Businesses should embrace artificial intelligence and not fear it, says a key figure in the technology’s development.

Nigel Duffy is chief technology officer of San Francisco-based Sentient Technologies, the world’s most funded AI company.

He said that any business that gathers large amounts of data can use AI to turn it into intelligence and make better decisions.

For example that could be predicting health, increasing crop yields or managing electricity grids.

“Businesses should first ask themselves what problems they are looking to solve and then establish how AI can help them solve that problem instead of vice versa,” says Duffy.

“The future for AI is bright and we all stand a lot to benefit from its advances.”

Sentient has been deploying AI to intelligently improve business, using historical data to make better decisions going forward.

Duffy cites the case of AlphaGo, the first computer program to beat a professional player at a game of Go.

It triumphed 4-1 over Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol earlier this year.

“AI can very quickly learn the rules of the game to defeat even seasoned grandmasters, which is not dissimilar to learning the rules of trading,” he says.

“The problems are similar in that there’s no ‘perfect stock trader’ or ‘perfect Go player’.

“There are, however, more perfect ways to interact with a changing environment like the market or a competitive Go game.”

Dr Jack Kreindler told BusinessCloud recently how AI can revolutionise healthcare, such as in early screening for cancer

But how do you use AI to improve your business?

Canadian online retailer Shoes.com thinks it knows how after teaming up with Sentient to use artificial intelligence to help shoppers find their perfect pair of boots.

Duffy explains: “This is similar to how a shopping assistant in a store brings a selection of shoes that you point to on a shelf and then guesses what your style is based on these choices to provide additional suggestions; our AI can do the same by having you simply click on a grid of images of shoes.

“This allows consumers to get to shoes they perhaps didn’t know they wanted or know how to describe, and allows the retailer to surface more of their inventory online that may otherwise go unseen.

“It’s one of the ways we see AI revolutionizing the retail industry.”

 

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