Artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved from a term that was common or at least widely accepted in science fiction circles at best not so long ago to a global and unbroken trend as we know it today. Hardly any other term polarizes the business world as much as AI. And rightly so. The potential that AI brings with it for companies in all industries is enormous. But what does AI involve? And what makes AI so important to businesses now and in the future? In the first part of this two-part series, we first look at the basics of AI, what makes it important in general, and what fears present themselves with it. Finally, in part two, we turn to the relevance of AI to businesses and its individual benefits.

Without the influence of AI, society as we know it today would very likely not be where it is

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What AI is

Anything but simple to define, artificial intelligence combines several technologies and is considered part of computer science. Basically, artificial intelligence is about artificially and intelligently reproducing human abilities in the computer or machine, and even outperforming them where possible. This includes human abilities such as learning, pattern recognition, language comprehension, logical thinking, and visual perception. AI is something like a simulation of human intelligence, an automated behavior for problem-solving. AI learns skills, develops, and improves, partly with human supervision, partly unsupervised.

Data is the company’s most valuable asset – if it is used – which becomes possible with the implementation of AI

Machine Learning and Deep Learning as Parts of AI

When talking about AI, the terms machine learning and deep learning are usually not far away either. The reason for this is that machine learning is a subset of methods of AI and deep learning is in turn a subset of machine learning. In a very simplified way, you can think of it in terms of three circles, one inside the other, with AI as the largest: AI as a large whole in computer science that resembles human intelligence at least in approach, machine learning as an evolution that learns and improves with all the more data for specific tasks for which it was developed, and finally deep learning as the latest evolution of AI technologies that goes one step further by learning largely unsupervised and more complex representations. Deep learning is used, for example, to recognize handwriting or images.

It is often combinations of machine learning and deep learning that accelerate AI technologies in development

What makes AI important in general

Humans generate an unimaginable amount of data every day. Without AI, this would drift into no-man’s land, the data would remain unused. It could neither be recorded, nor interpreted, and certainly not used for complex decisions in business processes. Only thanks to artificial intelligence can companies also make use of this data.

The relevance of AI is practically undisputed, but still causes worries and fears here and there

Fear and anxiety about AI

Unsurprisingly, as AI technologies advance, so do concerns. Mostly, these concerns center around the fear of job loss due to enterprise-wide integrations of AI. At times, however, these worries are often unfounded, as humans still bring their important part – individuality, (human) intelligence, knowledge, and intuition – to a company. Accordingly, AI can and should better be seen as a valuable complement to humans in companies, not as a replacement for them.

Cross-industry and company-wide advantages thanks to artificial intelligence

High relevance and benefit of AI for companies

AI offers companies great potential and a huge spectrum of possible applications. In the second part of this series, we look at the high relevance of AI for companies and take a closer look at where this lies in detail, where various benefits can be derived thanks to the implementation of AI.

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