What is AI and How Will It Impact YOU?

According to all the gurus out there who know way more than me, it looks like artificial intelligence (AI) will be the next big thing, whether you are in the print business or any other industry. Let me guess … when you think of AI, you think of E.T., am I right? No? A reference to E.T. makes me look old? You have no idea who E.T. is? Ok moving on.

AI is cool and here’s why: It’s a wave of digital disruption that’s going to impact all of us.

In case you aren’t familiar with exactly what AI entails, Wikipedia says that the term AI is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, like “problem solving.” There’s way more to it than that though. AI is really a blend of technology that includes machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing (NLP) cognitive computing, and more (!) according to Market Intelligence firm Tractica.

AI has really become an umbrella term for tech that mimics humans by utilizing large amounts of data and learning from an experience, adjusting “behavior” with new inputs, and accomplishing human-like tasks. AI has use cases and applications in pretty much every industry and it promises to impact current business models, not to mention create new ones.

Tractica forecasted that the global revenues for AI-based products and services will grow from $1.38 billion in 2016 to $59.75 billion by 2025. WHOA.

Mainstream adoption is still years away, but you shouldn’t be shocked to hear that the top dogs like Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Google, SAP, Salesforce and GE are some of the tech giants putting a long stake in the ground when it comes to investing in AI.

This fact will make you feel old: The digital age has been among us for over 45 years now. It started as being all about physical products becoming digital. Now in the mid-digital age, the concept of digital is becoming accepted into our mainstream, meaning, digital is fully immersed into our society. That said, your paper business must also convert to digital automation to stay relevant.

One example of AI + automation is insurance companies. Some companies are already combining intelligent automation and deep learning techniques by using algorithms to convert both handwritten and typed documents into legible and categorized digital files. Read: Claims processing doesn’t have to be a manual repetitive job anymore.

So where does AI fit into the print industry?

Combining AI with big data can allow you to more effectively conduct predictive maintenance.

Currently, the volume of data that we collect and analyze is just scratching at the surface. In many cases, today’s print management analytic tools can’t handle massive data analysis, or the integration of machine learning. In order to advance in the AI direction, your business must be capable of blending algorithms with machine learning, in turn providing operational insights into the right action at the right time.

Conversely, the automation of paper-based processes (like what insurance companies are doing) is both a blessing and a curse for us in the print industry. Embedding AI into document capture will build a necessary bridge between the paper and digital worlds – both of which I often find myself in.

It’s up to us print industry leaders to reinvent our product offerings to fully realize what AI can do as the physical and digital worlds continue to merge and we slowly move into the post-digital age where manufacturing will be just-in-time, and products will be made-to-order, arriving at your home by autonomous vehicles.

E.T. image courtesy of movieweb.com.