A few short years ago, we only knew Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a futuristic movie starring Haley Joel Osment. The future is now, and the words have taken on a new meaning as technology has advanced to mimicking human thoughts and interactions. Companies are creating products that can collect, store and analyze data in order to help their owner navigate various tasks. That data that is captured can then be used to identify someone’s demographic, interests and buying patterns, making it easy for advertisers to target and market to them by cross-selling relatable products.

Artificial intelligence is something that we encounter every day, even if we may not realize it at the time. Automated customer support, ads that appear on Facebook or throughout your internet browsing, suggested movies and music on Netflix and Pandora and fraud detection on your credit card account are all automated by AI systems and generated using complex algorithms. The most common place that we see this technology in use is at home in our devices and appliances.

The idea of a “Smart Home” was another futuristic fantasy from the past. Today, almost all current models of home electronics are built with AI technology. One of the first robotic appliances, the Roomba, was introduced in 2002, and technology has come a long way since then! LG’s new refrigerator models come equipped with Amazon’s Alexa, the mother of home AI that was birthed in 2015. The new refrigerators can not only keep track of your food inventory and grocery shopping list, but it can also detect which food is going bad, and suggest recipes that will utilize them. Beauty junkies can now shop based on their facial appearance with new Alexa-powered smart mirrors that recommend useful educational articles and products to try, simply by assessing your skin. As smart speakers and other devices reach millions of consumers each year, advertisers now have every opportunity to get their name injected into the household, and their audience has already been identified and pre-selected.

The downside of AI in appliances and on digital assistants like Alexa is that it mainly focuses on big business and only benefits the companies who have the financial means to pay for sponsored advertisements on these platforms. However, small businesses can also benefit by using customer relationship management software (CRMs) like Salesforce, who’s AI technology, called “Einstein” can analyze customer data that is tracked by e-mails, recorded phone calls and online posts. The information is then stored and used to tweak marketing initiatives so that advertisements are targeted more appropriately. Other software programs can measure activity on your paid ads and customer interactions to indicate which channels have proven the most success, and what the most popular methods are for customers to effectively communicate with your company. AI also fuels online instant chat features, which can capture valuable information about what customers are inquiring about when visiting your website.

Whether you find AI totally cool or a little too cloying, we’re merely at the tip of the iceberg!

How do you use AI to benefit your business?