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The thought of handing important parts of your business over to artificial intelligence can seem rather scary and alarming, but many businesses are discovering that it's not as challenging as they first believed. In fact, A.I. technology is allowing thousands of businesses to save the one thing they can't get back: time.

The growth and opportunities of A.I. technology

When people look back at the span of time between 2015 and 2020, they'll likely recognize this window as an important catalyst in the technological revolution that bred powerful applications that would transform life for years to come. At the heart of this revolution is A.I. And while products of A.I. are finally coming to fruition, it's not exactly a brand-new idea.

"While artificial intelligence has made significant advances in recent years, its inception goes back more than six decades," tech expert Prableen Bajpal points out. "Put simply, 'Artificial intelligence is the activity devoted to making machines intelligent, and intelligence is that quality which enables an entity to function appropriately with foresight in its environment.'"

As time has passed, the interaction between people and machines has become much smoother and more widely accepted. But as Bajpal notes, we're only at the starting line. "While the applications based on A.I. are already visible in healthcare diagnostics, targeted treatment, transportation, public safety, service robots, education and entertainment, it will inevitably gain prominence in other fields in the years ahead," she believes.

The industries that rely upon A.I. are vast, but in almost every case, the individuals and organizations using the technology are focused on one common goal: saving time. Sure, there are plenty of other benefits and applications, but eliminating the need for time-consuming manual input is the underlying focus.

3 ways businesses are saving time with A.I.

From a business perspective, understanding how other organizations and industries are using A.I. to save time can be a worthwhile pursuit. Let's take a look:

1. SMS for reminders

For service industry professionals, there's nothing more frustrating than a client missing an appointment. Sometimes they forget and other times they cancel without warning. Regardless of the cause, missed appointments (or late ones, for that matter) are costly and annoying. But so is constantly reminding clients. For a service professional to send out regular appointment reminders, they either have to spend their own precious time making phone calls or pay someone else to do it.

This is where A.I. comes to the rescue. Take a physician's office as an example. Many physicians are using A.I.-powered SMS platforms that automatically send text messages to patients to remind them of upcoming appointments. This saves time, decreases no-shows and ultimately enhances the bottom line.

2. Email management

Email -- it's a necessary evil in today's business world. You need it to communicate with people, but it can eat up hours of your time. Thankfully, many leading email platforms are infusing A.I. features into their systems to streamline email management.

Gmail is leading this charge by offering a feature that scans your email and suggests a number of reply options based on specific prompts found in the sender's message and language you've used in the past. For example, let's say a coworker sends you a message that asks, "Do you have any information on that new client we picked up yesterday?" Gmail would show you three responses at the bottom of your screen that read: "I don't, sorry," "Let me check and get back to you" and "Yes, I'll send it over."

3. Personal assistants

Having an assistant is great, but most people can't afford to pay someone to handle their administrative work full-time. This is where A.I.-powered personal assistants come into play. Siri is the best example, but you'll notice that new bots are emerging and that the technology is getting better. Pretty soon, you'll see every business professional using a bot for tasks that once required manual input.

The future of A.I. and business

If you want to understand the future of A.I., you don't have to look very far. We're in the midst of an A.I. era and speculation regarding the future is all around us. Just consider the following data points as collected by Andrew Tonner of The Motley Fool:

  • By 2020, it's estimated that A.I. bots will power 85% of all customer service interactions.
  • By as early as 2018, many digital assistants will be able to mimic human conversations, both in how they speak and how they listen. 
  • Roughly 20% of all business content will come from A.I. as soon as 2018.

This small snapshot gives us just a small taste of what experts believe the future holds. And while these data points are nothing more than educated projections, it's clear that A.I. is already playing a vital role in helping businesses save time and streamline processes. We can only imagine what's coming next.

 

This article was written by Larry Alton from Computerworld and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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