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Artificial Intelligence is closer than you think
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23-04-2018

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK

'Artificial Intelligence is one of the most profound things that humanity is working on. It's more profound than, I don't know, electricity or fire'. Those are the words of Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Meanwhile, on my way to Enschede in my car, I am listening to a BNR radio item on the advancements of AI, and it gets me thinking about the subject again.

Artificial Intelligence: in addition to the omnipresent Teslas, what often springs to our minds is robots taking over care duties, computers beating grandmasters at chess or engaging Siri in meaningful debates. In the industry, I mostly see AI being applied to optimise internal processes and cut costs. A great number of companies seem to be mainly using AI to "do the same work with fewer people". But isn't that line of thinking fundamentally flawed? Because what if those fewer people do work that, in the near future, simply won't be any need for anymore?

Our current times call for a shift in the way entrepreneurs think. Starting from the outside, going in – and not the other way around. It's not the internal processes that should be your leading concern, but the current, actual demand, interests and needs in the market. And, subsequently, how those might affect for instance your business operations, your company's positioning on the market, your range of products and services – and increases in turnover.

An answer to the question ‘what it is that your target group wants, or will want, today or tomorrow’ will not come from within the walls of your organisation. In fact, you will typically run into yesterday's approach. The future, literally, is out there! In the form of billions of online search queries and posts on social media, with your target group busy expressing what interests and concerns them. The answers you are looking for can no longer be found without big data analyses and Artificial Intelligence. The data are simply too numerous, the correlations too complex and the market is too fast-paced. It would take you months to investigate manually what it is that your target group needs right now. You would not be able to keep pace, if you even knew where to begin in the first place.

I have always been fascinated by data. Observing the exponential growth, the lack of knowledge on the possibilities of big data, the absence of user-friendly applications and the fact that the future is literally made up of external data, we have come up with Trendata: an intelligent solution that applies Artificial Intelligence in collecting, analysing and visualising those billions of online searches from the major search engines as well as data from social media. Using AI, we can move your "outside" inside. So it may be one of the most profound things humanity is facing today, but it is also the smart and concrete solution you can already use to make a difference tomorrow: AI is closer than you think. Use it to your advantage!

This column was published (in Dutch) in TwenteVisie on the 26th of April 2018