What does AI mean to you? If you’re a movie buff, it probably calls to a mind a future dominated by robots, ranging from the dystopian to the Speilbergian. And perhaps it’s these cinematic fantasies that lead to so much fear: According to a Pew survey, 72% of Americans are worried about robots and computers that are capable of performing human jobs.

Surely news headlines are also responsible for provoking our anxieties: driverless cars are killing pedestrians, automated assembly lines are putting people out of work, etc.

The broad reality, thankfully, is far less terrifying. Businesses across the country use AI to increase efficiencies, reduce errors and better serve customers. According to a study from Boston Consulting Group and MIT Sloan Management Review, 72% of those in the technology, media and telecommunications industries expect AI to have a major impact on product offerings over the next five years. Sixty-one percent of organizations across industries believe developing an AI strategy is urgent.

Today’s AI

More than likely, you’re already using AI in your everyday life. Have you ever asked Siri a question? Accepted a photo tagging suggestion on social media? These are just a few small examples of the ways that major players like Apple and Facebook are deploying artificial intelligence.

As Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee cover in an article for Harvard Business Review, in-practice uses of AI are as varied as the companies responsible for them:

  • Google’s DeepMind team has used machine learning — a subset of AI — to cool data centers more efficiently.
  • Amazon relies on machine learning to give customers personalized product recommendations.
  • JPMorgan Chase created an AI system that reviews commercial loan contracts in a fraction of the time it would normally take.

Far from the nightmarish visions created by Hollywood, these technologies are actively making people’s lives easier. Speaking of which, there’s another AI innovation we’d be remiss not to mention: Salesforce Einstein.

Salesforce Einstein

As Salesforce puts it, Einstein is “a layer of artificial intelligence that delivers predictions and recommendations based on your unique business processes and customer data.”

In practical terms, that means Salesforce can do things like:

  • Prioritize the opportunities that are most likely to convert based on past deals
  • Predict consumer engagement with email and web campaigns
  • Recommend relevant, needed resources, including experts, groups and content

And a whole lot more.

These features allow sales, marketing and customer service teams to perform better — and better serve their customers. According to Fortune, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff believes so strongly in the value of his company’s AI offering that he even relies on the advice of Einstein during senior staff meetings.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence

Experts suggest that artificial intelligence is a technology that will one day be thought of as equally revolutionary and important as the combustion engine. Still, the Boston Consulting Group and MIT Sloan Management Review study tells us that only 23% of respondents have incorporated AI into their companies’ products and offerings.

If you want to be an AI early adopter, Salesforce Einstein could be a great place to start. And if your company isn’t already using Salesforce, here’s a webinar you might want to watch:

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