If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Starbucks has said the use of digital assistants helps it provide more personalized customer experiences. There's even more to AI's impact: While the Starbucks example (along with other uses for chatbots and digital assistants) focuses on external efforts -- benefitting customers, in this case -- chatbots can be immensely helpful in internal efforts such as: Implementing AI can improve workflow and facilitate communication among team members. Chatbots and digital assistants offer ways to improve productivity and customer service, but they can't replace your human employees. In the end, chatbots and digital assistants don't benefit just the customer -- a business's internal processes have just as much to gain from their advantages.
In January this year, a Japanese insurance firm replaced 34 of its employees with an AI system based on IBM Watson. One of the reasons why IBM Watson is so important is because IBM has opened Watson up to businesses and developers. IBM opened up Watson application programming interfaces in 2015, allowing developers to use the cloud-based artificial intelligence system with their own programs. Cognitive intelligence, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality all present opportunities for businesses to serve their customers in new and exciting ways.
For many in the enterprise, artificial intelligence (AI) versus intelligence augmentation (IA) is a distinction without a difference. The "intelligence" provided by AI technology entails tapping into increasingly cheap computer processing power to evaluate alternate options more quickly than humans could. Evaluating many options and learning from past experience -- using a technology called machine learning -- is how artificial intelligence is able to pick the best outcome available. With all the related information presented in a coherent context, the human can then make intelligent decisions about what to do next.
For business environments, many tasks are already being performed through the automated functions of intelligent machines, such as scheduling, report compilations and invoice tracking. Increased productivity is the common goal for any competitive enterprise, and for business, the benefits of automation are clear: allow for tasks to be completed faster in a way that is cost-effective and error-free. AI enables the cost-cutting automation of routine work but can also empower value-adding augmentation of human capabilities. Tasks such as scheduling, allocating resources and generating reports across business sectors have typically been reserved for humans but can now fall within the remit of intelligent processes to execute.
Artificial intelligence and robots are great at crunching numbers and performing repetitive tasks, but it's tough to replicate human qualities like creativity and strategic thinking, says James Paulsen, an economist and strategist at Wells Capital Management. "One way to reconcile low productivity growth, with alarm about robots, is that businesses are spending a lot of time learning about the technology," says Fernald. So companies had little incentive to spend more to improve labor efficiency. And the best way to protect yourself is by learning skills they have a tough time mastering, like creativity and strategic thinking.
The Kiva warehouse-management system creates a new paradigm for pick-pack-and-ship warehouses that significantly improves worker productivity. The Kiva system uses movable storage shelves that can be lifted by small, autonomous robots. A Kiva installation for a large distribution center may require 500 or more vehicles. As such, the Kiva system represents the first commercially available, large-scale autonomous robot system.