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The Convergence of AI and Business: Why does it matter to you? / By: Ethan McHugh

Until about 10 years ago, analog business dominated the economy. However, through Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), rapid shifts in the business world are occuring. Ultimately, understanding how AI and ML impact business is a great addition to your business acumen.

AI is the simulation of human intelligence by machines while machine learning, a subsection of AI, focuses on the development of algorithms that can accomplish tasks without instructions. The idea of using AI to automate processes for businesses inherently sounds amazing. Hemant Patel, a project manager at John Deere, says “I believe that AI and Machine Learning are going to drive business very differently tomorrow. It’s an area that is evolving very fast”. By automating data and reducing errors, AI with data storage proves to be a valuable tool in business. Regardless, many data owners still distrust AI but this is changing. In a recent survey, 57 percent of data center owners said they would trust an AI model to make operational decisions—an increase of almost 20 percent from the previous year (Digital Reality, 2023). As the number of entrepreneurs who trust this technology increases, AI will greatly influence business worldwide.

Although AI and ML have the potential to positively influence businesses, downsides also exist. One shortcoming is bias. Amy Wagner, a computer science teacher at Northside College Preparatory High School, explains, “Bias in algorithms is increasing as the use of AI and Machine Learning increases. There have been instances where men receive higher credit limits than women because of the bias in code.” If a biased AI model supports a business, certain demographics of people may suffer from prejudice in code. Another downside is job loss due to AI. According to SearchLogistics, “By 2030, more than 20 million manufacturing jobs globally could be lost to AI-powered robots” (SearchLogistics, 2023). Implementing large-scale AI in the business industry could greatly decrease human jobs, which would create economic concern for our workforce.

Ultimately, the combination of AI and ML in the business world has presented both opportunities and challenges. While these technologies improve efficiency, concerns over algorithmic bias and job displacement still exist. Creating a balance between the benefits and drawbacks remain crucial for businesses to navigate this transformative era of AI and ML responsibly.

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