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5 Real-Life Uses of Artificial Intelligence in 2021

5 Real-Life Uses of Artificial Intelligence in 2021 2560 1706 Shaista Salam

A few years ago, Forbes Magazine came out with an article titled “10 Most Powerful Artificial intelligence in Use today”. From virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa to smart home appliances like Nest and smart vehicle systems from Tesla, they touched upon the most successful AI technologies available then. But technology is always evolving and new applications are being explored continuously. AI is no more a mysterious entity that you see only in movies. It may not be as advanced as in the likes of The Matrix or The Terminator, but tech companies are making significant strides every day. Let’s quickly look at some popular real-life examples of AI in today’s world.

1. Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants can do tons of everyday tasks like reading your emails, scheduling meetings, writing to-do lists, streaming music or podcasts, or getting the latest news. There’s nothing they cannot help you with. Machine learning and language processing algorithms help virtual personal assistants learn your preferences, language, and hence, your queries better.
Digital chatbots are another example of commonly used AI-powered algorithms used by businesses to provide customer support. They’re incredibly useful in automating customer support and save enormously on manual hours spent answering customer queries.

2. Smart Home Appliances

With Google’s Nest, you can command over 50, 000 devices in your home to operate as you need. From smart lights, plugs, speakers, home thermostats, cameras, alarm sets to TVs, washers, dryers, vacuums, you can connect all your home appliances to your phone through the Google Home app and control them with Google Assistant voice commands. You can even schedule your home appliances to turn on and off at specific times of the day using the App.

3. Smart Vehicle and delivery systems

Since 2017, Amazon has been working on its Prime Air Service that will utilize autonomous drones to deliver packages, up to 5 pounds in a 15-mile radius, within 30 minutes of placing an order. From take-off to flight, landing, and return, the drones operate completely on their own. In 2020, Walmart announced that it would start testing its drone delivery systems with partner companies Zipline and Flytrex. Zipline’s drones can reportedly deliver packages up to a 50-mile radius. Although it is not clear when the technology will be available to the common public, we can sure hope for an easier and faster home shopping experience in the coming years. Tesla and Waymo’s self-driving cars use a range of cameras, sensors, computer vision, and other AI algorithms to drive cars autonomously, but further improvements are required to make the cars fully automated. The cameras and sensors collect data about the surroundings, such as how far behind a car is or how fast it’s moving. The AI algorithm and computer vision interpret this data to find out things like whether the car is in the correct lane and whether it’s at an appropriate distance from other cars, etc. The control system then uses the interpretations to make calculated decisions about accelerating, braking, switching lanes. Uber and Lyft are also developing their fleet of self-driving cars.

4. Healthcare

The most impressive use of AI in Healthcare is the analyses of enormous amounts of patient data to pull up clinical decision support (CDS) for doctors and hospital personnel. AI solutions help clinicians make educated clinical judgments and offer definitive treatments for patients using machine learning. The algorithms analyze digital patient records to identify treatment solutions quickly and in a more cost-effective manner. For example, the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina used IBM Watson’s Genomic work to single out specialized treatments for about 1,000 cancer subjects. Administrative tasks like taking patient histories (voice to text), recording patient charts, and even giving out prescriptions can be automated with the data gathered by deep learning algorithms. AI technology can also be used to perform complex surgeries like eye and heart surgeries, with greater precision and control.

5. Finance

The finance industry too can take advantage of AI to automate their tasks; from detecting fraud, cyberattacks, and other suspicious activity within systems to studying market data and predicting high fidelity stock. In 2017, Capital One’s Eno was the first virtual assistant offered by a US bank to customers. JP Morgan Chase employs a fraud detection algorithm for their credit card transactions, bolstering their security and reliability greatly.

Batten Down the Hatches and Innovate

Batten Down the Hatches and Innovate 1920 1280 Digit AI

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition came to a sudden end just two months after it began. The ship was icebound and what followed was a harrowing tale of survival and human ingenuity.

For many businesses, 2020 started the same way with the perfect conditions to reach great new heights. There were no headwinds in sight. The coast was clear as far as the eyes could see. In our wildest imaginations, no one would have predicted such a scenario happening, and even less so the best environment to try new things and make ambitious and grandiose plans.

“We knew it would be the hardest thing we had ever undertaken, for the Antarctic winter had set in, and we were about to cross one of the worst seas in the world.”

Frank Worsley, Captain of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition

Innovators understand that changing market dynamics, customer needs and technological transformation requires them to not only improve and extend their lead in what shapes the essence of their business today, but also to journey into the unknown, imagine different possible futures and discover a different world by seeing around the corners and looking for what lies ahead.

This is exactly how Ernest Shackleton and the crew felt when they set sail for their great new adventure aboard “The Endurance”. The plan was to set a new record by crossing over 1800 miles in Antarctica. That ambition was cut short, but the shipmates’ story remains a great example of survival against all the odds.

“Amid these profound and overwhelming forces, we are the absolute embodiment of helpless futility.”

Frank Hurley, Photographer of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition

Tough times and suddenly changing circumstances are great moments that can highlight major strengths or expose significant weaknesses in organizational systems and processes. The actions and reactions to manage through the crisis also make for interesting case stories for future business leaders. Surviving and thriving in the most challenging times is what makes for memorable sailor stories that Ernest Shackleton and his shipmates recounted on how they were able to plot their escape. Innovators can learn a lot from the discipline and organization practiced by those who regularly face treacherous waters and live to tell about it. Here are some ‘sailor realities’ that can help describe how an organization needs to think about its efforts to innovate in stable and turbulent times:

Ship-shape and Bristol fashion

Being in first-class order is a way of life for sailors maintaining their ship and equipment in good working condition. Setting out for the next adventure without making sure they can operate at their best is just not an option with the unknown risks that await them at sea. Yet, many organizations don’t have a system that acts as their engine for change when it comes to innovation. As important as financial systems are to companies, they should apply the same thinking for innovation systems — developing and operationalizing creative ideas in a single system of record. It’s those concrete and valued ideas that come to life that keep a company shipshape and ready to weather the storm.

Batten down the hatches

As bad weather sets in, waves pick up, and a disturbance appears in the distance; the sailor prepares for the trouble that lies ahead. For innovators, this is simply the impending function of how businesses sustain themselves as the world inevitably changes around them. Having a clear process and structure to account for innovation allows for a clear view of the innovation pipeline and portfolio. Staying customer-obsessed and looking for a range of innovations based on customer insights means you can always stay several steps ahead of the competition.

Dead in the water

The ship will stand still and dead in the water when there is no wind to propel its sails. In the Age of Innovation, even the most exceptional innovators can move quickly from first to last. Winners can find themselves disrupted if they don’t have a second act. “What’s next?” thinking is not just a mantra — it’s also a business imperative that helps you to use the positive momentum of one successful solution to identify the following one.

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

Sailors sometimes have to make tough choices and face dilemmas at sea. The alternatives may come down to choosing between the bad, the ugly, or the unknown. As danger lurks, making tough decisions is part and parcel of successful businesses. Many organizations struggle to understand if they are making the right choices in their innovation investments. The ability to compare different alternatives by factoring in the proper business criteria and involving subject matter experts is hard work. Winning teams leverage the right platforms that help facilitate such evaluations and decision making.

Cut and run

Some situations demand quick actions that require you to cut the rope and leave your anchor behind. Agile thinking means you know how to plan out a meaningful experiment. It also means you know most bets are unlikely to pay off. The higher the reward the more attempts may be required to find the right answer. Cutting down to scope the challenges you need to solve and determine if your work is helping you head in the right direction is where the magic of agile experimentation comes in. Keep learning from each attempt, keep moving forward when it makes sense, and keep turning back and trying others paths when needed while avoiding going down the same rabbit hole.

At a loose end

“Tying up loose ends” is critical before you set sail and to make sure you are shipshape. In innovation, you need to make sure you have the right business model to build your plan around. A Business Model Canvas is a great practice to build into your innovation process to ensure you factor in all key considerations that communicate your value proposition. Work collaboratively to challenge each area so you can end up with a well-thought-out business proposition that fully supports your concept’s development.

Knowing the ropes

Good sailors know every square inch of their ship — by remembering where everything is and understand how everything works, including all environmental factors. Likewise, innovations that find real success in the marketplace have been fully vetted with a clear understanding and plan of what changes and support are required to scale and commercialize them successfully.

Whistle for the wind

Sailor superstition hopes to summon the wind by merely whistling to create a positive movement when the ship is dead in the water. Creating positive change and results takes a lot more than just fables and fairy tales. Instead, the innovator’s whistle leans on artificial intelligence to sift through a myriad of data sources and mountains of information. These factors help identify those valuable clues that can serve as a source of inspiration and help develop hunches that lead to potentially uncovering meaningful breakthrough opportunities the organization should focus on.

“After long months of ceaseless anxiety and strain, after times when hope beat high and times when the outlook was black indeed, we have been compelled to abandon the ship, which is crushed beyond all hope of ever being righted.”

Ernest Shackleton, Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition

From 1914 to 1916, the crew members of Endurance were able to strategically hunker down, transform their ship into a winter habitat, and use everything at their disposal until they were able to envisage their escape eventually. Two years later, everyone returned home safely by using lifeboats and survived the ordeal.

This pandemic may very well last just as long before it is all said and done. It is also an amazing time, and more important than ever, to think about embracing change. Innovators are continually setting out for their big adventure. They are fully aware that the innovation journey to the most rewarding ideas is never an easy one, and that it takes great care and attention to achieve their objectives. Good things come to those who play the long game and choose the right actions to stay ahead.

Source: 1914-1916 The Endurance

About the Author:
Ludwig Melik, CEO of Planbox

As a visionary thought leader and passionate technology advocate, Ludwig has the opportunity to work with some of the most innovative companies in the world every day. Sharing enterprise innovation success stories, design thinking methodologies and agile work processes are some of his ardent talking points. With 20+ years of experience in the project portfolio management and innovation management market, Ludwig looks to help organizations positively transform their work culture to create sustainable growth and ongoing success by galvanizing employee engagement and by igniting creative ideation. Connect with Ludwig on LinkedIn.

For tips and advice on insuring effective innovation management in your organization, check out what Planbox has to offer.

Contact us for a free first consultation at

How to Overcome Barriers to Effective Innovation

How to Overcome Barriers to Effective Innovation 1707 2560 Digit AI

This is an article written and published by our innovation partner Planbox.

Understanding how important innovation is for the success of your business yet still not being able to achieve effective innovation company-wide is very frustrating.

Building a profitable and sustainable innovation strategy is a step in the right direction, but even a solid strategy can fail if there are internal issues that need to be addressed.

Gartner’s 2019 Technology Innovation Strategy Survey uncovered the top five barriers to innovation: employees focused on immediate goals, employees resistant to change, compliance restrictions, executive resistance, and lack of funding.

These hurdles are the most likely to hinder a company from achieving its desired innovation goals. However, every organization can work to eliminate these obstacles. Here are tips on how to overcome barriers to effective innovation.

Prepare and Encourage Employees

Employees cannot be prepared for the future of work if they do not know what to expect. This creates hesitation and the wrong focus as workers attempt to adapt to change while also getting their regular tasks done efficiently. Traditions are powerful motivators to keep the status quo, and past results can lead to closed minds when it comes to new innovation initiatives. Open communication and proper education are essential for overcoming these issues that can lead to unengaged employees. Otherwise, your own staff can be one of the toughest barriers to effective innovation.

Prepare employees by educating them about future trends, training them in key skill areas, and providing helpful resources like open innovation software to make workplace collaboration easier. Encourage employees by helping them present their ideas in a way that others understand and by reinforcing a safe environment for ideas to freely flow. Communicating company goals and strategy to employees is critical, but it is just as important to make sure they are able to voice opinions, concerns, and ideas just as effectively.

Get Leadership on Board

Executives can be even more close-minded to new practices than employees because of the perceived time, money, and risk associated with a transformation. It is true; the ROI of innovation is very difficult to calculate. If a business requires proof of the financial benefit for an initiative, it is likely that innovation will never happen.

Risk should be evaluated, but it should not make you resistant to ideas and initiatives with great reward. If employees feel like their leadership will not take their ideas seriously, then executive resistance will create greater employee hesitation. Company leadership is responsible for creating a culture of innovation that encourages ideation.

Getting leadership on board with innovation initiatives helps reassure that there will be a firm commitment to these efforts. Other barriers to innovation include a lack of follow-through and a low adoption rate that result in wasted resources. To prove the value of innovation and gain executive support, there needs to be a strategy.

Prepare this strategy by defining innovative success, setting achievable goals and targets, working within constraints while also eliminating constraints, and focusing on activities with the biggest value for success.

Work around Your Resources

Just because everyone in your organization is excited for innovation does not mean the ideal resources are available to make it happen. Some innovation is better than none at all, and getting the process started can make expanding efforts later on easier.

It is important to work within your constraints while also making an effort to eliminate those constraints. Employee’s time should be taken into consideration because overwhelming them will lead back to hesitation and resistance. Not taking inventory of your current resources and those required by your strategy could mean abandoning innovation later on.

Long-term goals are important for driving innovation, so do not lose sight of what you want out of innovation even if it is not possible right now. Set short term goals that can be achieved with the current resources. Focus on activities that are low-cost, low-risk, and have measurable value. If an activity is not directly helping you achieve your current goal, then it is probably not worth the current resources. Slowly reshape the company culture into an open, supportive, and innovative environment.

With the right tools and solutions, any barrier to innovation can be conquered. If you are not sure where your innovation problem lies, or if there is a problem at all, then an Innovation Health Checkup might be helpful. It will identify which core areas need development for building effective innovation within your organization. For sustainable innovation practices, learn more about Continuous Improvement Software.

For tips and advice on insuring effective innovation management in your organization, check out what Planbox has to offer.

Contact us for a free first consultation at

Innovation Lessons from Mr. Miyagi

Innovation Lessons from Mr. Miyagi 2560 1748 Digit AI

The Influence of AI on the Finance & Banking Sectors

The Influence of AI on the Finance & Banking Sectors 2560 1748 Fadi Jawdat Al-Hindi

The finance & banking sectors have positioned themselves at the forefront as one of the most developed sectors globally. They are forever willing to innovate and invest in new technologies, and the past decade has seen major investments in developing digital accounts, person-to-person (P2P) payments, advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) practices and more recently lots of investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and block-chain.

AI has a lot of value to bring so it was no surprise when it quickly ushered the new-age financial market. But there are often misconceptions about the role of AI in finance because of its presumed limitations. For example, AI is usually just associated with data analytics, but it’s got a far bigger role that it can play outside of data automation.

AI provides a change in the way customers interact with services. It provides a remedy for the daily challenges that banks face, such as fraud prevention and anomaly detection. We are in the “I WANT IT NOW” era. Consumers want quick solutions to their problems, and due to the volume of online transactions, it’s costly and time-consuming to be handled entirely by a human workforce.

But despite many advancements, this is just the beginning for machine learning and AI in banking; we have only just scratched the surface. Here are some more ways we can leverage it.

Let’s Start with Behavior

Behavior is a key pattern that must be tracked in banking, especially because of the growing transactions conducted online through e-tailers and alternative payment providers, such as PayPal. Each bank defines fraud guidelines differently and these can only be determined by understanding the consumer behavior that’s displayed at your particular institution.

A fraud detection startup based in the UK, Ravelin, uses a unique blend of neural networks and algorithms to basically mimic the human brain. Each individual vertical in that algorithm defines a different aspect of human behavior, such as how long it takes to ‘window shop online’ or how long it takes to enter your card details or your address. Together, they create a metric for each bank that helps them flag a fraudulent interaction.

For example, the threshold for fraud detection at a local bank such as Emirates NBD may be different from the guidelines at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank because of the unique consumer patterns they’ve observed. Behavior – very important for AI in banking!

Moving on to Something We’re Familiar with – Mobile banking
By digitizing the banking experience, the bank reduces its operational costs, creating a convenience-driven solution for consumers with a direct line of communication with the bank through the support of push notifications. The future of mobile banking is something that’s been heavily debated because of concerns around cybersecurity and data protection. But here’s the flipside – the tech sector is growing rapidly, now more than ever, and large investments are being made to perfect the digital world.

The role of AI in mobile banking addresses just that. With fingerprint scanning, voice recognition, facial recognition (and even iris scanning at times!), AI solutions create a robust biometric support for online security. Barclays has enhanced its security offerings by partnering with the Japanese digital solutions group, Hitachi. These futuristic technologies are readily available to us thanks to our smartphones, and modern banking solutions will be prevalent on most smartphones by 2024 (Juniper Research Data).

Customer Service Will Continue to Evolve

Due to their segmented approach and ability to target different audience niches, customer service will become even more personalized. For example, based on a client’s purchase decisions and transaction history, AI can create customized recommendation models that specifically target you based on your individual needs and wants.

AI is not only a cost-effective, time-efficient solution to the daily problems faced by anyone in the financial sector or even the consumer, but an all-rounded protection of our finances. We’re at the cusp of an AI breakthrough in the financial sector. It plays on, and improves, our basic, fundamental building blocks – customer service, security, behavior, and I’m just as excited as you to usher in this new era of banking.

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