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Working With Robots: The Pros And Cons Of Using AI For Your Business

Tom Lewis
26 October 2020

Artificial intelligence is now part of our everyday lives, even if we don’t realise it. This is because of its ability to dramatically streamline operational efficiency, cut costs, and provide consumer insight.

However, being an emerging technology means that AI is not without its risks, bugs, and ethical concerns. We’ve compiled a run-down of AI pros and cons to help you decide if implementing these new technologies could provide worthwhile solutions for your business.


Automation of Workload

This is likely the main advantage that comes to mind when considering using AI, especially for a growing business.

AI can help with anything from mundane administration, such as spam filtration, to complex, labour intensive tasks, in the form of industrial robots. Integrating AI into these everyday systems and routines can optimise your efficiency as a business by allowing you to dedicate your time and attention elsewhere.

Eliminating Human Error

There will always be room for error as far as human interference is concerned. When it comes to repetitive tasks such as processing large volumes of data, our attention tends to drop, and mistakes are common.

Computers cannot be faulted for their attention to detail and dedication to the job. They are built to work for hours upon hours without dropping the ball or getting distracted by what to have for dinner that night.

They can also pick up on errors better that we mere humans ever could, as we are so often blind to that which is right in front of us.

All of this, of course, is reliant upon the systems being set up properly and the technology functioning correctly. In other words, human error may be ironed out, but the potential for ‘Unexpected Error #490380953029549’ to arise is ever-present!

Marketing & Insight

AI can also be beneficial in a marketing capacity by helping you to interpret data and track consumer behaviour.

Using this data, you will be better able to predict preferences and offer a more targeted experience by way of recommendations, personalised feeds and UX, etc. This, in turn, could lead to an increase in revenue and profitability by allowing you to drop or alter certain areas of your businesses that are not performing well.

Improved Customer Service

Chat-bots, virtual assistants, and 24-hour AI support can help consumers to find answers to their queries quicker and more easily, rather than waiting in lengthy queues for a solution to a simple question.

AI can also improve customer service by offering fraud prevention, smart searches, and sophisticated recommendations based upon habits and user-defined needs.



The Flipside of AI Customer Service

While there are certain areas of the customer experience that are improved by the implementation of AI, there is another side to this coin.

Consumers can often find artificial intelligence to be impersonal, tedious and lacking in transparency. Depending on the nature of your business, this can be a significant detriment.

For tech-led industries in which automation and instant responsiveness is key, AI can do huge favours for your business. On the other hand, if your business is built upon values of openness and authenticity, then the potentially clunky user experience, and inescapable communication barriers between man and machine, can take a toll on the patience of your consumer.

In an unfortunate catch-22, the more widespread the use of AI becomes, the more it tends to frustrate consumers and cause them to seek out more familiar, human solutions.

The Cost

Though AI may well save money in the long run, there is no way to know for sure if it will be worth the hefty investment.

Without in-house knowledge of the complex systems, business will often have to outsource the process of integrating and maintaining their AI. Due to the complexity and relative novelty of these technologies, experts in this industry are pretty scarce, making AI a high, ongoing expense.

The implementation of AI will also be a lengthy process, requiring lots of input from you as the business owner to ensure that it matches your needs. During this time, you will likely be less focused on other areas of the business, which may have an impact on revenue.

Technical Complexity

The programs associated with AI will likely need to be updated and repaired regularly in order to adapt to changes in your business, the industry, and to stay on top of new technologies and device compatibility. This presents a lot of new, reactive work.

There is also always the risk of malfunctions or failures, which by nature are unpredictable and pose a threat to the stability of your business operations, particularly if important data is lost.

There is also the issue of bad data. AI is built upon acquired data, and it is important that this data be consistent and reliable. Even algorithmic data is collected from human records and figures, so there is always the potential for this data to be fickle, unclear, or biased.

Ethical Concerns

Finally, there are certain ethical considerations that need to be acknowledged when using AI. These include job losses, consumer privacy, security, and the effect of machine-led communication on the psyche and welfare of consumers.

There are also the yet unknown complications that could arise as a result of the ever-increasing intelligence of these smart computers, and their potential for independent thought. (If used irresponsibly, it is not out of the question that we might one day find ourselves crossing over into the realms of science fiction!)

It is important to keep these risks in mind, but we must also remember that we live in a world in which AI provides imperative solutions to other pressing global concerns. For that reason, AI is at its best when used in conjunction with, rather than in place of humans.

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