Common AI Myths Debunked
Why AI Is More Reachable Than You Think
Artificial Intelligence has garnered so much attention in the last few years. The word alone generates over 100,000 searches per month. Media outlets are always headlining the latest blockbuster innovations. Or they’re tugging our ethical strings with theories that AI is going to steal our jobs, our livelihoods, and eventually our planet… still sounds like a blockbuster movie.
Much of the hype is completely justified with incredible breakthroughs in the technology. Self-driving cars are becoming normal. MIT even released a device that purportedly can read your mind. But not spotlighted is the fact that AI is also becoming more accessible to businesses. In fact, Gartner predicts almost all software products will incorporate AI by 2020. And it’s already 2019.
Between all the noise it's hard to determine what’s real and what’s a myth. You need to look past the hype and determine how AI can work best for your organization.
To help you stay informed, we’ve debunked for 4 common misconceptions about AI.
Myth 1: Everyone Is Using AI in Their Software Products Now
Remember when health experts announced “whole, real” foods were the key to a long-lasting life. Buzzwords like “organic” and “all natural” and “fresh” started popping up on every item in the grocery store.
Similar to this organic craze, terms under the AI umbrella are being used loosely by many vendors who claim to use AI in their products. While it may seem like everyone has already incorporated AI into their products, we are still in the early stages of mass adoption. Products that lean heavily on AI in its messaging but not in its architecture will ultimately end up with disappointed customers and long term pain.
Fact: Your decision to incorporate AI techniques should be backed by data and strategically align to your business goals. If you are doing it just to jump on the bandwagon and tout the AI label, you risk long term success for short term hype. Talk with experts who can help you determine if AI or other advanced techniques are the right fit for your product.
Myth 2: AI and Machine Learning Are The Same Thing
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are often used synonymously but they involve very different techniques. Let’s take a look at how the Dean of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science defines these two terms:
“Artificial intelligence is the science and engineering of making computers behave in ways that, until recently, we thought required human intelligence.”
“Machine learning is the study of computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience.”
AI is an umbrella term, an end goal. Machine Learning is just one technique towards achieving that goal.
Fact: When you are deciding what techniques will boost your software, it's important to understand the differences between AI, ML, and other advanced techniques. The technique(s) you choose to utilize will determine the direction of your product roadmap including your tech stack, people, timeline, and resources. The better you understand the distinction, the more effective product roadmap will be.
Myth 3: AI Is Too Expensive and Complex for Small Business and StartUps
In a Capterra Survey of 700 small business leaders, 1 in 5 cited “identifying the right technologies for their business is one of their top challenges.”
At the same time, 47% small business leaders are factoring tech trends and advancements into their strategic planning.
People often associate AI with futuristic inventions like self-driving cars and mind reading tech which sounds highly complex and expensive. They only read about tech giants and venture-backed tech unicorns headlining their latest AI accomplishments. Unfortunately, less exciting and practical applications of AI don’t get the same kind of publicity, fueling our misconception that AI is out of reach for small businesses and startups.
But most people encounter practical AI in their everyday life. Have you ever interacted with chatbots? How about used an online styling service? Both use AI, yet it's not the first thing that comes to mind. Many businesses are incorporating chatbots on their websites to aid with customer service.
Fact: AI is still in its early stages but, it’s not an unattainable strategy for small businesses. Don’t let the hype keep you from investigating what techniques you could incorporate to take your product to the next level.
Have the strategy but don’t have the skills to execute your AI vision? Consider bringing in some outside expertise to help you incorporate AI into the next version of your product.
Myth 4: AI Is Unethical and Will Take Away Jobs
On the other side of the hype train, the skeptics are pushing the moral argument that AI will steal jobs from humans and destroy our humanity. That may be a bit dramatic. However, the thought that AI can do things better than humans and will eventually replace them doesn’t sound very appealing for the humans.
AI is sorely misinterpreted as a replacement for human labor when its really designed to enhance our productivity and our strengths. Katrina Lake, CEO and founder of Stitch Fix, the billion-dollar styling subscription service, is a huge advocate for AI and humans working together.
“It’s simple: A good person plus a good algorithm is far superior to the best person or the best algorithm alone. We aren’t pitting people and data against each other. We need them to work together. We’re not training machines to behave like humans, and we’re certainly not training humans to behave like machines.”
Many organizations agree with Lake and have even adopted the term “Augmented Intelligence” to emphasize the use of AI to complement and enhance human capabilities.
Fact: AI, when employed strategically, can actually enhance human productivity and make your employees better and your customers happier.
AI is still in its youth but the hype train is full speed ahead. It’s time to move past all the buzz and leverage AI to provide value for your product and organization.
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