Artificial Intelligence is a tech buzzword that has been on many people’s lips for a long time. Gone are the days (mostly) of the nightmare vision of robot overlords created by science fiction writers. Instead, current news is filled more with how AI will be used to generate content and answer questions. In this piece, we take a deeper look at what is meant these days by artificial intelligence and how it is being used within the modern business world to improve the world of work.
What do we mean by artificial intelligence?
Gartner defines AI as “applying advanced analysis and logic-based techniques, including machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing, to interpret events, support and automate decisions, and take action”.
Within the term Artificial Intelligence, there are four main types of AI, which move from the most basic to the most complex.
At this time, AI is still at the Reactive AI and Limited Memory level. Theory of mind is considered the next milestone in the evolution of AI, but self-aware AI is still a long way off.
Within the current AI levels, there are a number of different technologies being used to train computing hardware and software to think intelligently:
- Machine Learning (ML) – This technique focuses on the use of data and algorithms to imitate the way that humans learn, gradually improving its accuracy.
- Natural Learning Processing (NLP) – This technology involves the ability to turn text or audio speech into encoded, structured information, based on an appropriate ontology. The structured data may be used simply to classify a document, as in “this report describes a laparoscopic cholecystectomy,” or it may be used to identify findings, procedures, medications, allergies and participants.
- Automation and Robotics – Also known as Robotic Processing Automation, this is a digital enablement technology that leverages a combination of user interface (UI) and surface-level features to create scripts that automate routine and predictable data transcription work.
- Machine Vision (MV) – This technology provides imaging-based automatic inspection and analysis for applications such as automation inspection, process control, and robot guidance.
- Data Mining – This is the process of uncovering patterns and other valuable information from large data sets.
What are the business benefits of harnessing the power of artificial intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence offers a wide range of benefits at the evolving global business community, industry and individual business levels. Both strategic and operational in nature, these benefits include:
- Increasing competitive edge – Data mining and deep learning processes allow businesses to process large amounts of data to identify patterns and correlations to give them a competitive edge.
- Automating tasks and processes – The automation of mundane, manual tasks is one of the most common applications of AI. RPA is very beneficial for managing repetitive tasks.
- Improving efficiency – AI is an extremely beneficial tool for predicting the performance of processes and systems. It allows businesses to simulate different scenarios and adjust operational activities in order to improve efficiency.
- Reducing human error – AI techniques can help reduce human error. Correctly programmed, an AI system will react to programmed scenarios, in the same way, every time. This means that there should be no mistakes as a result of human error.
- Anticipating problems – AI techniques such as machine learning and data mining will improve a business’s capabilities with predicting problems.
- Saving costs – If a business utilises AI to automate mundane tasks, improve efficiency, reduce human error and anticipate problems, it should ultimately see a reduction in operating costs.
To this end, both not-for-profit and commercial organisations, including Microsoft, have made huge financial investments in research companies that are building artificial intelligence capabilities.
What is OpenAI and ChatGPT?
OpenAI is an AI research and deployment company that was founded in 2015. Their mission is “to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity”. Products they have developed include:
- GPT-4: GPT-4 (fourth generation General Pre-trained Transformer) is OpenAI’s most advanced AI system. It is a multimodal large language model.
- ChatGPT: an AI chatbot, based on GPT-3.5, that interacts in a conversational way. Its dialogue format allows it to answer follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge incorrect premises and reject inappropriate requests.
- DALL.E 2: a deep learning model that can create realistic images and art from a description in natural language.
Introducing Copilot, Microsoft’s AI productivity tool
Microsoft’s vision to “democratize AI as a platform” began in 2016 and since then they have invested billions of dollars in their long-term partnership with OpenAI. This partnership is aimed at accelerating “AI breakthroughs to ensure these benefits are broadly shared with the world.”
In February 2023, Microsoft announced the launch of a new AI-powered Bing search engine and Edge browser, “your copilot for the web”. This was followed up in March with the announcement of a number of product applications of Microsoft 365 Copilot, Microsoft’s prompt-powered artificial intelligence (AI) productivity tool powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT Technology.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot is being heralded as the “world’s first copilot in both CRM and ERP” and aims to take “advantage of recent advancements in generative AI to automate (these) tedious tasks and unlock the full creativity of the workforce”.
Microsoft Copilot promises to bring many new features to its business applications portfolio, including Dynamics 365 Business Central, Dynamics 365 Sales and Dynamics 365 Customer Service.
- The creation of AI-generated product listings for online commerce sites such as Shopify. Copilot will create product descriptions that can be tailored to your brand and easily customised to your preferred writing style and tone. Once approved, Copilot will publish the new product listing to your online commerce site in a few clicks.
- AI can help write email responses to customers and create an email summary of a Teams meeting in Outlook.
- Copilot will draft contextual answers to customer service queries in both chat and email, in addition to providing an interactive chat experience.
Microsoft 365 Copilot
Microsoft 365 Copilot is being introduced as “Your Copilot for Work”. Copilot is being integrated into Microsoft 365 in two ways. Firstly, it will work alongside the user, embedded into the Microsoft 365 apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams, to increase productivity and improve user skills. In addition, Microsoft have also introduced Business Chat. This is a bot that pulls all the information that the user is looking for into one place using natural language prompts such as “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy”. Once the information is surfaced, the user can ask Copilot to produce a slide deck or write an email, all of which the user has the final say on what to keep, modify or discard.
Microsoft Security Copilot
Microsoft Security Copilot was announced at the inaugural Microsoft Secure Event as the “first security product to enable defenders to move at the speed and scale of AI”.
There is currently no exact date announced for the general availability of these Copilot products. Some of them are currently in public preview and you can view demos of them by clicking here.
How can TVision help you?
It is clear that harnessing the power of artificial intelligence has tangible business benefits. It has the potential to help you streamline your financial processes and, as a result, achieve greater business efficiency and effectiveness. TVision, as one of the UK’s go-to partners for Business Central, can help you to both implement Business Central in your business successfully and advise you on how best to use AI, including RPA, in conjunction with your ERP system, to achieve your business goals. Contact us to find out more.
As well as the sources cited within the links:
A Guide to Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise (TechTarget)
6 potential benefits of artificial intelligence in your business