In science fiction, artificial intelligence (AI) systems are often bent on overthrowing human civilization, or they are benevolent caretakers of our species. In reality, machine-learning is already with us, evolving out of search engines like Google and seeping into our everyday lives without much fanfare.
To highlight exactly how AI is debuting in a less-than-Hollywood (but still quite impactful) style, Business News Daily spoke with six companies rolling out AI products that will recalibrate and streamline everyday business operations. From conducting marketing research to monitoring for nefarious activity on stock exchanges, these systems can do it all. [See Related Story: AI Comes to Work: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Business]
In stock exchanges around the world, plenty of people are trying to tilt the table in their favor to ensure their investments pay off. Monitoring and policing this sort of activity is a key part of maintaining investors' faith in the stock exchange, but traditional methods have proved inadequate to address all the malfeasance that's out there.
"Markets can be manipulated and, unfortunately, humans are constantly trying to come up with new ways to do so," Amir Husain, founder and CEO of SparkCognition, said. "The idea behind AI-based monitoring is to a) know about all the existing methods of market manipulation and guard against those and b) to learn about new forms of market manipulation and alert analysts to potential abuse."
Husain's team believes their system will beef up the monitoring power of regulators who oversee exchanges without inundating them with false positives and constant alerts. However, the system is designed to quickly catch on to both old and new techniques of gaming the market. Husain said that SparkCognition's AI could have even prevented larger wrongdoings, like the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR) rigging scandal.
"Better oversight and protection to prevent manipulation helps everyone, including the institution in whose name a lone actor may be engaging in illegal and improper trading practices," Husain said. "If you are a business owner … [of a] publicly traded [company], AI-based surveillance systems will protect you by preventing scenarios where your stock is used in a scam. If you are an average investor, these systems will give you more reason to trust the value of your portfolio."
Proper analysis of keyword trends, algorithmic changes, point-of-sale data and so on is key to marketing success, but poring over the ever-increasing mountain of data is time-consuming and expensive. To help improve the efficiency of the process, Equals3 developed their product known as Lucy, a marketing research companion powered in part by the famous Jeopardy! champ, IBM Watson.
Incorporating a blend of Watson's services and Equals3's own services developed in-house, Lucy is a centralized AI that can pull up exactly the information an analyst requires. (Think Alexa on steroids and with a deep fixation on marketing and advertising.)
"Lucy is a combination of our own stuff and some amazing services from IBM's Watson to create this unique solution that brings together all the owned and licensed content, structured and unstructured, to our customers," Scott Litman, managing partner at Equals3, said. "You can ask her, 'How much did BMW spend month by month?' Lucy knows. 'What was the daily web traffic for Ford.com?' Lucy knows. I can ask her for keyword research and she knows."
The initial license for Lucy costs $50,000 for a year and allows for five users to operate within one brand or marketing category. Lucy comes with a basic set of knowledge and understanding from the get-go – U.S. Census Data, website analytics, social media management, keyword research – but will learn and adapt to the specific uses for which it is applied.