Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Ideas once relegated to futuristic novels and action movies are now real, and concrete data science disciplines are making an enormous impact across the landscapes of business and technology.
And though many organizations are interested in leveraging AI and machine learning, very few are actually doing it. In MIT Sloan Management Review’s 2017 Artificial Intelligence Global Executive Study and Research Project, researchers found that of the 85% of executives who believe AI would help them establish or maintain a competitive advantage, only 20% are incorporating it into their business.
So, where’s the disconnect? One of the biggest barriers to wider usage is that AI and machine learning require some subtle and counterintuitive mindset shifts that can be difficult for many executives to make. This is particularly the case if their outlooks are grounded in a more traditional way of thinking about business intelligence. Fortunately, new perspectives are always possible. Here are five fundamental changes that can prepare your organization to leverage AI for a competitive advantage:
1. Give Bad Data A Big Hug
Whether they’re business leaders or IT architects, many managers believe they can’t make progress with AI until their data issues are fixed, but the reality is that every business has bad data. Data science techniques are commonly used to clean and connect data very efficiently, without the need for costly tools. Once connected, predictive models can glean value from even low-quality data since leveraging a large volume of data can partially compensate for of its lack of quality. Will it make the data perfect? No, but it can allow you to develop solutions that help you make better decisions faster.
2. Think Like Elon Musk
Managers accustomed to a more traditional perspective often think of analytics as a path to making a small, incremental improvement to a messy existing business process. For example, a manager may believe that a predictive insight added to a report will be useful in dealing with a complex workflow. That may be true, but it’s better to think bigger. Can the entire workflow be intelligently automated so that the reports in question are no longer needed? Thinking big — the way Elon Musk does — can put you in the right mindset to leverage the full potential of AI and save massive amounts of time and effort.