Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the way we do business with computer programs’ streamlining tasks for greater efficiency and productivity than ever before. While the introduction of AI has created some level of fear about job security (will I be replaced by a computer?), the savviest of business owners and investors know that AI works best when it complements the company’s greatest asset: its people. Businesses of all sizes can take advantage of AI in a variety of sophisticated ways that ultimately have an impact on the bottom line.

AI: The Back Story

The term artificial intelligence was first coined at Dartmouth in 1956 by mathematics professor John McCarthy. He organized a conference to study “how every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” Imagine how the participants would have felt if given a glimpse into the future of the digital age!

In the 60+ years since that conference, AI has been studied and explored to varying degrees. While at times interest (and funding) has waned, the widespread use of smartphones in the 21st century means AI is once again at the forefront of technological trends and investors are rethinking where they invest. Perhaps there’s no better way to remind someone of how they use AI on a daily basis than the words “Hey Siri!”

AI combs through massive amounts of data to provide answers for us at lightning speed. When AI is at work, our computers are acting as our advisors or guides in a sense, suggesting films we should see based on our interests, asking us to tag Aunt Peggy in a Facebook photo (because Facebook now recognizes Aunt Peggy!), and responding when we ask Siri to find the nearest coffee shop while we are traveling.

The basis of AI is rooted in mimicking humans. Our own brains establish pattern recognition, and this is what AI does—on a massive scale. Internet platforms work to capture and process data all the time. Technological advancements in AI have given us the opportunity to take that information and derive incredibly useful benefits from it, both in business and personal settings.

How Can AI Transform Your Business?

The sky is the limit, it seems when it comes to what AI can do for the business world. Whether it is about quantifying and qualifying new sales leads, eliminating redundant tasks, or understanding the needs of a particular consumer base, AI is now a permanent fixture in our business culture. The key to using it effectively lies in understanding the particular challenges of your businesses and how a specialized AI tool can help you overcome those challenges. We will take a look at a few popular examples of how AI is transforming business.

Defining an Audience

Whatever product or service you are selling, AI can help you find the right audience. We see this at work in Facebook advertising all the time: the massive amounts of data that can be mined in Facebook will help you drill down to an audience of thirtysomething females who live in a particular region and are avid cyclists. Or seniors who play tennis. Or retired professionals who engage in volunteer activity. Or dog owners in urban settings. The ability to not only define these audiences but also reach them with advertising has revolutionized our consumer culture.

Predicting Behavior

Not only can AI carve out these audiences and put them in your reach, it can create an analysis for you on how that audience is likely to respond based on consumer behavior. AI is one of your best tools in terms of launching a new product or service. Think of the last product you launched and how you can analyze the results: AI can help you look at every visitor to your site and identify the common features of those who converted to sales (for example demographic information or behavioral information, such as how many pages a user viewed). An algorithm can be applied to this data to create predictions for your next launch.

Letting the Machines Sweat the Small Stuff

One of the biggest advantages of AI is the opportunity to remove some of the mundane and time-consuming administrative tasks that can stifle a workplace. Allowing your sales force to focus more on the big picture, and not get bogged down in tedious tasks, can lead to better performance for your business overall. AI can rid your business processes from redundancies and those “time sucks moments” that have so often stifled a workforce and limited time for creativity and innovation. The implementation of AI can introduce ways to automate tasks that required manual intervention in the past and that freed up time can be dedicated to more big-picture thinking and action in your workforce.

AI for ICOs

Artificial intelligence goes hand in hand with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) which represent a project tied to tokenization. Perhaps no community is better suited to the advantages of AI than those who work in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. In fact, one recent researcher used AI to generate a white paper for a crypto project, after having AI read 100 other white papers. (It leaves one to wonder if college professors will start questioning whether their student papers were created by AI!)

The blockchain platform and technology that power an Initial Coin Offering for most blockchain startups is likely to be used in conjunction with AI more commonly in the future. Both technologies are groundbreaking and combining them could lead to even more innovation across numerous industries including blockchain startups.