Why are we excited about AI?

There's a growing excitement around AI – and with good reason. We're excited, but not without some concerns. Lee shares all.
Written by
Lee Conlin
Published on
March 19, 2024
Why are we excited about AI?

The digital age has undoubtedly brought us a plethora of intriguing innovations, the most captivating of which may well be Artificial Intelligence (AI).    

There's a growing excitement around AI – and with reason. The UK government has found that 1 in 6 UK companies have already embraced at least one AI technology. Its potential applications are vast and revolutionary, especially for digital product development.

Yet, there's an irony here: AI, the topic of so much thrill and speculation, is often misunderstood. Let's clear this up first.

Unravelling AI: a world beyond chatbots

If you asked anyone on the street "What is AI?" you'd probably hear many references to Chat-GPT or chatbots in some form or another. Indeed, according to a Forbes Advisor poll, 85% of Brits are now aware of AI language models as a concept.

But AI is much more than this. AI chatbots represent only the tip of an intimidating, magnificent iceberg.

Let's dive deeper.

The terms "Artificial Intelligence" and "AI" encompass a mind-boggling array of different machine learning techniques and algorithms all working towards creating systems that can learn, adapt and potentially act independently. Their promise? Greater productivity and efficiency across a myriad of sectors.

Why AI matters: unlocking productivity

While many people see AI as a threat to their livelihood, I prefer viewing AI as a tool for increased human productivity. For me, that’s where the real value lies.

AI could potentially automate routine tasks, freeing up humans to deal with the more enjoyable or complex tasks, or those requiring true creativity.  

In fact, here at Distinction we have implemented an AI tool to help our team create and estimate User Stories and Tasks on projects – and its proven very effective at reducing the time taken creating project backlogs.

For digital products, this might translate to cost-effective, efficient production and, importantly, more space for creativity.

In addition, AI’s ability to process and segment vast amounts of data in near-real-time can transform decision-making processes, make predictions, optimise operations and challenge business models. These insights can drive digital product development to heights previously unattainable.

The ethics of AI

My major concern surrounding the ethics of AI is not that it has been created in the first place, but how to remove human bias from it. Bias in inherent in most AI systems as they rely on human-created information to ‘feed’ them.

Some of the early AI bots, such as Microsoft’s “Tay” AI bot, either contained inherent bias or were abused by the public to such an extent that they gained bias.

Since then, many organisations that are developing deep learning AI models have agreed to implement pre-processing of training data. This is designed to remove bias and undesirable content from the data used to create the AI model. It also provides for strict policies governing their use.

My AI fears and concerns

Even with these new processes and policies in place, there is still a great deal of fear surrounding the use of AI.

For some, this is a fear of what AI might be used for. Even with procedures and policies in place, unscrupulous individuals or organisations could use AI for nefarious purposes.

I believe that any technology can be misused, and we’ve seen this many times throughout history. Take nuclear energy for example.

As with anything, it’s not the technology that we fear, but rather the human capacity to misuse it.

For others the fear is that AI might take jobs away from humans. We’ve seen this before too. Consider the manufacturing automation and robotics industry. Many people feared they would lose their jobs to robots. That did happen in some cases, but in many more the jobs transitioned into something new.

Ultimately, we can’t let fear of the unknown prevent us from moving forward and embracing a new technology that, in the long term, has the potential to improve the lives of humans.

Harnessing AI for Digital Success

AI's potential to refine user interfaces shows incredible promise. Combining user experience and AI can lead to context-aware and predictive interfaces that adapt and respond to the user’s behaviour - crucial for enhancing both the functionality and appeal of digital products.

A great example of this is the Nest smart thermostat. It uses weather data and user habits to determine the most efficient heating or cooling schedule for home heating and air-conditioning systems.

Similarly, AI can power a dynamic shift in content creation, curation, and consumption. It’s no longer just about recommending content based on previous behaviours. AI has the potential   to personalise user experience at unprecedented scales, paving way for tailor-made digital products that cater to individual preferences.

A number of content management systems are beginning to implement AI tools both for the creation of content, and for the selection of content tailored to individual consumers. For example, Xperience by Kentico uses Azure’s OpenAI services to help content editors create content.

Services like Recombee and Google’s Vertex AI provide high quality content recommendations for website visitors.

AI’s role in data analytics is also invaluable. No human can possibly process the volumes of data generated by today's digital products and platforms. AI, however, does it efficiently, aligning this data to discernible patterns and actionable insights - vital for digital product innovation.

In fintech, AI could provide deeper risk analysis for insurance or lending. In research, AI could be used to evaluate huge amounts of experiment data quickly.

Looking ahead: the future of AI in digital products

AI’s impact on the development, distribution, and use of digital products is indisputable.

In the realm of digital products, AI offers exciting prospects. The journey so far has been exhilarating, but the true potential of AI is still to be unleashed.

For those of us at the forefront of digital innovation, it's an exciting time.

With AI in our toolkit, we are rewriting the rules and pioneering unprecedented levels of personalisation, productivity, and performance.

In summary

If you're a business leader, a key decision-maker, or a head of IT looking to harness the power and potential of AI, now is the time.

Expanding your understanding of AI's role in digital product creation can open exciting new fronts to explore. It's your chance to leverage our collective excitement to create more adaptive, more innovative, and more efficient digital products.

Harness AI’s potential to revolutionise your digital landscape. Secure your digital future.

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