the business magazine Capital.
Artificial intelligence is on the verge of massively disrupting all aspects of our economy. Regardless if it’s nursing care, the automotive industry, retailing, or the energy sector, and no matter if it’s a large corporation, midsized firm or start-up. Why? People and machines are becoming more closely linked. The world is merging into one big stream of digital data that can be processed by machines. The German federal government recently announced it would invest €3 billion in research and development of artificial intelligence – in particular, to fund academic positions for AI at universities.
MORE TIME FOR CUSTOMERS, CORE BUSINESS AND CREATIVITY
No wonder, the advantages of artificial intelligence are plain to see: Smart analysis and connecting giant sets of data provides a better foundation for decision making, optimizes business processes and opens completely new areas of growth. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates in a current cross-industry study that AI can unlock a potential $5.8 billion worldwide in added value each year. According to the study "Machine Learning / Deep Learning 2018" from IDG Research, only 15 percent of midsized firms in Germany currently use these technologies. So much of that untapped potential certainly could be created there: At the bakery, using AI-assisted analysis of its sales data to better predict customer demands and, in turn, lower costs. Or at the auto parts supplier, deploying artificial intelligence to catch manufacturing flaws early and benefit from preventative maintenance of its machinery. Both help reduce expenditures and production downtime.
AI IS ONLY GETTING STARTED
“Eighty percent of all corporate processes can be automated today,” says expert Chris Boos, a computer scientist and founder of the AI start-up Arago, at the DIGITAL2018 in Cologne, Germany. “Still, humanity is only just starting to uncover all the possibilities AI will create in the future.”
For example, “Hiro”: AI developed by Arago is meant to aid employees, so they have more freedom to do other things. When AI can use machine learning to make intelligent decisions, automatically solve problems and constantly improve its performance, people have more time for customers, core business priorities and creativity. In particular, repetitive tasks that quickly become monotonous for humans will be taken over by highly efficient and intelligent software robots and algorithms. “These systems are rules-based and trained to optimize in a specific task area, so they are constantly getting better at it.” Faster and longer lasting than any human, AI can solve one problem after another – all the while optimizing its own processes. “Every person occasionally makes mistakes and gets tired,” says AI expert Boos. “An AI system never has to take a break.”
MAKING EMPLOYEE KNOWHOW SCALABLE
Of course, artificial intelligence still cannot react to new, spontaneous demands as effectively as a human can. For example, a chatbot can handle routine service and support questions, but it begins to have trouble when a conversation is more open-ended. When less routine and more spontaneity is required, the is bot quickly pushed to the limits. But that’s no reason for companies to ignore artificial intelligence: “We have to give machines human experience,” says Boos. “That’s when AI can repeatedly act on human experience – making knowhow scalable.”
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Connected mobility and industry-specific IoT know-how are the topics of choice for Daniel Kunz when he writes articles for the blog. He has been with T-Systems since 2017 and is extensively involved with the Internet of Things and all the associated trends.