Navigating the AI Revolution

Local businesses integrate artificial intelligence into their work environment
The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) heralds a fresh chapter in the Industrial Revolution, an era where machines possess the ability to think, learn, self-replicate, and excel in tasks once reserved for humans. 
Local businesses are embracing AI, including food and beverage businesses like Indigo Reef Brewing and medical offices like River Landing Dentistry.

First introduced in 1956, artificial intelligence evolved from a theoretical notion to a practical tool across various industries. From marketing to health care, research from a 2022 McKinsey Global Survey shows that nearly 50% to 60% of companies have deployed some form of AI tools or resources.  
Some of the top emerging trends of AI include generative AI and natural language processing (NLP tools) such as ChatGPT, machine learning, and deep learning. When used strategically, these tools have the potential to transform the way businesses operate. 
Contrary to popular belief, AI isn’t all about automation. While many AI applications involve automating processes originally completed by humans, that only scratches the surface of what these tools can do. 
AI is used by businesses more often than you might realize. Have you ever opened a website and been greeted by a chatbot? 
Chatbots are a common instance of customers directly interacting with artificial intelligence. They allow companies to streamline customer service operations, free up employees’ time for work that requires more personalized attention, and save money. 
Using a combination of NLP tools and machine learning, chatbot technology can also help route customers to a real-life representative best equipped to answer their questions. 
Besides aiding with customer service, AI can be used to identify fraud, optimize supply chain operations, provide product recommendations, and segment audiences through targeted campaigns. 
Marketing businesses, along with any company that uses social media, can track customer satisfaction through artificial intelligence and use it to create social media posts that mimic the brand’s voice.
All it takes is a simple input in Chat GPT: type in what you want and how you want it. 
For example, type, “Write a description for Indigo Reef Brewing Company’s newest beer,” and watch the advertisement write itself. This is what Christopher Ranere, owner and head brewer of Indigo Reef Brewing, does when coming up with social media captions. 
“It definitely helps speed up the process of getting the filler information in the description, probably taking a 45-minute task and making it 15 minutes or less,” Ranere said. “I go back in and correct information to make sure the voice is still on brand.”
Food and beverage companies aren’t the only ones taking advantage of AI for social media. River Landing Dentistry has found that applications like ChatGPT, AdCreativeAI, and SEMRush help with copywriting and editing videos with closed captioning. 
Lucie Wieland, marketing director of the practice, shared the benefits the office realizes from using AI.
“It has helped us work more efficiently and effectively by eliminating time we previously spent trying to brainstorm or think of ideas. It’s nice to use on those days where things don’t flow as easily as they usually do,” Wieland said.
Rather than serving as a replacement for human intelligence and creativity, local businesses can  use artificial intelligence as a supporting tool. More and more businesses are adopting AI to save time and decrease costs without taking the human out of it. To better understand the reason behind the wave, Forbes Advisor surveyed 600 business owners using or planning to incorporate AI in business.
Almost all (97%) business owners believe ChatGPT will help their business.
One in three businesses plan to use ChatGPT to write website content, while 44% plan to use ChatGPT to write content in other languages.
Nearly half (46%) of business owners use AI to craft internal communications.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of business owners believe AI will improve customer relationships.
“Artificial intelligence is kind of the second coming of software,” Amir Husain, founder and CEO of machine-learning company SparkCognition, told Business News Daily. “It’s a form of software that makes decisions on its own, that’s able to act even in situations not foreseen by the programmers. Artificial intelligence has a wider latitude of decision-making ability as opposed to traditional software.”
As technology watches artificial intelligence move forward, there are pros and cons to look out for.
According to Wharton University, businesses can benefit from using AI by boosting efficiency through process automation, improving the speed or consistency of service, using customer insights to inform decision-making, and uncovering opportunities for new products and services. Other benefits include:
Increased Efficiency and Productivity: Virtually any job could incorporate AI to help save time. Almost every job has at least a few repetitive, manual tasks such as inputting data or generating reports that take away from more impactful work. The automation of AI can help with routine tasks like data entry, scheduling, and basic customer queries, which frees up valuable time for employees and boosts overall productivity. 
In the realm of health care and customer service, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is embracing AI to enhance patient experience and streamline operations. According to Crystal Broj, MUSC’s enterprise chief digital transformation officer, the hospital uses ChatGPT to handle tasks like drafting documents and reports, recording meeting notes, and simplifying the check-in process for patients.
Through artificial intelligence, patients can complete paperwork at home, improving time management for both the patient and doctor, Broj said. The simplified check-in process allows patients to receive automated reminders, organize appointments, and submit documents from home.
MUSC is working to implement a voice bot system for its call centers. Using NLP, the technology will allow consumers to ask questions like “Do I need to wear a mask?” or “Where do I park?” and even confirms, cancels, and reschedules appointments without navigating touch-tone commands. The hospital also uses a chatbot on its website to provide patients with information.
Broj said the integration of AI is not only allowed by employees, but encouraged. She said, “The integration of AI technology has been a game-changer for our workflow and time management.” she said.
She advises other businesses to start small and let AI help you grow, saying, “AI might be the future, but it’s also very much the present, and it’s right here in our backyard, helping our teams run smoother and smarter.”
Enhanced Data Analytics: AI and machine learning can process and analyze vast amounts of data at speeds and scale beyond human capabilities. As a result, AI can identify patterns or trends, which can help predict future business outcomes or market toward specific audiences. 
Improved Decision-making: AI can identify new business opportunities, flag operational roadblocks, make decisions based on customer data, and prepare for potential challenges. This can empower businesses to make more informed decisions and develop effective strategies based on machine-generated reports and analysis. AI’s ability to process and interpret data at a scale humans can’t reach can benefit businesses of all sectors.
Mitigation of Human Error: Humans can make mistakes when it comes to numbers, grammar, or vast amounts of data. AI applies predetermined rules and algorithms, improving accuracy and reliability. 
Ethical Considerations: Using AI in the workplace can raise ethical questions regarding data privacy, bias, and transparency. Since artificial intelligence uses information from algorithms, certain data can inadvertently perpetuate biases present in existing data. AI can pull from such information, not realizing it is opinionated or biased. It’s important for businesses to read through AI data to check for transparency and prevent misuse.
Employer Preference of AI-Skilled Candidates: In January, ResumeTemplates surveyed 780 hiring managers about the importance of candidates having AI skills on their resume. According to the survey, six in 10 employers would choose a less-experienced candidate who has AI skills. Even if AI isn’t “taking over” jobs, it may be keeping some out of an interview.
Lack of Human Touch and Emotional Intelligence: AI performs well for data analysis and automation, but it can lack the creativity or humanity needed for certain industries, such as counseling or marketing. Some users find that AI’s verbiage doesn’t fit well with their company’s brand. 
Tricia Peterson, owner of Island House Real Estate, said it takes some sifting and editing before landing on a final product.
“It’s best used as a tool and reference, but I haven’t found it to be able to generate the way we would naturally communicate or what we want to present in our marketing,” she said.
Inaccuracy: While AI is reliable when it comes to numbers, it is also known for basing its information on the past. Depending on the data a user requests, AI will occasionally provide outdated facts and incorrect advice. 
Working with the pros and cons, one thing is clear: AI isn’t going anywhere, and it will likely continue to grow. So how can users navigate its tools in the workplace safely? The right decision hinges on one factor: trust.
According to an article in the New York Times, “AI governance isn’t a barrier to innovation, it’s the rudder steering the ship of an organization’s AI endeavors.”
For business leaders navigating this new era of technology, implementing AI governance may be the safest bet. Whether the goal is to ensure compliance with AI regulations and global policies, proactively handle and mitigate risks, or govern the entire life cycle of AI models, AI governance is the compass guiding organizations through these new machine learning processes.
“Businesses need governance strategies to manage the entire AI life cycle in a way that is configurable to their unique needs and can scale as they adopt more AI solutions,” Tarun Chopra, IBM vice president of Product Management for Data & A.I. Software, told the New York Times. “Capabilities that allow them to responsibly govern AI at scale will only become more essential for enterprises as new AI regulation takes hold worldwide.”
Exploring the various AI governance applications can be a method businesses take to responsibly manage these processes. These tools enable users to oversee the transparency and explainability of AI systems. By automatically documenting information used by the user’s business, AI governance tools can store crucial details about the business. Simultaneously, it actively monitors the performance of the user’s business, keeping an eye on issues such as drift, bias, and quality concerns. 
As AI continues to break through the business landscape, employees remain responsible for leveraging this powerful tool. For those harboring concerns about AI, it’s worth noting that this technology has quietly become a familiar presence in the home over the years. Hey, Alexa!

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