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Artificial intelligence impacts devices we use every day such as Amazon Alexa

The State of Artificial Intelligence Today

Most of us engage with artificial intelligence daily and often do not even realize it. Amazon Alexa, Pandora and Netflix, to name a few, all leverage AI technology to learn more about user profiles and preferences. These AI-based systems then use this knowledge to deliver a more personalized experience based on learned patterns of behavior.

This technology enables music and video streaming services to make recommendations and allows automated personal assistants to anticipate requests. What’s the end result? Thanks to AI, homes are getting smarter and life is being simplified.

Likewise, businesses also have plenty to gain from the adoption of AI into their environments.

In its current state, AI’s ability to automate historically manual processes makes it a valuable business tool when combined with machine learning. Here are a few examples where AI can play a role.

  • Natural language processing for document review – A business often has thousands of documents that typically require a human to crosscheck entries for completion or ensure that it meets various laws or compliance regulations. Instead of building pivot tables and performing lookups across thousands of spreadsheets, a machine can learn the information needed to complete the task and classify documents quickly. It can also determine the type of document the machine is looking at, so it can extract different types of data based on the rules it learns.
  • Extraction of data from documents – Businesses often use data from a multitude of documents to file reports for clients and internal purposes. However, the task of extracting that data can be tedious, labor intensive and time-consuming. AI makes reporting easier by allowing users to automatically obtain the data they’re looking for within a set of documents.
  • Detecting anomalies within data – Machines can look at vast amounts of data to identify likely anomalies automatically. An example is a bank’s ability to identify unusual banking activity, providing tighter security against consumer fraud.
  • Learning from voice, image and text data – Businesses can greatly benefit from AI’s ability to recognize image and data within various documents and learn what they are, so it can classify these items at a rapid pace. When the machine is given a certain taxonomy to learn, including how each document class is processed and treated, it will then handle subsequent documents exactly how it was trained with a high degree of accuracy. This allows the machine to process complex documents, which might normally require hours of training for humans, in “real-time”, i.e., a matter of seconds.

Artificial intelligence has completely altered the knowledge worker’s office efficiency. Rather than spending hours doing repetitive, often menial, work, where fatigue has been shown to have a strong negative impact on job performance, valued employees are now able to focus on more creative tasks—providing greater benefit to their employers and giving those employers a significant edge over their competitors.

There are several industries that benefit from artificial intelligence and are likely to implement it on a larger scale in the future. For example, most of the “Big Four” tax and accounting firms already rely on AI to comb through, classify, arrange, and analyze millions of pages of client documents with higher accuracy rates and much faster processing speed (often on the order of 100x-1000x) than when the same work was done manually.

But tax and accounting isn’t the only industry to benefit from implementing AI. In fact, nearly every business process will see a significant improvement in performance through AI. For example, the finance industry uses AI systems to analyze market behavior, build trading algorithms, check for money laundering, and manage underwriting and investment processes. Artificial intelligence also benefits document-intensive industries such as mortgage banking, accounts payable, and insurance, where it improves the speed at which documents can be processed and business processes solved.

For further examples of how AI can work in today’s business world, read our primer on how AI can help the businesses of today solve tomorrow’s problems.

A Primer to Artificial Intelligence in Business

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