What Does Artificial Intelligence Mean for a Small Business Owner?
It seems like every day that goes by artificial intelligence (AI) is used more and more in our vocabulary. So let’s go ahead and define what AI is first. AI is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. We are hearing and using the words AI more often now because of how rapid technology is growing which means AI is advancing and being used in more ways than before.
Couple Pros and Cons of AI and How it Can Affect You as a Small Business Owner.
AI is being incorporated into many things nowadays. Some of which you may already be using and don’t realize it. As the AI technology advances, it is becoming cheaper and easier to integrate into everyday used items. Probably the most used and recognized item would be your smartphone. There are a ton of ways that AI is being used within your phone. Some of these things are voice recognition, face recognition, autocorrect, maps, etc. As a business owner, you may be using things like an e-commerce website, Email spam filter, Mobile banking, or automated advertising.
These common forms of AI can be a big asset to you and your business. If you sell merchandise, having an e-commerce site can increase your sales by giving your customers the opportunity to shop online at any hour of the day with not all that much of an investment as well as not having to hire an employee to man a physical store at all hours. What about something like Intelligent CRMs which are designed to compile information about consumers across different channels (e.g email, phone, social media) and to provide sales forces with an integrated environment to manage interactions with current and prospective consumers, and automate marketing and lead generation. These are just a couple ways AI can help your business out.
Probably one of the biggest ways AI can harm your business is simply not advancing with the latest AI technology. Staying behind the game is a good way to get the boot. But staying ahead of the game isn’t always the easiest and some AI technology can hold a hefty price tag.
Large companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and Google spend millions of dollars each year to advance their AI workforce. These companies are not only staying ahead of the game but are at the frontier and have large teams to develop specific AI. Smaller business may get affected more over others. Some examples of this would be how a small bakery would sell its products to a local grocery store but now the grocery store decided to go with another company that uses machines to make the baked products from start to finish which results in faster production rates and for a cheaper price, being they are not having to pay wages for employees to hand make it. This is just an easy example which has been happening for many years now. But what about something as advanced as a trucking business not being able to survive because their competition just bought a fleet of Tesla Semis that runs completely on electricity and will eventually not require a driver. Sounds pretty far fetched but it is happening as we speak.
So what should you do?
It’s very hard to say exactly what a business should do because not every business will be affected the same way. But constantly researching new forms of AI technology that can be incorporated into your business is a must.