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The Executive Guide to Artificial

Intelligence
How to Identify and Implement Applications for AI in Your Organization

Andrew Burgess
Palgrave Macmillan © 2017
181 pages
[@] getab.li/34606
Book:

Rating Take-Aways

8
9 Applicability • Artificial intelligence (AI) offers many practical applications for business.

8 Innovation • Think of AI as a larger framework made up of distinct capabilities.


8 Style
• Four core capabilities focus on capturing information, while another four focus on
organizing that data and applying it.
  • Big data, cheap storage, faster processing and ubiquitous connectivity raise AI to new
Focus heights.

• The heart of AI is “machine learning”: A machine does the conceptual work humans
Leadership & Management used to do.
Strategy
Sales & Marketing
• AI can’t do everything. Pair it with humans and with other technologies.
Finance • Apply AI to improve customer service and to speed up backroom processing.
Human Resources
IT, Production & Logistics • Organizations implementing AI should review their needs and develop an AI strategy
that aligns with their larger goals and focus.
Career & Self-Development
Small Business • Firms attempting to implement AI may encounter several challenges, including poor
Economics & Politics data and excess hype.
Industries
• Several aspects of AI are improving rapidly, but optimization carries the greatest
Global Business possibilities for the future.
Concepts & Trends

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getabstract

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Relevance
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What You Will Learn
In this summary, you will learn:r1) What artificial intelligence (AI) is and can become; and 2) How AI can benefit
businesses.
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Recommendation
This overview of artificial intelligence (AI) by disruptive technology expert Andrew Burgess demystifies
AI and explains a lot of its specialized vocabulary. Aptly named an “executive guide,” it is exceptionally
clear and will be useful to anyone who wants a handle on AI. The introduction addresses business issues
and the book’s framework offers a useful bridge to the more dense, more technical tomes on the market.
Most businesspeople can learn all they need from Burgess, though his style can be somewhat intrusive. He
loves abbreviations and some of the interviews seem like filler – but he delivers clear explanations of things that
need explaining. getAbstract recommends Burgess’s breakdown of the past, present and likely future of AI to anyone
interested in how technology is changing business as well as to investors, executives, entrepreneurs and students.
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Summary
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A Real Look at Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) applies computer systems to tasks that once required human
intelligence. A long-standing debate within the AI community asks if AI should augment the
human mind or replace the work it does. Either way, AI and automation will fundamentally
reshape the workforce.
getabstract
“Artificial intelligence
is being used in AI can develop its abilities through supervised or unsupervised learning. In supervised
businesses today to learning, which is more common, people train AI systems using data and guide the system
augment, improve and
change the way that through making distinctions – like between pictures that show dogs and pictures that
they work.” don’t. In unsupervised learning, systems start with data that mean nothing to them and
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identify patterns on their own.

AI isn’t a hypothetical development that might appear sometime in the future. Businesses
utilize AI today, and it transforms how they work. Many consumers experience AI today in
the form of virtual helpers like Siri or Alexis.

An “AI Framework”
AI has eight core capabilities. In this framework, four capabilities focus on capturing
information and four focus on figuring out “what is happening.” The capabilities in the
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“The biggest barrier
first set are: “speech and recognition, image recognition, search” and “clustering.” Image
to AI achieving recognition involves tagging images and making distinctions among them. When machines
escape velocity…is capture information, they convert unstructured data (big data) to structured data. This
the overinflation of
expectations.” requires speedy processors and a lot of training. Certain capabilities make AI immediately
getabstract useful. For example, speech recognition lets people give machines direct commands.

The capabilities in the second set are: “natural language


understanding (NLU), optimization, prediction” and “understanding.” The first three have
applications in daily life. NLU goes beyond voice recognition. It includes a degree
of understanding, AI’s ultimate capability, and it requires cognition. In optimization,

The Executive Guide to Artificial Intelligence                                                                                                                                       getAbstract © 2018 2 of 5


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an AI system transforms data from one form to another. Optimization requires the
system to reach a goal, and it often applies algorithms and “cognitive reasoning”
getabstract to solve problems. Prediction uses historical data to assess new data, for example,
“It’s impossible to get
value out of something in making restaurant recommendations or in analyzing the risk factors in a loan
if it is not understood, application. Understanding, which isn’t yet commercially available, involves the machine’s
unless it’s by some
happy accident. ability to be consciously aware of what it does or thinks.
In the world of AI
there are no happy
accidents; everything These eight capabilities work sequentially and synthetically. For example, speech
is designed with recognition might recognize someone’s words, a prediction function might complete the
meticulous detail with
specific goals in mind.” requested search and optimization might solve a problem.
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The Rise of AI
AI’s development stretches back to the mid-20th century. Early work focused on so-called
expert systems. Programmers mapped knowledge of a topic in a set of branching choices.
User choices would guide the system down one branch or another – an approach still used
today in applications like chatbots.
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“The first driver for the AI passed through two “AI winters” – from 1974 to 1980 and from 1987 to 1993 – during
explosion of interest which progress stagnated. Both winters occurred thanks to too much hype and too little
and activity in AI is the
sheer volume of data funding.
that is now available.”
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Several factors contribute to the contemporary rise of AI. The first is big data. Artificial
intelligence needs “millions of examples” for training. Today’s continual use of social
media and the Internet provides that data. Cheap storage, constantly increasing computing
speed and ubiquitious connectivity drive AI and fuel the growth of cloud AI. Still, AI faces
several barriers, including hype. People claim too much for AI. Excessive claims make
people fear how AI might change business and the economy, or make their jobs obsolete.
Most of AI’s tasks remain hidden from observers, and regulation could be a potent barrier
getabstract to implementation.
“Chatbots

Deep Neural Networks


come in all shapes
and sizes, which is a AI depends on machine learning, that is, machines carry out difficult conceptual work,
rather polite way of not people. Deep neural networks (DNNs) provide AI architecture. These networks have
saying that there are
really good chatbots but multiple layers – the more complex a problem, the more layers. DNNs have an input layer,
also very bad ones.” an output layer and hidden layers in between where the difficult work gets done. Nodes in
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one layer connect to nodes in others. Each connection is weighted, which creates both weak
and strong links. Weaker links produce undesired answers during training and don’t pass
along as much information. As developers train networks, the weights adjust to reach an
optimal level.

Associated Technologies
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Practitioners can use AI alone or with other technologies. Cloud computing uses
“The reason machine multiple remote servers linked via network. These servers store data. Cloud computing
learning is called
machine learning is,
gives AI access to large, public data sets. Analysts then use cloud computing
rather obviously, that to process the data. Technicians use AI with robotic process automation (RPA),
it is the machine, or which employs technology to replace a series of human actions. RPA performs transactional
computer, that does the
learning.” work much more cheaply than people can, especially repetitive processes – like reading
getabstract similar documents – and rules-based processes – like answering IT service requests.

Robotics uses AI. Autonomous vehicles depend on AI to sort the information their sensors
gather. Some firms use service robots to greet people. AI also comes into play in the Internet

The Executive Guide to Artificial Intelligence                                                                                                                                       getAbstract © 2018 3 of 5


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of Things (IoT) when devices transmit data directly to each other. When billions of devices
transmit data, this generates massive big data – a natural place to implement AI. When AI
can’t complete a task, humans intervene, such as in crowdsourcing or in cases when a task
exceeds a system’s capability – say, reading handwritten text.
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“Capturing information
is something that our AI in the Real World
brain does very well
but machines have Some organizations use AI to improve customer service, for example, via chatbots.
historically struggled Simple chatbots can answer only yes/no or multiple-choice questions. But chatbots that
with.”
getabstract receive extensive training through thousands of human-to-human chat conversations
can answer questions and help customers make orders.

Recommendation engine AI – such as Amazon’s and Netflix’s – applies data from


customer purchases to suggest future purchases. AI processes claims quickly and improves
functions customers will never see. British retailer Tesco sends robots through its stores
filming the shelves. The system uses image recognition to identify product gaps and
lets staff know where to restock. The Israeli tech company Nexar uses information from
getabstract
“Robotic process a dashcam app to help people become better drivers. Business leaders who want to
automation…describes work with AI should identify the challenges their company faces and ask how AI can
a relatively new type of
software that replicates help. Leaders should consider AI and automation together and decide what they want such
the transactional, rules- systems to accomplish. They can try a solution or application on a small scale, test it and
based work that a
human being might then apply it more broadly. Businesses should align their AI strategies with their overall
do.” strategies.
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The “AI Maturity Matrix”


Companies can adapt a Maturity Matrix – as originally developed by Carnegie Mellon
University for use in IT – to evaluate their current level of AI integration. Traditional
maturity matrices have five levels, but an AI matrix should have six, with “Level 0”
referring to firms that still do everything manually. Companies, or individual departments
getabstract or divisions may operate at five levels:
“One aspect where AI
projects are generally
trickier than ‘normal’ 1. The firm applies traditional IT applications to specific tasks – like processing invoices
IT projects is with the
dependency on data,
– but hasn’t assessed AI’s impact or applied automation more broadly.
and this challenge 2. Most people still do most things manually, but at least one team has automated a task
is particularly acute using scripting or macros.
during the prototyping
stage.” 3. A firm starts applying automation tools tactically to meet distinct goals.
getabstract 4. Firms use a range of automation tools to apply AI to multiple processes.
5. A Level 5 firm applies AI and automation throughout its operations.

“AI Heat Map”


Organizations can create an AI heat map to identify the areas of their operations where
applying AI is “desirable, economically viable and/or technically feasible.” Firms should
getabstract
“If there is trust and start with their strategic objectives, and identify pressing challenges and places where
transparency around sufficient data is available to enable AI-based solutions.
the data that consumers
find useful, then they
are more likely to For your firm, list the possibilities and rate them by desirability and how feasible or viable
allow businesses open they are. Rate all possibilities using the same scale, say 1–10, so your firm can compare
access to that, therefore
increasing the utility rankings from different areas. As a firm chooses AI projects, it can develop a business
even further.” case for each one. Calculate a project’s “hard benefits” – like reducing costs, mitigating risk,
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increasing compliance and customer satisfaction, reducing losses, and generating revenue.
Also assess its “soft benefits,” such as its impact on the firm’s culture and its marketing.

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Consider your options before implementing AI. Buying off-the-shelf AI software is
simplest. Firms with special needs may build their own platforms and applications for
greater control and flexibility. Only build a customized corporate system when your
firm has large-scale, pressing needs. AI platforms fall somewhere between those two
options. Huge companies such as Google and Amazon use platforms because they can
getabstract
“Prediction employs train customized algorithms to handle specific tasks.
one of the core ideas of
AI in that it uses lots of
historical data in order Implementing AI
to match a new piece As many firms implement AI, some are ready for the next level – “industrializing”
of data to an identified
group.”
AI. A successful firm will develop an “ecosystem” to support its AI and automation
getabstract projects. Within that system, all vendors and technology should align with corporate
strategy. Vendors should demonstrate technological expertise, experience and a
cultural fit. The firm should form architecture teams to guide AI-related options through
development and implementation to operations. AI-driven firms may add new leadership
positions, such as a “chief data officer” and “chief automation officer.”

AI’s primary challenge is dealing with poor data. With AI, accuracy isn’t as important
as in traditional computing. “Data fidelity” matters more. Biased or inappropriate data can
disrupt AI performance. Users can improve data by crowdsourcing or “cleansing” it to
getabstract remove inaccuracies. AI also must cope with its own “bias and naïveté.” AI systems don’t
“Creating your first AI understand social norms and may learn incorrect or inappropriate behavior. They need
build, however small, is
a key milestone for any training via human intervention so they don’t find correlations that lack meaning.
AI program.”
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Choosing the “wrong technology” is also a risk. However, AI uses specialized applications
that do just one thing and do it well. If a business assembles an AI system out of
multiple components, it should be able to replace any single component to improve overall
system function. As businesses adopt AI, they could become overly dependent on it. This
overdependence can be practical (can users tell if answers are correct?) or philosophical
(will humans forget how to think if the machines think for them?). There’s also a risk
of “malicious acts.” For example, if a bank implements voice recognition as part of its
security system for account holders, an AI system could mimic those voices to gain access
to the accounts. Some users have directed AI to “socially engineer people’s behaviors.” For
getabstract example, bots can post messages on social media to redirect political conversations.
“Sometimes AI simply
isn’t up to the job.
Sometimes you will AI’s Future
need to pull humans Image recognition will continue to improve – with better image tagging and facial
into the loop to help
complete the process.”
recognition. The use of voice recognition use will expand more into business-to-
getabstract business interactions. Improvements in microphone technology and algorithms for speech
recognition will make real-time voice transcription more accurate and efficient. Search
software will improve. NLU will gain capability, especially in real time. The lack of
“properly labeled, high-quality data sets” will continue to be a constraint. As proper
data become more available and AI improves – through reinforcement learning – at using
unlabeled data, optimization will continue to develop.
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About the Author
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Management consultant, author and speaker Andrew Burgess is an expert on disruptive technology. The Global
Sourcing Association chose him as the 2017 Automation Champion of the World. A former CTO, he advises
companies on AI and co-authored of The Rise of Legal Services Outsourcing.

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