What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence holds great promise for businesses and organisations, but there is a significant knowledge gap to bridge in the private sector when it comes to identifying problems and their AI solutions. Can the technology optimise your business processes? What are the pitfalls? We asked Assistant Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen Djordje Grbic to give us a crash course on AI.
Artificial Intelligence – or AI as it is commonly referred to – has been hailed as a game changing technological breakthrough for years, but many businesses and organisations still struggle to take advantage of the field’s many possibilities. This is in part due to the fact that AI is an enormous field encompassing vastly different technologies – from self-driving cars to natural language processors. AI is also one of the most mythologized areas of technology and to many people it is still synonymous with sentient robots and other fictions of pop-culture.
Basically, if you have a work task that involves synthesizing a lot of data and basing a decision on a specific outcome, you may be able to cut costs and save time by automatizing it.
Djordje Grbic «
“Artificial Intelligence is a very vague concept that covers many different technologies,” says Assistant Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, Djordje Grbic. He teaches the ITU Professional Course Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
specifically aimed at professionals seeking to gain an understanding of AI core concepts and how AI technologies can be applied in a business setting.
“AI is used whenever you have a process in your business that can be automatized. Customer segmentation systems, product quality control, language generation and understanding, logistics optimization, generative design. Basically, if you have a work task that involves synthesizing a lot of data and basing a decision on a specific outcome, you may be able to cut costs and save time by automatizing it.”
Knowledge gap in the private sector
According to a survey from Statistics Denmark published last year, Denmark is second only to Finland when it comes to adopting AI solutions in the private sector. Still, only one in four companies with at least ten employees uses AI in operations. What is standing in the way of a more widespread adoption of AI technologies in Danish businesses? According to Djordje Grbic there is still a significant knowledge gap in the private sector that needs to be bridged.
Part of understanding AI and its potential has to do with asking the right questions and being able to identify processes in your company where AI can be applied.
Djordje Grbic «
“For one thing, the pipeline between the research community and the private sector needs improvement, but there is also lack of awareness about what it is and what it is not. Artificial Intelligence can work in your company’s favour in many ways, but it is not a magical solution for every problem. Part of understanding AI and its potential has to do with asking the right questions and being able to identify processes in your company where AI can be applied,” says Djordje Grbic, who completed his PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Evolutionary Biology at Université de Genève in Switzerland and is currently affiliated with the Creative AI Lab at ITU.
Another hindrance is the cost of implementing new technologies in a company’s workflow. According to the researcher many companies are deterred from exploring AI options because of the cost. However, in the long run there is a lot to gain from adopting AI technologies where relevant.
“I know companies that handle logistics manually,” says Djordje Grbic. “Many companies are stuck doing things the way they have always done so. AI implementation requires analysing your processes and identifying relevant areas where for instance automatization is relevant. It costs resources, but in the end, it may save you time and money.”
Less flashy science fiction
When asked about the future of AI technologies, Djordje Grbic has bad news for people expecting self-piloting airplanes or butler-robots. According to him, Artificial Intelligence will be integrated in our everyday lives more so than it is now:
By understanding what AI is and how it works, you significantly reduce the risks of implementing ready-made technologies that in fact violate regulations,” says Djordje Grbic. “Everybody wants to reduce costs, but the road to achieving that with AI can be hard to figure out without the proper knowledge. That said, for a company, there is so much to gain in learning the fundamental concepts of Artificial Intelligence.
Djordje Grbic «
“In the next five to ten years, we will see more streamlined solutions integrated directly into software and hardware. AI will be more accessible to everyone in part because it will be integrated in our households to a greater extent.”
There is undoubtedly much to gain for understanding the fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence, even if your company uses generic AI solutions developed by other companies. For one thing, there is an ethical aspect to the use of AI that cannot be understated.
“By understanding what AI is and how it works, you significantly reduce the risks of implementing ready-made technologies that in fact violate regulations,” says Djordje Grbic. “Everybody wants to reduce costs, but the road to achieving that with AI can be hard to figure out without the proper knowledge. That said, for a company, there is so much to gain in learning the fundamental concepts of Artificial Intelligence.”
Ninna Gandrup, Head of ITU Professional Courses, email@example.com, +45 72 18 53 19