Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gaining momentum across industries with the help of companies such as IBM, Google, and Microsoft. McKinsey & Company estimates that as much as 45% of the tasks currently performed by people can be automated using current technologies -- not only low-level rote tasks, but high-level knowledge work as well.
"Our point of view is that there is no function, no industry, almost no role that won't potentially be affected by this set of technologies -- not just every occupation, but every activity within each occupation," said Michael Chui, a partner with McKinsey Global Institute, in an interview. "It's not just automating the labor that's being done, but the work people do will have to change as well. Understanding how to take advantage of these technologies is going to be critically important."
Even if your company isn't actively experimenting with it, AI is finding its way in via online transactions and modern cyber-security systems, among other examples. As AI technologies and their use-cases start to take hold across industries, it's time for the C-suite to pay attention.
If you haven't made an effort to understand how AI will affect your company, now is the time to start.
"The attitude of C-[suite] executives should be to add AI as a top strategic priority," said George Zarkadakis, digital lead at global professional services firm Willis Towers Watson and author of In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence, in an interview. "This time, technology will move faster than ever, and the laggards will pay a hefty price."
Of course, the impact of AI is not limited to technological change and innovation. It also involves cultural evolution and, in some cases, revolution.
"Today's leaders have time, as well as a responsibility, to understand what's ahead of them before acting," said Deborah Westphal, CEO of strategic consulting and advisory firm Toffler Associates, in an interview. "It's important to ask the hard questions, and then, using those insights, determine the best action for an organization."
In short, AI is going to affect a lot of things in the near future, some of which have not yet been anticipated. In the meantime, consider the following points. Once you've reviewed our list of the ways Ai will change business as we know it, tell us about your own AI experiences in the comments section below.