A digital rendering of AI inputs and outputs.

Why You Need to Know How Your AI Works

Most businesses these days employ some form of AI. Whether it is when orders come in or perhaps a robot that answers messages on your website. 

No matter what it is that your AI does, as a business owner, you should know how it works. 

Wondering why? Read on to find out why you need to know how your AI works. 

What is AI?

AI stands for artificial intelligence and refers to computers or robots which are programmed to perform a task. While you may think of AI as a robot that walks around and talks like a human, the term is really used to describe any computer that can learn on its own.

For example, if your company uses a program to analyze data and then base product orders on data, this is an AI device. Siri is another common AI device that most people carry around in their pockets without realizing it. 

AI is everywhere, and whether you realize it or not, you use some form of AI in your everyday business, and it’s time for you to learn (or at least have a basic understanding) of how it works. 

How is AI Involved in Business?

Are you having a hard time knowing what in your business is AI? Below are some examples of common AI devices you may use on a daily basis. 

  • Siri
  • Alexa
  • Google 
  • Self-driving vehicles (Tesla)
  • Automated tax preparation software
  • Automated data analysis software
  • Roomba
  • Face detection technology
  • Grammarly
  • Social media algorithms
  • Chatbots
  • Recommendation systems
  • Smart thermostats

All of the above are examples of common AI in your everyday work life, but it is likely that you have even more AI involved in your business, and you just don’t notice it. 

AI is involved in any process in your building in which a machine learns more than one task. For example, a vacuum device that is on all the time is not AI. But a Roomba, which vacuums while learning the layout of your office, which it maps in its hard drive, is AI.

Why is AI Important?

AI is transforming the work world. At this point, even if you don’t believe in AI, businesses are forced to adopt it in order to increase productivity and boost profits. There just aren’t businesses that run without it anymore. 

That being said, AI is critical for the workplace. It automates small and mindless tasks in favor of letting the humans complete the larger picture items. Not only does this increase productivity, but it allows business managers to hire fewer employees than before. 

AI also makes it easier for employees to work from where they please, as they no longer need to physically be in an office to answer phones. Instead, call forwarding and automatically programmed AI chatbots to make it easy to work from home. 

While this may not seem like a big deal, as workers transition to wanting to work from home, companies are having a harder and harder time finding employees who want to spend 40 hours each week in the office. Using AI to allow an employee to work from home can be a game changer when it comes to employee retention

AI is critical to keeping your company relevant and in business, as many people use social media to find customers. Without these platforms, it would be difficult to advertise since most traditional routes of advertisements, like newspapers, are defunct. 

A digital train is loaded on the tracks but all the tracks are damaged.
AI is important to the future success of a business.

Why You Need to Know How Your AI Works

Now that you realize that AI is important, take a look at some of the reasons why you need to know how your AI works. 

1. To Market Effectively

As mentioned above, AI plays a huge part in marketing. Although the AI behind Instagram or Twitter may not be unique to your business, learning how it works can help get you to the top of someone’s feed. 

If you don’t know how these AI bots work, you may just be posting for your own personal benefit, not actually gaining customers. It’s also important to recognize what parts of the algorithm could get you banned, even if you aren’t violating the platform’s terms of service. 

Once you better understand the AI on social media, you will be able to market much more effectively, and this isn’t just the case for social media. Knowing how to use data analysis bots can help you market effectively in other areas as well. 

2. You Can Maximize the Benefits

Almost all AI devices are time savers, but if you don’t know how and why they are able to save you time, then you may not be using them efficiently. 

Think of it this way, you have a bot that replies when someone makes an inquiry on your site, or on your company’s Facebook/Instagram account. But did you know that you can further program this bot to direct customers to exact sections on your site? You can even have the bot close out spam conversations. 

While you were originally saving time with a bot, taking time to know how your bot worked would actually save you more time in this case, as you could’ve given it way more tasks than you gave it, to begin with. 

3. You Can Replace It

AI technology is here to stay, but the type of technology implemented will change over the years. Therefore a bot that may address your needs now will need to be replaced with a more advanced one in the future. 

This may seem like a given, but if you have to hook up a new AI device one day and have no idea how your previous one worked, this could make it a huge hassle to switch over. You may additionally lose data, time, and customers in the transition. 

When you know how your AI works, you can look for a replacement that is similar that will have less of an impact on your business. Plus, chances are there will be a data transfer feature included in most new AI devices, meaning you can be ready to go with the new device in no time at all. 

4. In Case it Breaks

Sometimes devices break, and while it’s unfortunate, there is no way to stop this from happening. Thus you need to take the time to learn how your AI works in case it breaks. 

This isn’t the case because you need to repair the AI, but because you need to be able to function without it for a few days or weeks while it is repaired by the appropriate party. For example, if you use AI to order inventory, this could be disastrous if you don’t know how to do inventory without it. 

Not to mention that knowing how your AI works can help you troubleshoot because sometimes you can save yourself the repair call, as turning your AI off and back on again is all you need to get it back on track. It may also just need something simple, like an update, that you can download and run yourself, again saving you time and money. 

5. You Can Cut More Costs

While a certain AI device may be programmed for a particular task, you never know when it might be able to do something more. 

Say you have a bot that replies instantly, a single time, to customers on Instagram and asks them to be patient, and someone will be right with them. If you know how this AI works, you can eliminate that someone and have the customer speak to a bot. 

Of course, there may be some people a bot can’t help, but it’s likely they are few and far between, allowing you to let go of the employee previously answering these messages as you can probably now do it yourself. Or, you can keep the employee but direct their time elsewhere as their workload will be significantly reduced.  

Either way, knowing how your AI works will help you to trim costs elsewhere or allow other employees to take on new positions saving your business money. 

6. You Will Know When Something is Off

It is unlikely that there will be some sort of robot revolution you need to worry about anytime in the near future, but there is a possibility there could be a flaw in your AI, and it could go undetected for years. 

Flaws, called bugs in the tech world, happen sometimes, even in complicated software provided by Google. You should expect that there might be a flaw here and there in your AI, and keep an eye out for it.

If you have no idea how your AI works, this could be problematic, and you may miss a flaw in the early stages, causing it to become a larger problem. An example of this would be an AI device that sorts data. 

While it may be initially set up to sort all the data you’ve ever come in contact with, over the years, a new data point might come about. Your AI may not know what to do with it and may file it incorrectly. 

If you don’t know to check your AI for this issue every now and then, you could check 10 years down the road to find a pile of data points that never made it in your report. This could be a big deal and could cost your company a significant amount of money. 

7. You Will Be Able to Train Others

AI used in social media platforms and other similar AI is widespread and well known, meaning you likely won’t have to teach a new employee how to post a photo on social media. 

But some programs, like data analysis bots, are specific to your company. They may have been set up by a current employee who monitors them regularly and knows how it works, but what happens when that employee retires? 

You need to know how your AI works so you can teach someone else to use it. Even if you don’t plan to do so, at least know how it works so you can hire someone to teach your new employee to use it. 

Don’t always bank on asking a current employee to train a future employee, as you never know what tomorrow may bring. Your current employee may leave suddenly or on a bad note, leaving you to scramble to fill their position without being able to explain the AI to a new hire. 

A man wears headphones and looks at a laptop screen.
There are numerous ways to learn about your AI devices. 

How to Learn About Your AI

You’ve realized how important it is to learn about your AI, and you are ready to do so, but how do you start?

The best way to learn about AI is to spend some time with the employee who is currently interacting with it. If you have a social media manager, take her out to lunch one day and ask her how the algorithm works. 

If the AI is something you’ve paid to have installed, or perhaps a software you pay to use each month, take a bit of time to look into what it does and all of its features. Heading to the website can be a huge help, or even contacting their customer service for a guide to their software can go a long way towards helping you understand it. 

There are additionally YouTube videos that can walk you through most AI programs on the market. You can also hire someone to teach you about the software, something which is usually well worth it in the long run. 

Ready to Learn How Your AI Works?

Overall, learning about your company’s various AI programs is critical to the success of your company. Whether you use something simple like social media, or something more complex like data analysis software, learning about your AI can go a long way toward keeping your business running. 

Thinking about hiring someone to help you learn about your company’s AI? Read this article on how you can lead a successful video interview.  

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