Why you (probably) don’t need AI

88% of brands are now using AI. And yet, 55% are disappointed with the results of their investment.

As underwhelming as this satisfaction statistic may be, it doesn’t necessarily mean that AI technology itself is at fault. Rather, misguided adoption of AI is more likely to drive disappointment. The plain fact is that implementing AI is often the workplace equivalent to using a cannon to kill a mosquito.

Companies are in such haste to jump on the AI bandwagon that they forgot the most fundamental question: is it the right solution for the problem?

Here’s why you (probably) don’t need AI.

The root of the issue

AI is new and exciting. That doesn’t make it a necessary component of business success. In fact, for common workflow bottlenecks, AI proves an overblown and overly expensive solution.

In their rush to take advantage of AI, many businesses are using it for problems that simpler automation could solve. AI can complete routine tasks, but so too can a less advanced (and less expensive) solution.

It’s often tempting to think of artificial intelligence as a panacea for all your woes and problems. This is not the case. It all comes down to what you’re trying to achieve. Are you looking to automate repetitive tasks and boost productivity? Or is your goal to gain intelligent suggestions for your next business decision?

Based on what you’re looking to gain from your technology, there are different tools available. Artificial intelligence has all the bells and whistles, but there’s a simpler choice when it comes to handing tasks over to robots.

The difference between AI and automation

AI is putting the human in robots. Automation software, meanwhile, is taking the robot out of human tasks and workflows.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a catch-all term for a plethora of ‘intelligent’ technology. It may refer to machine learning, or facial recognition, or natural language processing… the list continues. In general, AI tools mimic the human brain to make decisions and provide intelligent insight.

Conversely, automation is a rule-based system that completes predictable, repetitive and monotonous tasks for you. With automation, you need to lay out what you want the software to do, step by step. Then, it will follow those rules to complete any task you can think of.

Another way to think of it is that with AI, the technology does the thinking. With automation, you do the thinking and tell the technology what to do.

When you need AI

Before you consider getting an AI tool, you need to be sure that you have the data to feed it. Most AI tools use a vast amount of data in order to learn the best course of action for any given situation. In short, AI needs data to simulate human thinking and learning.

You want artificial intelligence if your goal is to automate non-repetitive processes. You’ll also need AI if the tasks you’re looking to automate involve understanding speech or image recognition. Plus, AI is the right choice if you need it to collect data as well as draw subsequent conclusions.

In short, if you want to automate decision-based, unpredictable processes, AI is the tool you need.

When automation will do

The rest of the time, you’d be just as well served with traditional business process automation software.

In particular, you’d use automation when your main goal for the tool is to drive efficiency. Many of the brands that felt disappointed by AI will likely find that business process automation was capable of everything they set the more complex tool to do.

Automation software is for you if you want to hand over rote tasks. You can instruct automation software to take care of the processes that don’t require human decision making or flexibility.

A common pitfall here is believing that automation cannot handle complex workflows. In fact, automation can handle multi-tiered workflows and run endless conditional actions using classic if/then/else logic.

Look to the future

The reason you probably don’t need AI just yet is that for most tasks, conventional automation software remains sufficient. Artificial intelligence is only necessary for processes that are decision-driven or need sensorimotor skills. (I.e. image or speech recognition, learning abilities etcetera.)

So, before you turn to AI, question whether what you’re really looking for is smoother processes. Yes, the technology is new and exciting, and it will surely prove invaluable to businesses in the future. But, for the time being, all you (probably) need is a human team for automation to support.

Please note: we originally published this article here: https://datafloq.com/read/why-you-probably-dont-need-ai/6611