11/09/2019 – Science & Technology / AI / Fountech
AI: Disruption on the horizon
Nikolas Kairinos, CEO and Founder of AI solutions firm Fountech, explores the next generation of AI toolsets that are about to shake up businesses worldwide.
No one can deny that we live in an era of innovation in business. Over the last three decades, new technologies have had a disruptive impact on the way companies large and small operate. As a result, dozens of new technologies like cloud computing and social media have risen to prominence and become necessary components of any modern business.
Next on the horizon is artificial intelligence (AI). AI and machine learning (ML) enabled tools have already started to fundamentally re-orient the global business landscape due to the huge opportunities and efficiencies they offer. According to PwC’s global artificial intelligence study, the potential contribution of AI to the global economy could be as much as US$15.7 trillion by 2030.
For the time being, AI is having its greatest impact in large tech companies, where budgets are significant and innovation is highly prized. However, I expect AI-enabled tools to revolutionise the wider business landscape via its impact on industries as diverse as legal, healthcare and education.
Having worked in the AI sector for over three decades, I have seen first-hand how AI is changing how businesses operate. So, for business leaders seeking to take advantage of the operational efficiencies on offer through AI, I’ve laid down the following useful advice.
Compliance & risk management
AI and ML are naturally geared to perform repetitive tasks. This makes AI tools especially applicable to aiding risk and compliance departments; by quickly cross-referencing unstructured data against all publicly-available datasets, AI tools will be able to supply business leaders with essential information, which historically might have taken weeks to obtain. For instance, AI tools are capable of automatically flagging potential clients as politically-exposed persons (PEPs) using only the most basic personal information.
Indeed, it’ll soon be possible to completely automate all regulatory monitoring – including risk management, anti-fraud and GDPR compliance – using just a handful of AI toolsets.
HR & recruitment
Perhaps even more surprising is the revolutionary impact that AI is already having in HR. One innovative startup, Spot, has designed a chatbot that uses ‘cognitive interviews’ to help combat sexual harassment by tracking information from individuals who believe they have been harassed. While scepticism persists, it might be that AI is uniquely well-positioned to solve this problem because employees may feel more comfortable chatting with a bot than they would with a HR professional in the first instance.
Robotic process automation (RPA)
Robotic process automation refers to the new generation of software tools or ‘digital workers’ that are designed to automate repetitive or rules-based business activities – tasks that hitherto could only be conducted by a human. Unsurprisingly, forward-thinking industry leaders are very enthused by RPA’s potential to generate savings and boost productivity because it means that highly complex procedures can be carried out quickly, accurately and with total compliance.
All forward-thinking business leaders know that data is one of the most crucial resources available to the modern business. Yet, in spite of this, many SMEs lack a simple, cost-effective means of analysing and subsequently harnessing the vast amounts of data they retain every day.
I believe AI provides the solution to this problem, and in so doing, unlocks entirely new ways for leading tech companies, startups and researchers to operate and innovate with unprecedented efficiency.
While smaller companies may accept the value of data science, it’s difficult for them to truly benefit from it either because it's seen as too expensive or too complicated to be easily integrated into a company’s existing processes. However, upcoming advances in RPA could make cheap, automatic and effective data science a reality for SMEs as well as large corporates. Forbes has even gone as far as to call RPA a ‘gateway drug to digital transformation’ on account of its potential to add immediate value and change the way industry leaders view new opportunities to automate existing processes.
Think like an innovator
Outlined above are just some of the many ways AI is set to disrupt the business world over the next few years. It’s worth bearing in mind that AI’s potential to disrupt the global business landscape is only just being uncovered. AI can amplify business value, democratise the potential of data analysis, and create new ways to save time and money that may, at present, seem unimaginable.
However, if AI is to truly realise its potential, then business leaders can’t simply rely on the innovative potential of the tools at their disposal. They must also adopt a more innovative mindset themselves.
Nikolas Kairinos is the CEO and Founder of Fountech – a company specialising in the development and delivery of intelligent AI solutions for businesses and organisations.