Artificial Intelligence in Technologies: What to Choose For Your Business – IBM Watson, Google, Microsoft, or Amazon?

You may be a VP of Engineering, Chief Marketing Officer, CTO, or Chief of Innovations, and wondering if artificial intelligence software is right for your business. The truth is, it’s one of the fastest growing niches in technology and within in the next five years, over half of all businesses will have integrated it into their system. Artificial Intelligence technology helps businesses in a number of ways – from predicting customer habits that save you money to analyzing medical scans with a superhuman eye. Business automation is invaluable and saves you time and resources while helping you deliver a better product.

According to a Narrative Science survey, 38% of businesses already use AI and by 2018, they’re predicting that number to rise to 62%. Do you want to be left behind? Probably not, but there’s a lot of AI software solutions to choose from, so finding one that works for you might seem a bit overwhelming. Regardless of your field – whether you’re in the ecommerce or financial space or want to pave the way in the healthcare industry – you’ll likely choose from IBM Watson, Google, Microsoft or Amazon. Each one is a little different and one may suit your business better than the other.

Artificial Intelligence for Healthcare

Recommendation: IBM Watson
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IBM is a leader when it comes to developing AI that can advance the medical field. Their system Watson can expertly interpret data – including unstructured text, images, audio and video. The technology also helps businesses automate personalized recommendations (think: Netflix’s movie suggestions, but really, what A.I. doesn’t do this?). Where it excels is in understanding a person’s personality, tone and emotion.
IBM’s main draw is how it benefits the healthcare industry in the following ways:

  • Advanced medical imaging analysis
  • Early detection of various disorders
  • Hyperimaging that traces diseases at a nanoscale

I outlined the details below. Though, to apply IBM Watson innovation to your business and create your own market leading solutions, you have a whole portal IBM Watson Health with APIs, SDKs, and complete solutions. I highly recommend you to read it all and at least map out solutions you like, and may potentially use in your business. Once you’ve done that, you can make your first steps. I shared how to do that at the end of the article, read on.

In 2015, IBM bought Merge Healthcare for $1 billion. This gave them access to 30 billion medical images from over 7,500 hospitals and clinics in the U.S. that they used to ramp up Watson’s knowledge base. For this reason alone, IBM can expertly interpret images and spot something a doctor may miss. Pair this with Watson’s deep learning capability, which allows the software to spot patterns in large amounts of data to predict things like rare forms of childhood diseases and how a cancer will spread before it happens.

IBM isn’t just focusing on imaging, though that’s their main draw the moment. The company also believes that in five years, their cognitive systems will be able to analyze our speech and find tell-tale signs of developmental disorders, mental illness and neurological diseases to help doctors predict problems before they happen. They believe A.I. will be able to trace diseases at a nanoscale. In addition to groundbreaking medical advancements, IBM’s AI can give us better eyes! Hyperimaging technology combined with A.I. could help us see beyond the spectrum of visible light. This can reveal potential dangers that are hidden from our every day, average (and often bespectacled) human view (which we’re all going to need if we’re riding in self-driving cars, anyway). This type of technology is already used in medical imaging and airport security scanners, but IBM hopes to launch a personal, affordable system that the average consumer can own within the next five years.

Artificial Intelligence For Ecommerce

Recommendation: Amazon
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Artificial Intelligence software offers businesses in the ecommerce realm loads of invaluable benefits. While any of the major AI players will surely benefit your business, but Amazon stick out as the ones to watch.. A.I. can benefit your ecommerce business with business automation in a number ways including:

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  • Sales predictions
  • Price management
  • Recommendations and promotions

Amazon has bunch of different solutions when it comes to implementing their machine learning software. They detail their offerings in their AWS portal (and outline the ways they can help your business cash in, too!). Once you’ve read up, check the end of the article on how to get started.

Amazon’s immense access to shopping and ecommerce data has made their machine learning some of the best. Perhaps the most valuable is making smart predictions about what a consumer wants which leads to increased sales and increased profits. Ever wonder how Amazon’s ads always seem to be about things you so desperately need? That’s A.I. at its finest. They also can help predict losses –  from choosing how much stock to carry to alerting you if you should put something on sale. A.I. also has the ability to help you determine the best prices for products – that sweet spot that’s just competitive enough to make people want to buy from you but leave you with a good profit.

If you’re a beginner, Amazon’s machine learning technology focuses on the average developer. It’s not necessary to be a code wizard – the company touts that developers of all skill levels can utilize their technology with visualization tools and “wizards” (think AI teaching you AI) to guide you through the process without requiring you to learn difficult machine learning algorithms. Their software uses these artificial intelligence algorithms to find patterns in your existing data and generate predictions for your app (which is typical for all A.I. software and the most basic function of the lot). It’s also pay as you go, and there’s no upfront investment making it a great option for new developers who want to test the waters or need to start small because of financial constraints.

Artificial Intelligence For Customer Service

Recommendation: Microsoft
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Artificial Intelligence is changing the face of customer service and could save you tons of money in the future. Many A.I. systems are developing such strong language skills that you can forgo a human customer service rep all together and have you’re A.I. handle customer concerns. Here’s how A.I. helps:

  • Customer service automation
  • Language translation for international consumers

Automating customer service is a really valuable resource, and Microsoft outlines the whole process on their blog (an interesting read for anyone looking to build a chatbot). Once you decide on the route you want to go, I’ve outlined how to get started at the end of the article.

Microsoft is a leading player when it comes to this, minus a couple hiccups. The company recently forayed into the idea of A.I. chatbots and got some major flack when their new bot Tay.ai began spewing racist, hate-filled comments (though to be totally fair, A.I. learns from humans which are often terribly racist and filled with hate, so is it the technology’s fault or the fault of its teacher?). Zo, Microsoft’s most recent chatbot, seems to have skirted the racism and functioned properly.

Much like Google, Microsoft has access to a wide arrange of data from their search engine Bing (now, I don’t actually know anyone who uses Bing, but apparently people do). They’re using this info to help enable computers to understand what they see, communicate in natural language and answer complex questions (hello, robot customer service rep that no one even realizes is a robot!). Their major focus is similar to that of Google – machine learning, human language technology, and perception and sensing (which can be particularly useful in self-driving cars and also benefit the medical field with hyperimaging).

Though Google may be major competition, it doesn’t come as close with live, real-time voice translation. Microsoft’s Skype translator will help you real-time translate voice calls and video calls which is groundbreaking. They’ve also got Cortana, Microsoft’s version of a personal assistant, that for some reason seems to have skirted much of the hype of is competition, though its level of personalization remains unmatched. If you ever needed something to help you organize your office Cortana (or Amazon’s Alexa) seem to be the stars.

Artificial Intelligence For Finance

Recommendation: Amazon, Google

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Machine learning is invaluable when it comes to the finance field. I’d have lumped this in with ecommerce, but it seemed so immensely important it deserved its own category. Financial matters are nothing to mess with and before you find your business subject to $3,000 of fake Air BNB charges (yes that happened to me), A.I. could be your savior.

  • Fraud Detection
  • Prediction of financial trends

Google has outlined an amazing amount of ways their AI can help your business grow. The amount of info available may seem overwhelming (they can do so much for you!) but it’s actually pretty exciting when you think about things your business can achieve with a little bit of forecasting.

Amazon and Google are key players when it comes to this because of all of the shopping data they have access to through Amazon’s and Google’s marketplaces. In the past, amazon has worked with companies like Fraud.net, who use Amazon Machine Learning to discover fraud patterns, and Upserve, who use the technology to predict how many patrons will walk through a restaurant’s door.

Artificial Intelligence For Different Fields

Recommendation: Google
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Google is widely renowned as the leader of A.I. The company is constantly acquiring new startups that use their A.I. data in different ways and most recently announced they’re bringing their technology to another outlet — Raspberry Pi (the popular micro-computers). Google may seem like they’re spreading themselves thin but they’ve got a massive team exploring every single aspect of machine learning – from speech recognition and machine-driven translation to natural language recognition and understanding of the human speech. The company has made leaps and bounds when it comes to A.I. understanding human speech (they overhauled Google Translate so much it basically reads like it was written by a human who speaks various languages fluently) and they’re planning to ramp up their visual processing capabilities with Google Brain and DeepMind. They’ve already made massive advancements with DeepDream, a computer vision program that uses a convolutional neural network to find and enhance patterns in images. Some of us might recognize this as a reverse Google image search, but it’s so, so much more than that (and can even, in a really freaky way, actually dream).

Google, by far, has the best A.I. strategy because it can process tons of search engine queries in real time. It has access to data from Android, YouTube and Gmail in addition to just their search engine which makes it sort of feel like Google has open access to our actual minds – how we think and what we’re thinking. This is invaluable when it comes to teaching and training A.I. and their technology will only get better with time (if you don’t believe me, check out some of their recent A.I. experiments which include everything from handwriting and drawing recognition to sound recognition).

In addition, Google isn’t just focusing on large companies; they’re hoping to help the individual consumer. Pixel, Google’s answer to Amazon’s Echo, is significantly smarter than its competitors (i.e. Alexa and Siri) because of the vast amount of search engine data the company has.

How To Integrate Artificial Intelligence Into Your Business

Implementing A.I. and business automation solutions into your already existing business can be a headache or it can be easy. There are a number of ways you can go about it – some are a longer more costly way and others are easy as Raspberry Pi. You can:

  • Invest millions in data scientists and hire costly inhouse engineers
  • Spend hours and hours researching everything yourself – and hope you get it right
  • Find experts who are already working on these solutions and helping other companies to automate their businesses using AI.

 

Conclusion

Artificial Intelligence is here to stay. I’ve done my best to cover all the different ways you can apply it to your specific business, but in a field that is constantly growing daily, we don’t even know the amazing business solutions we could gain down the road. All I do know is that it’s better to be an early adopter than left behind – especially when your company’s future is at stake.