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Enterprise Pandemic Playbook Needs Strong AI at the Core

Updated on June 1, 2020
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I did many fail forward experiments to unlock my intellectual energy and hone my writing skills.

Covid-19 is creeping continents and stirring waves of unprecedented misery and uncertainty. Enterprises across the globe are witnessing the worst economic fallout of the century and wrangling to resuscitate their business operations. Enterprises emerging stronger in the new normal are the ones which are breaking their molds and embracing new ways of working. Successful enterprises are harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a beacon of operational excellence to move their business towards the stream of opportunities.

Business success in the Covid era pivots around AI; it holds the potential to streamline supply chain, orchestrate remote working, and accelerate drug discovery. AI solution providers have formidable tools to address dynamic Covid era business needs.

How Does AI Work?

There is no standard definition of AI. Many view AI as a computerized system for solving complex problems or reaching a desired result. However, this view doesn’t cover intelligence or cognitive skills that it uses to create rules for completing a task.

Artificial intelligence should be viewed as the intelligence that enables enterprises to move faster and deliver accurate results. This intelligence keeps moving like a process and primarily bundles three primary skills: learning (rules/ algorithms, computing systems & instructions), reasoning, and correction (fine-tuning) to achieve a desired goal. These AI skills come in different forms and factors:

  • Reactive AI: Machine learning models/ algorithms fit for simple pattern recognition tasks. Faster calculations deliver intelligent output for specific parameters.
  • Limited Memory Machines: Deep learning methods which feed on historical data to complete complex tasks. Limited memory machines manifest the current state of AI.
  • Theory of Mind: Advanced AI capable of understanding human motives/ reasoning to deliver personalized results.
  • Self-Aware: Next level AI is fully self-aware of mental state and other factors. Also known as superficial AI which can surpass human cognitive abilities.

AI Has Compelling Use Cases

Leading financial institutions are using AI led solutions to respond faster to customer needs and improve their experience. Transcendent Bots and conversational technologies are considerably shortening the time to respond to banking queries. Similarly, labour heavy and manual processes are now becoming nimble & fast to handle customer service requests. This unique edge is driving down costs and accelerating revenue in return.

In the manufacturing sector, the possibilities of AI are promising. Dexterous aka robots in the assembly lines are functioning like extra set of hands for fast forwarding the production. Moreover, procurement and supply chain is being streamlined with alerts and notifications around inventory needs. Cobots with human counterparts are lifting heavy parts, overhauling cars, and improving the quality, speeding the development of end products. Predictive maintenance is fine-tuning machines and preventing their further wear and tear with laser precision.

AI has entered the agricultural industry to deliver highly optimized farming. John Deere, Equipment manufacturing company is using drone imagery and hi-tech machinery to study data points around weather conditions, temperature, water usage, soil conditions to improve yields. Deliberate, planned and systematic efforts are made around these data points to eliminate weeds and prevent herbicide overuse. Reducing critical farm labor overload and improving agricultural accuracy is becoming easier with the AI advent.

The legal industry has repelled technology adoption for several years. However, many law firms have started embracing AI technology to quickly researching law points, sharing & reviewing confidential documents, and drafting contracts or plaints. They are now able to research more in less time, take right decisions, and move faster. Smart law firms armored with better AI-tech are responding to client needs in a better way and leaving their competition behind in dust.

How Enterprises are Using AI Led Transformation to Get Out of the Covid Bubble

Intelligence researchers are applying AI to smash down a wide range of Covid19 challenges by streamlining business models, orchestrating remote work, etc. For instance, Athena Security (security solutions company) leveraged repeat data and innovated a security-based imaging solution for the healthcare industry. The solution analyses thermal imagery to flag potentially sick patients from crowd. The security solutions company fused thermal imaging with algorithms to quickly study body temperatures and identify them as potential Covid19 patients in crowded places.

AI is powering many such innovations at warp speed that can stand the test of time. Innovations that were inconceivable once are now being developed by tech labs in just a matter of months. There are many enterprises which are finding it hard to adjust with the ‘Work at Home’ shift. However, smarter enterprises using AI based self service solutions are fixing this hard part with ease. They are adopting AI solutions which are offering start-to-end guidance to the stay-at-home workers and assisting them in setting up their work places at home. Employees are now able to troubleshoot technical hurdles without IT support and execute mission-critical business operations minus restraints and friction. This advantage is mobilizing the IT teams to focus on other important & complex areas i.e., cloud integration, data movement, etc.

Similarly, health insurers are using AI to verify, process and clear the backlog of insurance claims. AI is providing the edge to health insurers in clearing the backlog quicksand, reducing human workload, improving user experience, and fast forwarding disbursals. AI experts believe that natural language processing solutions powering process automation will entirely change the game of claims processing in the coming days.

Covid19 has also skewed the demand for telemedicine and health-care Chatbots. These Chatbots or digital assistants are built to address a raft of health concerns. Many doctors are using advanced sensors or digital sensors to monitor patients from the convenience of their home. In this way, Bot services from Microsoft are freeing up healthcare resources for severe pandemic cases.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy in the US is employing AI for generating the computational force required to fast forward drug discovery. Integrated AI based solutions are scanning over 29000 research papers and data patterns to extract from-the-trenches insights & discover preventive vaccine for Covid-19. Similarly, AI is enabling the shortest & accelerated path to drug discovery. DeepMind, a Google subsidiary and behemoth in the field of artificial general intelligence, discovered six different protein structures forming the COVID-19 pathogen. The fundamental pillar laying the groundwork in this study was AI which provided GPU horsepower and algorithms to mine data sets around fast moving inter-disciplinary approaches.

BenevolentAI, a British Startup leveraged AI Based platform to identify approved drugs that can prevent the Covid-19 pathogen from resurrecting. The powerful platform mined data from several e-medical records holding the potential cure for Covid-19. The system concluded six compounds which can confine the cellular pathways of the virus. These compounds can thwart and slowdown the spread or replication of virus. As a next step, BenevolentAI is contacting potential manufacturers to kick-start clinical trials for the drug.

Online commerce is making strides as people are hunkering down in their homes. However, supply chain of essentials is the worst impacted areas because of lockdowns. AI powered robotics can surmount this challenge and enable safe provision of supplies during these unprecedented times. Terra Drone, Global UAV company is offering uninterrupted supply of essentials in containment places and high risk zones. High performing robotics forged with AI is bolstering logistics and supply chain functions and delivering goods at the right time and at the right place. These benefits are real but reaching them is not always straightforward, enterprises find themselves at crossroads while deploying AI-based solutions.

AI Mistrust is What Holds Back Enterprise AI Investment

AI is still new for many enterprises and the biggest reason why they hesitate in deploying AI is mistrust. Despites the long range benefits, traditional enterprises are not fully convinced with the ROI. Gartner's 2019 agenda states that the benefits of AI are still not clear to many top executives.

Another relevant problem is the anxiety of job loss tied with the AI led transformation. Enterprises fear that the employees will raise a rebellion against the probable workforce loss. Experts believe that enterprises should view AI as a net-positive job motivator rather than job terminator. Gartner concludes true that around 1.8 million jobs are vulnerable to AI, but it will also create 2.3 million jobs.

The biggest hurdle to cross & reach AI benefits is the archaic work culture and not the technology. Sometimes the best-in-class algorithms will be 99% accurate, but they will fail if the frontline worker doesn’t know how/ when to reboot the system.

Lean on AI to Create the Business Impact

Getting through the next quarter century of business success will require AI led digital transformation. AI can help enterprises in getting out of the Covid Storm, unscathed. AI as a core component of the pandemic playbook can help enterprises in sailing through tough times and emerging much stronger than ever before.

Chat bots & assistants can converse with customers 24X7 and help enterprises in redesigning their customer service. AI-led speech analysis can enable enterprises to know how an agent’s service call is perceived by the customer. AI-led load balancing can optimize workloads in the cloud and smooth out cloud moment. Organizations can simplify complex tasks, identify new revenue streams, transform processes, and steer clear ahead of the challenges. They will also get new abilities to setup a resilient remote workforce and envision a crackerjack incident response plan. In an aggregate, AI is not a necessity anymore, it is a mission-critical business need.

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