22 January 2021

Tech Perspective #25: Artificial Intelligence in Business


Have you ever thought that we, as humans, are just simply not good enough? Even though we went as far as the Moon, we revolutionised the means of transport and communication, and eradicated many diseases with the use of vaccines, we still struggle with some areas.

Take for example the pharmaceutical industry. Disease research and the production and testing of new drugs take many years. Some of them, such as research on “protein folding”, took as long as 50 years. We still do not know the answers to many questions related to biology.

This problem is equally pressing for pharmaceutical companies and laboratories, which often spend many years trying to develop a new drug. The coronavirus pandemic shows how important it is to speed up this process and deliver foolproof solutions as fast as possible.

That’s why we need some help. And it can be provided by AI.

AI- a Game-changer

As I previously mentioned, the protein folding problem has stumped biologists for 50 years. Why did they even bother? I’m by no means a biologist but I will put it in layman’s terms.

Proteins start as strings of amino acids but later they fold up into a unique three-dimensional shape that determines how they work. If you want to develop a new drug, you need to know the protein’s shape to come up with a molecule that can bind to it to alter its behaviour. However, predicting which shape a protein will take is incredibly hard.

Even though the scientists tried really hard, they were not able to predict the shapes accurately enough. And here’s where the AI enters the game.

At the end of 2020, AlphaFold, Deep Mind’s AI system, was able to predict — with impressive speed and accuracy — what shapes given strings of amino acids would fold up into. It’s not perfect, but it already outperforms human efforts.

The AlphaFold technology still needs to be refined. However, as the biologist, Andrei Lupas, told Nature, “This will change medicine. It will change research. It will change bioengineering. It will change everything.”

Getting Down to Business

Enough with the scientific talk, and let’s get down to business. Laboratories and drugs are just an example. AI can use huge data sets faster and faster not only to synthesize or report them but also to solve complex problems that give business managers sleepless nights.

Therefore, AI can become a business tool used not only to analyze and improve processes, but it can even dictate them, proposing the best solutions, including even the company’s strategy.

How exactly can it help? Take customer service for example. With the advent of chatbots, customers can now interact with companies in real-time and do almost anything they would require from having a conversation with a human customer service representative.

With the increasing amount of business data, deriving insights from it can be quite a challenge. AI supports business intelligence to obtain valuable insights from data that help companies improve the effectiveness of marketing, understand customers better, create personalized experiences, and develop business strategies.

Speaking of marketing, the key to increasing company revenue is knowing the needs of a consumer. The market leaders, such as Netflix, Spotify, Amazon use AI to understand the habits of customers to predict which product to recommend. AI can increase the chances of sales and the effectiveness of marketing activities, reducing the overall marketing cost.

The Future of AI

Still not sure about trusting AI to help you manage your business? What if I tell you that by introducing AI recommendations, Netflix reduces its expenses by about $1 billion each year?

Prepare your business for the revolution. As Paul Daughtery said, “This is by far the fastest-moving technology that we’ve ever tracked in terms of its impact and we’re just getting started.”

With the speed of AI development, we can only predict what wonders will it work in the future. Or maybe it’s better to leave it to AI.

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Marcin Bartoszuk
Chief Operating Officer

With Microsoft technologies related since 2005. He graduated from the Computer Science Faculty of the Bialystok University of Technology where he was the leader of the .NET Group and the Microsoft Student Partner. Four times finalist of the national stage of the Imagine Cup competition, and later the mentor and the jury member of the contest. Co-founder of the Bialystok .NET Group. He lectured .NET development at the Bialystok University of Technology. Microsoft MVP in the Client Application Development category in 2008-2010, when he actively participated in the IT community. Constant new technology enthusiast and IT consultant.