Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve spoken about the IBM Watson chatbot. A form of artificial intelligence (AI), the chatbot can provide all sorts of benefits, as we covered in our previous articles.
But what about AI as a general concept. Anybody who’s seen the Terminator movies may have a few reservations about the technology becoming a reality. But the truth is that we’ve had AI for decades. Even the legendary videogame Pac-Man used AI to influence the movements of the ghosts that would chase you around the maze.
Of course, the technology has come a very long way since then. Today, AIs are capable of automating a lot of tasks. You may even use one without realising it. Anybody who’s ever asked Siri a question or has used Alexa to help them around the house has used AI.
AI is here to stay, but not everybody is excited about that. In fact, there are a lot of discussion surrounding the technology, especially as it starts to play an increasingly important role in everyday life.
So, is AI a good or a bad thing? Here are the arguments on either side.
The Pros of AI
Most of the pros about AI revolve around how it cuts costs and saves time. Here are a few of them:
- A good AI can handle a lot of the menial tasks that often take enormous amounts of time. We can see this in the manufacturing industry. AIs can handle repetitive tasks, which frees people up to focus their energy on things that require a lot of creativity.
- AIs have the capacity to handle Big Data. As Big Data becomes more important in business, we’re going to rely on AI to help us to analyse and find patterns in the data that we collect about people.
- An AI never sleeps. That’s what makes it so useful in customer service. A global company can use AI to keep talking to its customers, even when they’re physical representatives are all tucked up in bed. The IBM Watson chatbot stays active on your website 24 hours per day, for example.
- A properly programmed AI is very unlikely to make mistakes. Simple human errors, such as copying a number incorrectly, just don’t happen with an AI. Moreover, this means that you don’t have to focus so much energy on redundant tasks, such as copying data from a spreadsheet into a CRM.
The Cons of AI
There are several possible cons of AI, some of which reach further than you may think:
- Many argue that the rise of AI will lead to widespread job losses. Those in the manufacturing industry look likely to suffer the most in this respect. But any task that requires repetition and a simple set of instructions may soon find itself done by machine, rather than man.
- For all of its talents, an AI cannot emulate the creativity of the human brain. It’s limited to handling tasks based on the information that you provide to it.
- An AI can’t make decisions for you. It can provide useful information, but that responsibility still falls down to you.
The Final Word
AI will become increasingly prevalent in business in the coming years. As it does, the technology will improve and the costs related to it will come down.
There are pros and cons to every new technology that comes along. But we can see AI doing more good than harm.