After identifying promising opportunities to deploy AI or automation technologies, corporate leaders still need to figure out which technology to pursue:
Artificial intelligence represents the highest level of business automation. True AI can sense, think, and act. This type of AI is necessary to power self-driving cars in complex, unpredictable environments. A medical robot might use AI to analyze human vital signs and give advice to doctors about diagnosis and possible treatments.
Cognitive computing systems also can sense and think. In a corporate context, such capabilities can enable people to do their jobs better, improve business processes, and increase profitability. Cognitive computing systems might automate actions people once performed or give people suggestions about their next action. Such systems typically have natural language processing capabilities to collect and analyze large amounts of text, documents, and other forms of unstructured data. For instance, a life sciences company could use such a system to scan records of millions of clinical cases involving its products, detect adverse events, and report them to regulators. Cognitive computing systems generally have machine learning elements that apply algorithms to find patterns in data. For instance, a marketing firm could analyze the consumption patterns of its many consumers. The predictive analytics elements of cognitive computing systems allow companies to analyze data from business processes and find recommended ways to improve results. For example, the system might review a company’s existing process of delivering orders, and then provide recommendations on getting customers their products faster and with fewer errors.
Robotic process automation gives companies a way to apply automation to smaller projects. Chatbots are still new, but they already can respond to customer queries about simple billing questions. Similarly, virtual private assistants make it easier for employees at professional services firms to make travel plans.