Nicolas Babin is an agile Senior Executive with over 35 years of international, multilingual, and multicultural experience. He is a Key Opinion Leader and Influencer for many international brands as well as Start-ups and Scale-ups. He has had management experience in both the East and West, setting up and managing international teams in Europe, US, and Japan. Nicolas has started and developed over 26 companies in the US, UK, and France. He has been involved with AI since 1996, launching the robotic division for Sony Europe and has received many distinguished awards. He has had two IPO experiences on the Nasdaq and NYSE and many Fundraising experiences. He is a sought-after international keynote speaker on innovation, e-health, digital and robotics. He is also the author of the award-winning book called ‘The talking dog’ – immersion in new technologies. He has sat and sits on several boards in the US, Europe, and Japan. Currently, Nicolas is the President at Babin Business Consulting.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in everything we do today. It has several levels from shallow to deep learning. It can be used in a lot of businesses and activities. However, with all your feedback, it seems to me that I should have started with the basics: what is Artificial Intelligence? Let’s have a look and I hope this will make things a bit clearer for all.
Artificial Intelligence refers to any type of computer or machine (robots, PCs, phones…) ability to do tasks that up until recently would have been done by a human being. In general, we would have expected humans to perform such tasks using their own power of reasoning. Basically, machines simulate human intelligence and gestures thanks to a structured set of commands, algorithms and data. You hear very regularly about strong or weak AI, but this very simply means how strongly machines are programmed to deliver results. Does the AI program possess a narrow range of abilities (weak AI) such as Google assistant, Google translate, SIRI, Cortana or Alexa or does it possess a large range of abilities (strong AI)?
You can find Artificial Intelligence scenarios in many applications such as but not limited to:
- Humanoids or animals’ activities and simulation
- Chatbots and voice recognition
- Image recognition
- Facial recognition
- Computer vision
- Mechatronic (the movement activity – running, walking, jumping…)
- Natural Language Processing
- Sentiment analysis
Data is at the center of all AI activity, and this is very important for anyone who would like to start an AI program or application to start with its data organization. Collect data, organize data, analyze data, and make it intelligent are the four steps to ensure success in any AI activity.
Many business leaders ask me about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its usefulness for companies. Today, as mentioned AI is present in all digital activity. Do you use an email solution like Gmail? AI is there and can help you write texts (suggestions for words or short sentences). Social network functions are based on AI. For example, LinkedIn AI suggests text to answer questions or people to follow who are relevant to you and your professional activity. You will also find AI in the management of your community on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. When using a management or accounting tool, the AI algorithms will suggest accounting line assignments for your invoices or expenses. If your company uses a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) for your sales or finance departments, AI is in use there too. So, we have started to get used to the ease of AI and are taking advantage of the benefits of AI as it helps us save time and work more efficiently.
Whether you work in a large, medium, or small company, AI will allow you to manage your business differently in order to focus on what is most important, your customers. Tedious, time-consuming, and uninteresting tasks will be managed by algorithms in so-called intelligent applications. Often, I offer my clients a digital transformation activity that allows companies to manage processes in different ways. The digital transformation activity that puts AI at the heart of your activity is not only a transformation of tools but a powerful form of change management. In the same way as people over 50 years old today had to manage the transition to IT a few years ago, companies are now implementing data management strategies that will allow the development of AI algorithms. Most of this data will be stored in the cloud and will allow immediate access no matter where you are and at lower operating costs because it will be based on demand and usage.
After looking at the benefits that exist today, whether you are consciously aware of them or not, let’s take a closer look at the benefits that you will be able to derive from your digital transformation activity.
At the accounting level, for example, you have had customer, supplier, and employee data for many years. This data is stored and organized but not analyzed. The AI algorithm will allow you to search for the relevant data (which you will choose) and analyze this data in order to get predictive analytics which will become more and more reliable as time goes by.
In terms of human resources, AI algorithms will allow you to follow your employees since their first contact with the company by combining publicly available information on social networks and your internal information since their start of employment. Who are they really? How long do they generally stay in a job (which will allow you to be proactive and offer training or a new position if you have noticed they tend change employer regularly)? Which environment works best for this or that individual? You will have a more relevant, productive, and personal HR policies because you will know much more about each employee and will thus be able to interact in a more knowledgeable way.
Finally, at the marketing and commercial level, we talked above about AI in CRM (Customer Relationship Management). These CRM tools with AI will allow salespeople to become more efficient because the algorithms will be able to define, for example, when a prospect is more inclined to order (seasonally) or is more receptive to a call. Based on data you have today in your business, we can analyze when a salesperson is at top performance, which approach he uses works best and which products will be most suited to his/her prospects or clients. The same is true for marketing which will be able to deliver more targeted, efficient, and personalized campaigns, again based on data that you have and that will be analyzed quickly and effectively.
Humans need to have the upper hand as they are the programmers. They need to ensure they have a failsafe switch in case machines become out of control. AI should help humans to be augmented. The intention of AI is to manage an extremely large amount of data. Mundane activities will become things of the past for humans. This allows humans to focus on what they do best: think! Ethics in AI is essential to ensure the “human augmented” approach is enforced without any drift into non ethical activities.
AI will allow an increase in individual and team performance because it analyzes billions of data at speeds that the human brain cannot compete with. AI algorithms will make it possible to increase human potential, not to replace it and thus will allow optimized management of the company. You will then be able to focus on what you do best … growing your business!