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Busting the 5 Common Myths Business Leaders Get Wrong About AI

In this special guest feature, Nikolas Kairinos, CEO and co-founder of Prospex and Fountech, takes a look at the 5 common myths business leaders get wrong about AI. Prospex is a sales and marketing solution that delivers AI-powered leads. Developed in partnership with LOMi and Fountech, a leading AI development company, Prospex applies sophisticated AI technology to provide qualified, hyper-personalised and cost-effective leads for small businesses through to large corporates.

Across all industries, business leaders are waking up to the massive potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in powering decision-making processes and streamlining complicated or laborious tasks. The sales and marketing (SaM) sector is certainly no different, and in recent years there has been significant uptake in the number of SaM professionals looking to technology to help boost sales, increase customers and ultimately promote their business. For instance, The State of AI 2019: Divergence report revealed that the adoption of AI had tripled in last 12 months.

However, despite the increasing adoption of AI toolsets across industries spanning from finance to healthcare, we cannot ignore the knowledge gap that exists between those who are well-versed in the practical applications of this technology, and those that aren’t. This is compounded by the great number of misconceptions that exist about AI. Indeed, the hype around AI has produced many myths, both within mainstream media and across organisations.

It’s important to address these misconceptions given the potential AI has to transform businesses for the better. Below, I will outline some of the common myths business leaders get wrong about this technology.

AI will take over our jobs

We’ve all heard the cliché: robots will take our jobs, rendering human professionals essentially useless. But while there is some element of truth to this – it’s no secret that AI is well-positioned to shoulder the burden of laborious and time-consuming tasks. The claim distorts the many benefits on offer.

By delegating tasks which require analysing huge volumes of data, or which are simply repetitive or complicated, to machines, professionals will thereby have more time to focus on more creative and high-level decision making. So rather than replacing humans, this new technology will augment their performance and allow professionals to work more efficiently.

It’s not a case of humans versus AI. Rather, it’s a matter of working together to develop effective solutions to common business problems in a way that complements human expertise, creativity and judgment.

AI works like the human brain

This links nicely to another point. Due to the complexity of this technology and the jargon that surrounds it, many believe that AI works like the human brain. This is simply untrue.

While AI has developed at an impressive speed, it has not yet reached the point of being similar to human intelligence. This should serve to quell some fears about AI dominating the job market.

Although many of AI’s sophisticated abilities have been inspired by the human brain, such as machine learning (the ability to learn from experience), they are certainly not replicating its cognitive abilities. In some ways, however, AI algorithms are much more effective: for instance, they can synthesis and find patterns in colossal amounts of data at a much faster rate, and with more accuracy, than a human ever will.

AI is objective

AI relies on data to function, which might suggest that it boasts complete objectivity unlike humans. However, bias is in fact one of most pressing challenges facing the industry today.

Because humans are intrinsically biased, the data that is fed to AI algorithms often holds preconceptions that can unintentionally be exacerbated by the technology. Amazon stumbled upon this problem when it employed recruitment software to rate candidates for software developer jobs and other technical posts. The company quickly realised that because the computer models were trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in resumes submitted to the company, most of which came from men, in effect the system taught itself that male candidates were preferable for these roles.

That is to say that business leaders must be acutely aware of the potential bias AI systems might be exhibiting and reduce the chances of this happening.  

It’s difficult to implement AI

Given the complexity of AI, it’s easy to understand why business leaders might think that implementing the technology within their own organisation is a difficult task. However, many solutions available on the market are designed to be integrated without disrupting your daily operations. For instance, HR professionals and recruiters who previously relied on hours of searching in order to find the right candidates for a position, can now simply utilise AI recruitment software that scours countless profiles almost instantly and diverts their attention to the most promising leads.

Moreover, there are plenty of AI developers and experts who are on hand to advise you of the most promising toolsets for your business and help integrate them into your operations.

Businesses don’t need an AI strategy

This is perhaps the biggest myth of all, and the most dangerous. It’s quickly becoming clear that businesses at the forefront of the AI revolution are gaining a competitive advantage over their competitors. After all, AI can help companies work faster and smarter.  

Indeed, a recent PwC report indicates that an overwhelming 72% of business decision makers believe that AI provides a competitive edge on the business front. Meanwhile, another report by Microsoft shows that 93% of high-growth companies intend to invest in decision-making AI in the next three years, compared with 33% of lower growth companies.

Every organisation should consider the potential impact of this technology on its strategy, and how it can be utilised to solve problems that it faces. But more importantly, it’s essential that business leaders educate themselves about AI and the many ways they can reap the rewards of integrating it into their organisation.

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