Artificial intelligence is relatively new technology, but it has quickly become part of our daily lives. We don’t think twice about buying our food using self-serve checkouts and using digital assistants like Apple’s Siri to make calls, send messages or perform internet searches on our behalf.
Even the notion of self-driving cars, which not too long ago seemed absurd, is now becoming a reality with driverless cars having already racked up over a million miles of motoring on American roads.
But despite our familiarity with AI, the biggest changes are yet to come. Here are five ways artificial intelligence will transform the way we do business…
Yes, robots will replace humans (in some roles)
The biggest fear that people have about artificial intelligence is that the robots will ‘take over’. Even business leaders such as Elon Musk, founder of Space X and Tesla, have voiced concerns about the growth in this type of tech. “I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful,” Musk said.
And there’s no denying it: artificial intelligence will take jobs away from humans. One report from the House of Lords Digital Skills Committee claims up to 35 per cent of UK jobs are at risk of being automated over the next two decades.
In factories, robots are already being used to carry out jobs previously done by people. But even white collar jobs aren’t safe. As software becomes more sophisticated, data analysis and accounting work is likely to be taken over by robots.
But AI will create new jobs, too
It isn’t all doom and gloom, artificial intelligence will also bring about new and exciting opportunities. As former government technology adviser, Rohan Silva said: “The technology revolution is not just destroying jobs - it’s creating huge numbers of new ones too, especially in areas like IT and the creative industries. And the good news is that the new jobs being created pay an average of £10,000 a year more than the jobs being lost to automation.”
So amid the fear and worry about artificial intelligence, it’s important to remember that robots are built by humans – and humans are needed to program them, repair them, ‘teach’ them and keep developing the technology. So there’s hope for us humans, yet.
Working from anywhere could become a reality
In an increasingly competitive marketplace many businesses need to work harder than ever to attract and retain the best talent. As Alain Dehaze, CEO of Adecco Group, wrote in an opinion piece for CNBC, in the future a job will be "no longer confined to traditional working hours or places, with employees taking total control over their schedules and environments".
Being able to offer employees the opportunity to work not just from home but from anywhere is an exciting prospect, and one that AI can make a reality, giving employees new-found freedom and control over their schedule.
Increased efficiency for a lower price
Robots work faster than any human ever could – and they don’t require a salary. That means businesses in certain sectors, such as retail or accounting, could use artificial intelligence to enjoy greater efficiency at a lower price. There’s also less risk involved in using robots as human error is no longer a factor.
Artificial intelligence could help employees learn new skills
Employees of the future will seek companies that can offer them fulfilment in areas outside the realm of work. AI could help companies deliver this. For instance, MySong is an application that can help people who have no experience in song writing or playing an instrument to create original music by themselves.
Other similar apps can help people learn new languages, along with other other desirable skills. Giving employees access to this kind of technology could be just what certain businesses need in order to stay ahead of the game, and attract the best talent in the future.
But one thing’s for certain – the dawn of artificial intelligence is upon us, and it’s set to totally transform the way we do business, whether we are ready or not.