- How the 3 Waves of Artificial Intelligence Can Elevate Your Startup - February 28, 2018
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is enjoying a prolonged moment in the spotlight. It’s easy to understand why: the potential applications for AI technology are seemingly endless and the implications are profound.
But as powerful as AI is, it’s not always clear how advancements in AI can actually contribute to the day-to-day operations or long-term success of your startup. Many people misunderstand the actual capabilities of contemporary AI programs — a problem from which startup founders are certainly not exempt. Widespread misunderstanding of AI has led some to wonder whether AI has been overhyped, and whether companies leading the AI charge have over-promised on the actual abilities of their programs.
To accurately understand the true potential of AI, and how you can use it to take your startup to the next level, it’s helpful to sort AI into three different categories, corresponding with the three waves of AI development.
Old artificial intelligence, new potential
Artificial intelligence first came into the world in a big way through “knowledge engineering” and optimization programs. These “first-wave” programs were designed to find efficient solutions for real-world problems, and such programs form the basis for many of the AI applications that have worked their way into our day-to-day life in 2018.
First-wave AI programs have made a big splash in the life sciences industry. Take, for example, the Framingham Risk Score Calculator, which utilizes first-wave AI tech to estimate a patient’s risk of heart disease. If you think about it, I’m sure that you can come up with a host of ways in which this type of technology has worked its way into whatever industry you operate in as well.
When it comes to your startup, first-wave artificial intelligence is the driving force behind all kinds of apps and programs that can streamline and simplify your team’s day-to-day operations. Popular email extensions such as Boomerang, Mixmax and Clearbit are built upon this technology, as are many of the apps that you’ll find on the Google Chrome extension store or the Apple App Store. AI-powered productivity tools have been developed to enhance nearly every aspect of a company’s operations, from sales and marketing to task management and collaboration.
Apps like these can significantly increase the efficiency and productivity of your business. If you haven’t already, be sure to browse through your app store of choice to identify which apps might be useful to you and your team.
AI automation and analytics
With the advent of machine learning technology, artificial intelligence transitioned into its second wave. Second-wave AI programs execute a variety of tasks based on statistical probability analysis and sophisticated pattern recognition capabilities. These programs don’t just analyze data. They learn from it as well, and improve over time based on what they learn.
As an entrepreneur, you can learn a lot from how larger enterprises use machine learning programs to streamline and improve core processes. In the life sciences, second-wave artificial intelligence forms the backbone for “clinical decision support systems”, which are now widely used to analyze medical test results. Facebook leans heavily on machine learning technology to analyze and improve ad performance on its platform. The marketing industry in particular has embraced second-wave AI to great effect.
When it comes to integrating second-wave AI in your own startup, process automation is an area with huge potential. Imagine how much more your team could accomplish if repetitive tasks like sorting sales leads, invoicing and customer service were handled automatically by computers. You don’t have to develop your own AI programs to accomplish this; a quick Google search will yield a variety of time-saving automation programs driven by second-wave AI technology.
You should also look for opportunities to integrate AI-powered data analytics tools into your company’s operations. Salesforce’s Einstein, which identifies purchasing patterns in customer account data and generates predictions for future behavior, is a great example.
The new frontier
We have now entered the third wave of AI, where “context normalization” programs are capable of analyzing enormous banks of unassociated data points, identifying statistical patterns and creating algorithms that generate novel hypotheses to explain those patterns. This represents the cutting edge of artificial intelligence innovation today.
Context normalization technology has been used by large companies such as Johnson & Johnson to achieve significant competitive advantages over their competitors. At Innoplexus, we’ve built products that allow companies to drastically increase the efficiency of their research and marketing efforts — all based on proprietary third-wave AI programs.
As a startup leader, you should be excited about third-wave AI for two reasons. First, this technology has the potential to dramatically increase the quantity and variety of data that can be analyzed. Imagine if you had a program that could scrape user profiles on hundreds of websites and social platforms to generate actionable sales leads. This capability might not be far off.
Secondly, third-wave AI has the potential to automate almost any repetitive manual task, far exceeding the automation capabilities of second-wave AI. That one data-entry process that takes up way too much of your sales team’s time may soon be handled by a program.
With the number of useful AI-powered applications and platforms growing every day, your startup doesn’t need to hire a PhD-level artificial intelligence expert to start reaping the benefits of this exciting technology. By understanding the capabilities and present limitations of AI, you can identify strategic ways to integrate it into your company’s operations today.