While artificial intelligence (AI) has been dominating news headlines lately, it's not a new concept. The idea that machines can think and execute tasks like humans dates back to the mid-19th century, from British polymath Alan Turing's 1950s paper, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" to the first program designed to mimic the problem-solving skills of a human, called Logic Theorist.
Logic Theorist was presented at the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence in 1956, where, according to a Harvard University article, "everyone whole-heartedly aligned with the sentiment that AI was achievable. The significance of this event cannot be undermined, as it catalyzed the next 20 years of AI research."
So why, then, are companies just now scrambling to jump on the AI bandwagon nearly 70 years later?
Advancements in infrastructure, speed, data, and accessibility all make it easier than ever to harness the power of AI, and most companies realize that if they don't adopt the technology, the consequences could be devastating.
In fact, three out of four C-suite executives believe that if they don't scale artificial intelligence in the next couple of years, they risk going out of business entirely, states Accenture's "AI: Built to Scale" report.
"Some companies fall into that trap where there's a wait-and-see approach," says Joe Hinrichs, Bailiwick's vice president of IT and product development. "Is it really going to catch on, or is it hype? The reality is, it's here. It's being used on a regular basis, whether people realize it or not."
Here, Hinrichs, along with other industry experts, warn of the consequences of ignoring the urgency of AI.
New machine learning technology is being developed at a quicker pace than we can learn and implement it, so the longer you wait to start utilizing AI tools, the harder it's going to be to catch up.
"Remember that things will continue to evolve. If you don't make investments in AI now, you're going to lose these efficiencies, these opportunities to scale and do more," says Hinrichs. "If you don't grab hold of that, but instead continue to do things the ‘old-fashioned way,' you're going to burn out your resources, and it's going to be more expensive to provide products or services."
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By failing to implement AI, you're going to lose any competitive advantage you have to companies who use the technology to execute tasks quicker, safer and with greater accuracy.
"When you use AI to improve your service time, to address common issues or take care of normal, day-to-day workflows, that's when you're going to be able to leverage it as a competitive advantage," says John Sullivan, CEO of intelligent video surveillance solution Realwave, Bailiwick's AI partner. "When companies become resource-constrained and their competitors aren't because of AI, that's when you're going to start to see a material difference between their growth rates."
Consumers today have multiple choices for where to shop and who to conduct business with, and if a company isn't meeting their expectations with a frictionless experience—for example, available inventory, answers to their questions and easy payment options—they'll take their hard-earned dollars elsewhere.
"It's all about the customer and brand experience," says Bobbie Cummins, Bailiwick's director of marketing and communications. "Brands are fighting for mind share from every consumer, so they must think of innovative ways to engage their customers and make their customer experiences more memorable, whether it be online or in store. That's one of the reasons AI is so urgent."
When it comes to AI, don't take a wait-and-see approach. Contact Bailiwick for a no-obligation discovery call and get started today.