Amazon’s much anticipated launch into supermarket retailing is set to open, with the first store in Seattle already available to Amazon employees. Although its arrival has been expected, what is surprising many is the way in which Amazon is launching it.
The new format includes no checkouts. Smart phone technology will recognize the items the shopper is leaving with and charge them automatically. According to Amazon, the technology being used will combine computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning developments. In short, artificial intelligence.
Mention the term artificial intelligence to the average person and images of robotic housemaids and Space Odyssey spring to mind. Science fiction has long paved the way for the arrival of artificial intelligence in our lives, yet the reality seems to have been slow in coming.
But this isn’t necessarily true. The reason most people, including business decision makers, don’t see AI as a key part of our world yet is because it has been represented in a way that is different to how the novels and movies believed it would arrive.
Artificial intelligence is, in fact, all around us in many ways (think Siri if you have an iPhone), and it is at the heart of many of the new developments becoming mainstream in the next five years, such as self-driving cars and smart highways. Large online retailers such as eBay and Amazon use artificial intelligence to make product suggestions based on items you have previously viewed or purchased.
Put simply, artificial intelligence differs from normal computer processing in the ability of the machine to learn from the data it gathers. Standard software can complete computations presented to it but only to the extent to which it has been programmed. Artificial intelligence, much like humans, has the ability to learn from the very data that it processes, and to refine its behavior based on this data over time.
Take AppZen’s latest business software; ituses patented visual software to recognize text and logos in receipts being processed for payment and checking them against online information to verify the information. Where this also differs from normal computer processing is the ability for ReceiptIQ to learn new information, texts, and logos, as it progresses, and to constantly build the database of information it's able to cross-reference. The result is a self-learning auditing system that can understand more and more of what it encounters.
If you believe AI is still in the future you are missing a unique opportunity to harness the power of programs such as AppZen to not only complete mundane routine work previously done by people, but to investigate and process in far greater depth than a company’s resources were ever able to handle before. This is particularly vital in the area of compliance. For those who fear that artificial intelligence will lead to a loss of jobs, it’s important to understand that AI will in fact enable us to complete jobs that were previously unable to be performed, or certainly not to the extent they can be completed now. Audit is a case in point, where random checks can be replaced with AI systems capable of reviewing, in real-time, 100% of expenses submitted for reimbursement.
AI takes on many forms in our everyday life. For the modern corporation to ignore the benefits it can offer is to risk falling behind the competition in areas crucial to continuing profitability. AI can transform your business and needs to be a priority.