“Progress in the field has been lightning fast – today, everybody who’s anybody in the Valley is racing to develop and use machine learning, neural networks, natural language processing and a range of other sub-fields to innovate and monetize. Already that race has seen intense jockeying for position, with early leaders and laggards swapping positions. Here are 10 companies making big bets on AI.”
“Ng’snew courseis available through Coursera, appropriately, and launches on November 14. And while it’s open to anyone, it’s principally geared toward business professionals who want to “better understand AI” and how it can impact their business — that is to say, executives interested in learning to select AI projects that’ll yield a return.
“Artificial intelligence will transform every industry, just as electricity did 100 years ago,” Ng wrote in a forthcoming blog post, pointing to a study by theMcKinsey Global Institute. AI will result in a 1.2 percent increase in gross domestic product growth (GDP) over the next 10 years, the researcher firm predicted this year, and help capture an additional 20-25 percent in net economic benefits — $13 trillion globally — in the next 12.”
“To ascend to future dominance, Baidu needs to find a new way to grow—and fast. Fortunately, the world has provided Li with just such an opportunity: “the era of artificial intelligence,” he tells me. Li is betting Baidu’s future on the promise that he can own the future of artificial intelligence, in Asia and beyond.
Like America’s Big Five, Baidu has substantial computing brawn, a suite of AI-powered services called Baidu Brain, and a fast-improving voice assistant platform called DuerOS.
Baidu’s biggest advantage is one of place and time. Li is introducing his strategy within a culture that has few ethical hang-ups around AI development. In the West, where people are concerned about the biases with which we program our algorithms and the speed at which they’ll disrupt traditional career paths, new technology emerges more slowly. In China, it’s the reverse: There’s public pressure for companies to move as fast as possible. In July, the Chinese government issued a development plan that aims to make it the world leader in AI by 2030.”
“Gregg Johnson, CEO of Invoca said, “People are using voice to interact with the world around them more than ever, and they’re using mobile phones, home devices and even landlines to call businesses at staggering rates.”
‘Customer conversations have been an underused, yet valuable, data source for marketers as they seek to meet and even predict the subtlest of consumer needs and intents. Brands will differentiate themselves from the competition by leveraging rich insights from conversations to optimize digital marketing investments and improve the customer experience.’”
“For ecommerce managers looking to implement AI into their own product information management, it will be important to minimise disruption to their existing processes. They need to identify solutions that do not impact on their existing architectural landscape…
AI solutions can go a long way to helping online retailers make better use of the vast amounts of additional unstructured data that is being collected and stored but not utilised to its full potential. Those same algorithms that are being taught to recognise and categorise products, can also be applied to many other back office functions within retail operations, that are simply too cumbersome to be managed by humans.”
“AnswerDash takes this one step further and they use the customer’s context, i.e. which page you are on or where you are in a mobile app etc, to predict your most likely question and the answer you need given your context.
On AnswerDash’s website it says that taking their approach can “reduce your support tickets by 30% to 50% and increase sales by 10% to 30%”.
TireBuyer is an online car tyre company in the United States. They wanted to improve their customers buying experience so only installed AnswerDash on their checkout page. The team at TireBuyer ran an A/B test and found that AnswerDash’s technology allowed them to increase revenue per visitor by 13% within only a few months.
Around 60% of all calls into your contact centre or emails into your support desk come about as a result of a customer not being able to find what they are looking for on your website.”
“In an effort to raise the bar on the consumer experience, many in the retail industry have slowly begun integrating more aspects of AI, including machine learning and natural language processing. What AI essentially does for retailers is help them to improve customer service. AI enables retailers to learn more about consumer preferences by having technology perform tasks that would typically require some level of human intelligence.
Artifical intelligence startup Fluid AI’s CEO Abhinav Agarwal commented on how these new types of sites will help move the ball for consumers and retailers. ‘Fully-cognitive websites will drastically change buying behavior and selection,’ said Agarwal. ‘We see the average spend of a buyer, per session, significantly increasing with these websites. Cognitive sites take consumers through a much smarter funnel, allowing them to buy before user fatigue starts to kick in or the user gets distracted.'”
“WeChat, the WhatsApp of China emerged in 2011 as a social platform offering free chat, voice messaging, photo sharing and gaming.
By 2016 WeChat secured its position as the largest messaging app by MAU (monthly active users) of 889M(in China). There are many reasons for this. However, to a large extent it is because it is the go-to app for almost everything in China.
A person could use WeChat for hailing a cab, booking a doctor’s appointment, paying the water bill or simply buying the latest dress that is trending. That’s because WeChat has an API that lets businesses integrate with it and market themselves in myriad ways. Most transactions happen within WeChat without ever having to go out of it.
As a result, more than 10 Million business accounts currently exist in it, some exclusively without any website presence. They directly converse and transact with their customers, all of it happening within the same environment.”
“The update lets iOS users snap a photo of a garment or fashion accessory with their device camera or pull in an existing outfit shot or Instagram screengrab (say) from their camera roll and have the app show clothes items that are at least in the general fashion ballpark of whatever it is they’re trying to find.
Asos says the visual search will be rolled out to their Android app “soon”.
The company says 80 per cent of UK traffic for ASOS comes from a mobile device, as do almost 70 per cent of UK orders — with consumers spending 80 minutes per month on average in the app.”
“The partnership comes at a significant time for both companies. Baidu is investing heavily in AI technology and applications as it looks to strengthen its position as an AI-first company, while JD.com is looking to increase its market share in the ecommerce market as it gains ground on rival Alibaba.”
“Forty-five percent of retailers are planning to use AI in the next few years, according to the latest research from Boston Retail Partners. This AI integration will be done through the use of chatbots or digital assistants and primarily used for customer enhancement services.
•Optimizing the customer experience — 55 percent
•Increasing customer loyalty — 50 percent
•Improving mobile shopping experience — 45 percent
•Creating a seamless experience across channels — 42 percent
“While it is still early days for AI technology, Alibaba has made no secret of its ambitions in the space. However, Alibaba faces competition from its rival Chinese internet companies Baiduand Tencent, both of which are investing heavily in AI.
Baidu, which is in the process of becoming an AI-first company, this year announced a major breakthrough in technology development after successfully teaching a virtual agent to learn a language from scratch. The move is viewed as a significant step towards teaching machines to learn like humans.
Last month, Tencent announced it would open a second AI lab, basing its new centre in Seattle, as the firm steps up its research into AI, machine learning and deep learning.”