INC Magazine: “2017 is the Year of Artificial Intelligence”
In her article, “2017 Is the Year of Artificial Intelligence” for Inc. Magazine, Molly Reynolds surveyed the business community for their 2017 predictions and she said within a couple of hours, she received hundreds of emails, with most of them expressing a common theme – Artificial Intelligence.
For some people, just the mere sound of AI may bring on an instinctual concern. Could it be, that our most subconscious fears could come from very much entertaining, but not always evidence-based Sci-Fi novels and apocalyptic dramas, imagined by the greatest storytellers? Artificial Intelligence and robots have been known to zap away our neighbors, take over our jobs, and break our hearts. Admit it, there’s been more bad news than good.
But is that reality or just hype? Well the tech is real, but the fears may not be rational, and are certainly not the most productive way to feel about a technology that is, to some people’s surprise, already highly integrated into our everyday lives. An article from The Economist article, “The Intelligent Workforce,” recalls that in June 2016, a report from the OECD, a think tank of industrialised countries, predicted that 9% of jobs will be automated in the next one or two decades.
AI is already on its way. In her article, Molly examines a question that every professional should be thinking about this year:
“What does the future look like with human beings
working alongside artificial intelligent beings?”
“Sales Will Become More Efficient”
Molly reminds us that big data has really allowed us to step away from that “icy cold call” that neither end of the line will miss. Predictive analytics, now being used by 89% of marketers, has given companies the ability to “identify their top sales leads and focus their efforts on the folks most likely to buy their product (instead of wasting time on people who have no interest).”
“For AI innovators, predictive marketing technology is awesome for sales, but could even be a whole lot more efficient. According to a recent study by Conversica, the vast majority of companies fail to follow up with 1/3 of their interested leads. This is where AI Assistants come in. These virtual beings are given a name, email address, and title and can do all the preliminary dirty work for sales teams, which involves reaching out to leads, following up, and having initial conversations with customers to gage interest. Then, when the lead is almost ready to buy, it is passed to a human.”
This system allows an additional 1/3 of qualified leads to be salvaged from the the black hole of the sales funnel to be turned to some actual opportunities. Because of this, AI would lead to:
“The Creation of More Jobs”
This may seem counterintuitive to what people have in mind when they think of AI doing the work of the sales team. Wouldn’t this obviously mean that the AI would take away jobs from salespeople?
“Alex Terry, CEO of Conversica, answers this question all the time: ‘It’s the same issue a lot of people had with replacing bank tellers with ATM machines,’ he says. What the general public may not know, is that by making banks more efficient by implementing ATMs in the 1990s, each branch had less overhead and were able to do more work–which lead to a higher return. While individual banks had less people working there, the increase in profit allowed banking companies to open more branches and hire more people to staff them.’
This can make easier to understand with what’s happening with AI.
“‘When sales teams become more efficient, they increase their ROI–which allows companies to have a greater marketing budget,’ says Terry, whose AI technology is being used by the likes of IBM and other Fortune 500 companies. ‘Therefore, they can hire more people.’”
Molly concludes the article citingAI’s ability to enhance the connections that we could successfully have, not impeding them. “And obviously, when we have more success, we are able to grow our businesses and offer a better life for ourselves and our families. So bring on the ‘bots!”
Read the full article at Inc. Magazine: