Over the last few months, the conversation around AI has reached a fever pitch of intensity. In conference rooms and lecture halls, trade publications and the mainstream press, the message is the same: AI is about to change everything—and fast.

Is this true? Maybe. But there’s a sense in which the conversation around AI has outpaced its reality. In fact, the grand promises being made on behalf of AI might be obscuring the equally incredible, if less spectacular, things it’s doing already.

Unlocking your phone with Face ID? That’s AI. Autocomplete on iMessage? That’s AI, too. Siri, Alexa, and practically every other voice assistant on the market—yep, you guessed it. The point here is that AI isn’t some buzzy flash in the pan destined for obsolescence. AI has been around for a long time now, and it’s here to stay.

Granted, some of the uses to which AI might currently be used may not be eye-poppingly futuristic, and they may still take a backseat to the hard work of actual humans, but they’re demonstrating in real-time the reasons AI really matters for businesses.

AI Aids in Content Creation

There may come a time when AI can effortlessly generate compelling, thought-provoking content without the need for human intervention. Putting aside whether such a future is desirable, the fact remains: that day is not coming anytime soon.

Rather, what large language models like ChatGPT excel at is making the hard work of writing easier. It’s not going to generate a usable email or blog post from scratch, but it can minimize some of the busy work that typically attends the writing process and give your creative side more room to breathe.

Take emails. Nine times out of ten, emails are a functional medium, as opposed to a creative one: usually, you’re just trying to communicate straightforwardly. With AI, you can dump your unorganized thoughts into the prompt box and end up with a more or less coherent email. Of course, you wouldn’t want to send that email—you need to go through it line by line, make it sound like yourself. But working with something tangible is always easier than starting from scratch.

The same applies to copy and content, both for text and visuals. AI isn’t going to do the job for you, but it can be valuable when generating concepts or rough-draft texts for social posts, product descriptions, etc. AI can’t promise a world where you don’t have to write, but it can promise a world where writer’s block is much less of a problem.

Keeping Up with Consumer/Customer Expectations

Here’s an ironclad rule of business: once customers get used to a certain kind of convenience, they expect it from every business.

Customers expect to be able to order anything online, to have the option of rapid delivery. Increasingly, through the gradual adoption of AI, they expect businesses to anticipate their needs and be readily available to troubleshoot if and when they have questions or concerns.

AI-enhanced bots are rapidly becoming de rigueur for businesses of every stripe. Customers, once trained to accept being put on hold for 20 or 30 minutes, are reshuffling their expectations. They expect near-instant assistance and are getting it. Businesses that drag their feet on AI implementation risk alienating this new class of consumers. The same applies to things like recommendations, personalized shopping experiences, etc.

Customer service representatives, in this sense, are in the same position as content creators: AI is there to facilitate their work. On a call with a customer, they can pull up information quickly and work to solve the problem faster, benefiting both the company and the customer.

AI Enhances Systems & Processes

Businesses are drowning in customer data, and with each passing minute, that repository grows. Every time someone interacts with a company’s social platforms, VR environments, e-commerce operations, etc., some quantity of data is generated. In aggregate, the scope of this data is far too large for even a dedicated team of data analysts. Buried within this ocean of information, though, are crucial insights about how customers interact with products, what’s working and what isn’t, about strengths and areas for improvement.

And yet, according to some statistics, the vast majority of data goes completely unused. AI-enhanced CRM stands to change all that. Now, vast stores of data can be ingested quickly and synthesized, providing actionable insights to help businesses navigate each customer journey. AI can quickly, dispassionately answer the most pressing questions, and it can also pose (and answer) questions businesses might not even have thought about. Crucially, these insights can also account for variables not directly embedded in a company’s data, like economic conditions and fluctuating marketplace tastes.

The use cases here are endless. Obviously, one could reasonably expect accurate sales forecasts, better and more efficient customer relationships, and more targeted marketing campaigns. But AI can even help with things like inventory, for instance, tracking the optimal time to buy materials in bulk based on pricing history.

AI As A Servant, Not A Master

In all these cases, the human element isn’t being displaced. Rather, AI is allowing human workers to spend more time applying their ingenuity to fixing problems instead of sitting around trying to figure out what’s going wrong in the first place.

Of course, the output depends strongly on the input. If you feed an algorithm shoddy or low-quality data, you can expect to get shoddy or low-quality results. The same applies to the algorithm itself: only a quality algorithm can yield quality insights. In fact, we can zoom out and say the same about people using the algorithms: ultimately, AI is only as intelligent as the people utilizing it. It’s a tool, and you must learn how to maximize its value. It may not automate your business overnight—at least not yet—but, used wisely, it can make a real difference.

About the Author

Nik Froelich is the CEO and Founder of Saritasa. His passion for technology and the incredible enhancements it brings to our lives inspired him to start Saritasa back in 2005, recognizing businesses are often afraid to adopt new technologies and seeking a way to bridge the gap between innovation and business.

Sign up for the free insideBIGDATA newsletter.

Join us on Twitter: 

Join us on LinkedIn: 

Join us on Facebook: