Using AI in the workplace

Many business owners find the idea of integrating the use of AI (artificial intelligence) into their workday to be at best daunting and at worst existentially terrifying.

Published in UK Director Magazines Spring 24
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Directors’ Toolbox:
Brought to you in association with IJYI

It’s fair to say that science fiction, with its rogue cyborgs and controlling computers, has done this emerging technology no favours! Have you seen The Matrix?

However, the truth is that we have utilised it as part of our daily lives for a while now: in our phones (Siri and photo editing), in our homes (Alexa), on social media (advertising), on our computers (Google)…the list goes on.

The Basic Principle

All these things work on the same, simple principle. AI takes the available data and makes predictions. It is constantly making ‘if so do this’ and ‘if not do that’ calculations. The more data it can access, the more accurate it is.

This basic principle has now been applied to a wealth of ‘tools’ which companies, large and small, can use to improve efficiency and output across a variety of roles.

Where do I Start?

The easiest, most affordable options are websites such as ChatGPT, Google Gemini, Adobe Firefly, Canva and Grammarly. All of these have a free subscription level – so there is nothing to lose in giving them a try – with an option to pay monthly to unlock premium features.

For Example

Using ChatGPT as an example – you can ask it to write an article about a certain subject, or supply ideas for social media posts (it will even add the hashtags). It can create images for marketing (pixel by pixel) and can answer questions – actually giving an answer rather than just supplying a list of relevant websites like Google. It can turn a piece of writing into a speech for presentations and even translate content into different languages using the correct grammar and dialect.

For businesses, especially those without the funds for a large marketing team, this can be an invaluable tool for creating web, social media and marketing content, or simply for providing inspiration. Not a wordsmith? It can even put together emails for you.

Of course, as with all AI, the quality of the output is dependent on the quality of the input! How you frame your question or request will greatly affect the response, so be sure to think about what you are asking it to do and maybe try a few variations to see what works best.

Copyright

It is also important to be aware of the grey areas around copyright – it is hard to determine the legal owner of content when it has been created using vast databases from around the globe – and users should understand that it is not foolproof and still needs someone to oversee results and edit copy to ensure it has the right tone and personality for your business. In short, it should support not replace your team.

Focus on Clients

For larger companies, a more personalised application can be used within their Customer Relationship Management system, where it can ‘learn’ about customers and their buying habits, allowing for targeted marketing, personalised offers, automated order forms and timely invoices. If you have Netflix or Amazon, you have already seen this in action with recommended products or films.

There can, however, be issues around data protection when using AI in this way, so it should be discussed with your IT specialist to ensure GDPR compliance.

Advanced Machine Learning

Advanced machine learning is a type of AI that finds patterns in data using algorithms. It is largely accessed through a web portal subscription and helps businesses to make sense of complex information.

It can be beneficial for any company or manufacturer aiming for an optimised product – taking your current data and extrapolating it to reach the desired result more quickly. For example, if you are a brewery looking to create the perfect beer, you might only need to do 10 experiments instead of 100. This saves both time and money and offers a more environmentally sustainable option by using less energy and fewer materials.

While not applicable to all businesses, in the right place these platforms can be a powerful tool in research and development. The idea is not to replace the human element of a workforce but to offload the tedious, time-consuming work to allow for more innovation and better productivity.

Innovation

Software development and data intelligence consultancy, IJYI, is leveraging AI to significantly transform how clients interact with data and customers.

Asa Margetts, chief technology officer at IJYI, says: “Our approach goes beyond merely adopting AI technology. We seamlessly integrate it into our business strategies, promoting a culture of growth, optimisation, and continuous innovation.”

Internally, they utilise AI to enhance their software developers’ capabilities, significantly boosting efficiency and quality, and accelerating product time-to-market for their clients. Externally, through the development of AI capabilities such as sophisticated text analysis, they help clients enhance both intelligence and productivity.

Asa details this approach: “Integrating AI into their software enables businesses to outpace their competitors. We have developed technologies which include automated document review for tone, mood and summarisation, and advanced video object detection which intelligently analyses movement and activities. These innovations are specifically designed to enhance decision-making, streamline operations, and deepen customer insights.”

AI Case Study

Chris Reeve, managing director at Reeve Social Media

As a social media agency, it’s vital we stay on top of the latest tools and tech to ensure our clients get the very best from their investment. For us, AI is an incredible opportunity to turn feelings into facts. Far too much content is decided by the boardroom’s ‘guestimate’ on what they think their audience wants – utilising AI has allowed us to present strategy using solid data gathered in real time.
For example, we can now harvest statistics on which type of video content is working best on any social channel and why. AI will tell us why they’ve been successful and the trends in common and tactics used in each video. We’ve rapidly reduced the time spent on research – we’re now talking seconds, not hours – and this is a game changer for the agency space in terms of efficiency and productivity. 

Preparing for AI

You don’t need to do anything before trying some of the available AI tools. Your computers – even your phones – are already powerful enough to cope with things like ChatGPT so that is a good place to start your AI journey.

For more complex machine learning platforms, the first step is to research potential companies then make contact. They will be able to advise if the AI is suitable for your business and, if so, provide information on how to format your data for use.

In Conclusion

With some options free to try, the final advice is – don’t wait. AI is here and it is moving fast so jump on board or you will get left behind the curve. Just be sure to preserve the human, personal element of your business as this is often what sets it apart.

Pros of AI

  • Sites such as ChatGPT are free to try
  • Provides a starting point for writing
  • A quick way to produce content
  • Machine learning is more sustainable – using fewer raw materials and saving energy
  • Does the ‘tedious work’ allowing for more innovation and productivity

Cons of AI

  • Possible issues around data protection when applied to sensitive information
  • When used for writing, it can be biased and repetitive
  • Writing can lack ‘personality’ so human input still required
  • There are legal implications around copyright if content is AI created. With data taken from vast databases it is hard to determine the legal owner

Brought to you in association with…

Using AI in the workplace 1

www.ijyi.com

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