What Is AI? Understanding Artificial Intelligence & Its Applications

Anjan Sarkar
June 12, 2023
min read
March 19, 2024
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What is AI? Learn about AI applications, their impact on businesses, and how we live and work in an increasingly AI-driven world.
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The world of technology is evolving rapidly. And who's leading the charge? Artificial Intelligence (AI).

From self-driving cars to voice-activated assistants, AI is transforming how we live and work. As professionals, we can't afford to overlook the opportunities for innovation and growth.

Heard about AI but don't know where to begin? Wonder how to use AI to meet your business goals and stay ahead of the competition. 

If you're looking to understand AI and how you can leverage it—this blog is for you. We'll discuss:

Wh‎at is AI?

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is the use of computer systems capable of carrying out operations that usually require human intelligence, such as speech recognition, decision-making and language translation. 

What is AI definition

‎AI allows machines to learn and make decisions based on data inputs and algorithms, automating processes and improving decision-making in different industries.

Ho‎w does AI work?

AI systems analyze enormous volumes of data, recognize patterns and learn from them to make decisions or perform actions.

This procedure usually consists of three major steps:

Data input: To learn and enhance their performance, AI systems analyze vast amounts of data that is input into the system.

Training: The AI system is trained using algorithms on the data to find patterns and make predictions or judgments.

Output: After it has been trained, the AI system can analyze new data inputs to generate predictions or choices based on what it has learned.

Un‎derstanding narrow & general AI

There are two main types of AI: narrow and general.

Narrow AI systems are developed with a specific task or a small range of tasks in mind. Narrow AI is also sometimes called weak AI.

These systems were created with a specific purpose in mind and are excellent in their chosen field, but they can't carry out activities outside of their intended programming.

General AI is still theoretical. It refers to AI systems that will have human-level intelligence and the capacity to comprehend, pick up and apply information without being programmed for it.

Since general AI still hasn't been developed, we'll focus on the ways narrow AI is being applied in our everyday lives.

Na‎rrow AI

There are a ton of applications and sectors where narrow AI is currently being used. Here are the top nine examples.

1. Virtual personal assistants

Voice assistants like Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft's Cortana are designed to comprehend voice instructions and carry out straightforward activities like setting reminders, responding to inquiries, or managing smart home appliances.

2. Recommendation systems

Online platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Spotify, use narrow AI to power their recommendation engines. Each platform has an algorithm that analyzes user preferences, behavior and historical data. They use this data to offer users personalized recommendations for movies, products or music.

3. Image and speech recognition

Narrow AI techniques are used in applications that can identify and classify objects or recognize speech. Image and speech recognition technology is used across a wide range of fields, including security systems, self-driving cars and voice assistants.

AI's potential can also be seen in creative and engineering design, where it's been used to rethink CAD development through innovative approaches in AI for CAD design, hinting at a future where machine intelligence plays a pivotal role in designing processes.

4. Natural language processing (NLP)

NLP is a type of AI that focuses on the interaction between computers and human language. NLP applications like chatbots, language translation services and even GPS systems use narrow AI to understand and generate a human-like response to input.

One of the most talked about NLP applications is ChatGPT. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence model made by OpenAI. This deep-learning language model understands users’ questions and creates text answers that sound like humans.

5. Fraud detection

Financial institutions, especially the fintech industry, are using narrow AI to detect and prevent fraudulent activities. These AI systems analyze data and user behavior, looking for patterns that suggest fraud.

6. Autonomous vehicles

AI algorithms help self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles interpret sensor data, make driving decisions and navigate.

7. Virtual reality and augmented reality

Virtual and augmented reality use narrow AI to analyze user interactions and track movements, generating realistic virtual simulations. Companies are using VR technology for so much more than gaming. For example, Redfin is offering virtual walkthroughs and a company called Osso VR uses the technology for surgical training.

8. Medical diagnosis and research

The healthcare industry uses narrow AI applications to diagnose illnesses, interpret medical images and analyze patient data. On the admin side, it's automating mundane tasks like data entry, claims processing, appointment scheduling, and so much more.

9. Industrial automation

In the manufacturing and industrial industries, Narrow AI is being applied to automate repetitive tasks and optimize processes. Narrow AI applications also assist with monitoring equipment and offering maintenance reminders.

10‎ real-life AI applications

Now that we understand more about how AI technologies are being used, let's look at a few real-world examples of how AI is being applied in the business world.

1. Knowledge management 

With AI, you can manage easily knowledge resources, saving time and effort needed for content labeling, indexing and categorizing.

Scribe is an AI productivity tool that transforms workflows for knowledge sharing. Companies rely on Scribe to automate and streamline their documentation processes, whether for onboarding new workers, developing standard operating procedures or responding to questions from customers and stakeholders.


2. Business Process Automation

By automating repetitive and rule-based tasks with AI, you can make processes more efficient and cut down on mistakes. This includes automating invoice processing, document verification, data entry and more.

3. Marketing 

It's never been easier to tailor your marketing content and messaging to your target audience. AI-powered marketing campaigns also improve consumer engagement and boost conversion rates.

4. Education

Advances in AI are making personalized learning possible. AI learning systems let teachers see students' areas of strength and weakness, improving student performance.

5. IT

AI solutions in IT can increase network security, decrease downtime, detect and stop cyberattacks and boost system performance. That's really just the tip of the iceberg; check out the article below for more ways AI is transforming IT.

📌 AI in IT: Revolutionize Your Operations

6. Project management 

Improve project efficiency overall, optimize resource allocation and reduce project delays with AI-powered project management systems.

7. Sales

AI-powered sales tools can find new leads, rank sales prospects, customize pitches and increase total sales output.

8. Customer experience

Virtual assistants and chatbots increase offer quick, individualized customer service, responding to questions and addressing customer problems.

These technologies help businesses handle high volumes of client inquiries, substantially shortening response times and improving customer satisfaction.

9. Human resources

HR processes are being simplified thanks to AI. AI can automate time-consuming tasks like resume screening, candidate shortlisting and employee onboarding. HR teams can also use it to identify skill gaps, analyze workforce data and assist with employee engagement and performance evaluations.

10. Supply chain and logistics

Supply chain operations are using AI to forecast demand, improve inventory management, find better routes and automate logistics processes. AI can lower costs, make things more efficient and enhance supply chain performance.

To‎p AI challenges & risks

Though AI can revolutionize society, it also comes with a few challenges. To make sure AI systems are trustworthy, safe and beneficial for everyone, we'll touch on seven risks and challenges of AI:

1. Cost

AI solutions range from ready-made ones offered by outside companies to custom platforms created by in-house or freelance data scientists. Because there are a lot of options a lot to choose from, pricing can vary. Knowing the cost of AI can help businesses decide if they should invest in AI or not.

🏦 The Top 7 Best AI Software to Fast Track Your Team’s Growth in 2023

2. Bias & discrimination

There is potential for discrimination and bias in AI's decision-making. Unfortunately, the AI system will also be biased if the training data is skewed.

For instance, if a facial recognition algorithm is trained mostly on white faces, it might have trouble correctly identifying people with darker skin tones, which could result in discriminating results.

2. Security risks 

Similar to other computer systems, AI systems are susceptible to cyberattacks.

Hackers are drawn to them because AI systems frequently rely on a significant amount of private data. Because of this, it's essential to protect AI systems is ensure their dependability and safety.

3. Privacy concerns 

Privacy issues are another difficulty for AI. AI systems require enormous volumes of data to operate efficiently, which raises questions about privacy and the possibility of data misuse. 

4. Lack of transparency 

A lack of trust in AI systems may result from the complexity of AI models, making it difficult to determine how judgments are made.

5. Ethical considerations

Ai has some ethical issues that experts are examining. For instance, what kind of military applications should AI be used for? Or is it appropriate to hold autonomous AI systems accountable for their actions—and how would that happen?

6. Job displacement

Many jobs can be automated by AI, which could result in job loss and unemployment. While AI can create new jobs, the shift may be challenging for displaced workers. Experts will need to develop strategies to lessen the effects of AI on employment.

7. Limited human control

Autonomous AI systems can decide and act without human intervention, which might have unintended consequences and raise ethical questions. An autonomous vehicle can choose to endanger passengers or pedestrians if it's faced with a circumstance that it is not programmed to manage. 

Th‎e future of AI

While there are challenges, AI is already bringing lots of positive changes:

  • Advanced automation.
  • Personalized customer experiences.
  • Data-driven decision-making.
  • Predictive analytics.
  • Improved cybersecurity measures.
  • AI-assisted collaboration tools.

AI applications are also making it easier to:

  • Find valuable information.
  • Use resources better.
  • Make customers happier.
  • Create new chances for growth and innovation.
  • Streamline processes.
  • Work faster.
  • Automate tasks and processes.

Au‎tomating processes with Scribe AI

Do you have trouble with your systems for documenting and sharing knowledge? If you're dealing with old documentation, spending too much time on training or having difficulty finding the information you need, it's time for an AI solution like Scribe.

The days of organizing and formatting browser screenshots into papers are long gone. Scribe is a process documentation tool. It’s both a browser extension and desktop app that captures your screen to auto-generate a step-by-step guide. 
  • Scribe screen capture: You can easily and quickly record on-screen workflows with a single click.
  • Editing and customizing of documents: Easily change automatically generated descriptions, add/remove/merge stages to make them clearer and add callouts like tips and alerts to give the document more context.
  • Shareable URL: Put an end to scouring through email threads and out-of-date PDFs. You don't need to update files in several locations while using Scribe because edits are automatically stored and reflected in the same URL.
  • Tech stack integrations: Integrate Scribe easily with applications like Notion, Confluence, SharePoint and more. Wikis, knowledge bases and learning management systems can all be used to integrate Scribes for better visibility and usability.
  • Scribe Pages: Combine several Scribes into a single, eye-catching Scribe Pages. You can create playbooks, training manuals and company plans using our page templates. Add text, links and embedded YouTube and Loom material to documents to personalize them.

Getting started is easy. Check out this Scribe on how you can start.

Bring the power of AI to your business 

While artificial intelligence can be a complex technology, implementing it in your organization does not have to be. Artificial intelligence technologies have the potential to drastically improve your operations by saving time and providing precise projections.

Sign up for Scribe and experience the benefits of AI-powered solutions for your business.

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