ai
What can AI do for you?
In 1996, the internet revolution completely changed the fabric of society. In 2020, we live in the cusp of the next era — this time, it's artificial intelligence, robotics, smart devices / IoT, virtual reality, and biotech at the helm. These may seem like disparate, unrelated technologies, however the reality is that these technologies work in harmony to solve big problems.
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By 2021, 80% of emerging technologies will have AI foundations.
— Gartner Research
AI Executive Summary
What is AI?
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Artificial intelligence is an abstract concept, and its meaning varies based on who you ask. Some people believe that a machine is artificially intelligent when it exhibits intelligent behavior that is indistinguishable from that of a human. However, that definition of AI, while perfectly acceptable, is only one definition for businesses looking to invest in artificial intelligence within their companies. Artificial intelligence exists as a range: AI can be very well-defined and specific, such as in a rule-based expert system (RBES), and greatly increase in generality, such as with modern deep neural networks.

Today, completely generalized AI (in other words, indistinguishable from a human) is not yet a reality. However, today’s AI can achieve state-of-the-art human-like behaviors on a smaller range of tasks. For example, Google’s tacotron architecture does an incredible job at text-to-speech, and it can be combined with other machine learning models like a recurrent neural network transducer to create entire conversations. In a nutshell, that’s how most home automation systems work: they convert your voice to text, generate embeddings for your text in order to classify your intent, use a model like a residual convolutional neural network to extract relevant data from your message, execute the action, and then finally generate a reply which is converted back to speech with yet another set of machine learning models.

Phew! That’s a lot of specialized models that are great at specific tasks, but together, they can achieve human-like behavior such as a call center / customer service AI. Going back to the question at hand, though, it is generally accepted that a piece of software or hardware exhibits artificial intelligence when it is capable of one or more of the following: planning, reasoning and knowledge representation, perception, learning, and/or dynamic motion / manipulation.

Should I be worried?
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Have no fear, Surya is here! But in all seriousness, the best way to be prepared for AI is to embrace it. There is a lot of hype around AI, but is it warranted?

Nearly a century go, we underwent a revolution by replacing old steam powered machines with those using electricity. This resulted in dramatic changes across industries: transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, etc. Many believe that artificial intelligence is the new electricity that will revolutionize everything from FinTech to healthcare to transportation to food delivery.

So, should you be worried? Absolutely not! If AI is properly harnessed, it can yield significant improvements in efficiency, speed, and output within the various processes of your business. We believe that artificially intelligent systems will deprecate certain general labor-type jobs within the next 5-10 years. Many firms embracing AI, like Amazon, claim that AI systems supplant humans, not replace them, but this isn’t true; if one human can do 3-4 humans’ worth of work, this is a fundamental change that will affect the entire world. If truck drivers can be replaced with self-driving trucks (the technology is almost here, spearheaded by companies like Waymo, Tesla, Amazon, and Uber), that’s 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. alone who will need to migrate to other forms of work.

It is hard to say what effect AI will have on the various tiers of society, but one thing is certain: it has the potential to disrupt your industry and create key value-adding and cost-saving differentiators for your company. Applications of AI are still being actively explored and researched, so the time is now to embrace the future. Contact us today to discuss how AI can apply to your business.

What are some examples? What can AI do for my business?
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From conversing with virtual assistants to face recognition in cameras and other devices, from recommending your next song, movie, or retail product to inventing new works of art, from monitoring plant/crop growth to detecting cancer, from classifying spam and identifying credit card fraud to enabling self-driving cars, warehouse robots, and auto-navigating drones, AI is used everywhere today and many people don’t even realize it! This is just scratching the tip of the iceberg. There is a trove of new AI applications that are already possible today but have yet to be realized and applied across industries. At Surya, we help companies realize the potential of AI — diving into the water and developing new applications around AI, cloud, IoT, and more. AI can allow you to process past/current/future data and derive valuable insights and statistics from customer patterns and process flows. AI can be used to understand the sentiments of your users (at scale), helping determine pain points and optimize customer service interactions. Automating manual labor to a large degree is just a start — and companies are finding innovative ways of achieving this, like Amazon Go (a store without any checkout lines) and Tesla (self-driving cars and trucks).

Worldwide data will grow 61% to 175 zettabytes by 2025 (IDC), and AI can help you process and make sense of all of it. In fact, marketing and sales is one highly active area of AI research and application today; according to Forbes, marketing and sales teams prioritize AI and machine learning more than any other department in enterprises today (40%). Making informed, data-driven business decisions is one of the central highlights of practical AI applications.

The AI use cases like customer service agents ($4.5 billion worldwide), sales process recommendation and automation ($2.7 billion), and automated threat intelligence and prevention ($2.7 billion) (source: IDC) will see a lot of investment as well.

AI has such broad applications that it's hard to pinpoint exactly how AI would fit within your organization. Consult with us to learn more.

Will AI be mankind's demise? Will AI kill us all?
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No need to worry about Skynet for now — we will leave it to the movies to handle that. Joking aside, we wouldn’t worry about that for a few more decades at least. Machine learning today is really good at specific tasks, but machines still cannot “think” independently. However, AI has enormous practical implications in the military, from being able to create highly intelligent drones and surveillance systems, robots that "aimbot" and fire at the enemy or disrupt rockets, to monitoring service member health. So, while AI can be used today as a weapon enhancement in war, it still cannot think for itself, so you need not worry about any robot overlord anytime soon.
How can Surya help me?
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At Surya, we build applications with future needs in mind, not just to address your immediate concerns. We have a dedicated team of industry experts, developers and project managers to help walk you through from start to finish. We view each client as a true partner and an extension of ourselves and offer uncompromising service.
Where do I even start?
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Do not worry, we know that it is a lot of information to process, and we are here to help every step of the way. At Surya, we would begin with a consultation to better understand your concerns, and together, we will implement an AI strategy for your business and innovate new solutions within your industry.
Can AI be integrated into existing systems?
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Sure! Depending on what your current system is, we can find a way to integrate some aspects of AI into it. AI has high relevance and disruptive potential across industries.
What do you think about chatbots?
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When seamlessly integrated with the underlying business, knowledgable and persuasive chatbots can be an excellent resource to reduce customer service costs and increase sales. Customers love them, too. According to G2 Crowd and Mindshare, 63% of people prefer messaging a chatbot to communicate with a business or brand instead of a live human.