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From Problem Child to Model Student: The Triumph of Artificial Intelligence

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The automotive industry, retail, aviation and medicine. These industries (and many others) currently have one thing in common. They’re all preoccupied with artificial intelligence (AI). However, we are not only talking about AI, it is also talking to us. Sometimes her name is Siri, sometimes Alexa or Bixby. As AI is finding its way into our everyday lives, it has become a focus in the media, politics and society. However, we quickly forget that AI isn’t a new invention, but rather an old acquaintance. 

The path from chess player to robot vacuum cleaner

Almost seventy years ago, in 1950, the British computer scientist Alan Turing developed the so-called Turing test. The purpose of the test was to use a sophisticated procedure to prove whether machines were capable of human behavior. A person had a conversation with another unknown person and a machine, without visual or auditory contact. If the person could not clearly say which of the two speakers the machine was, the machine had passed the Turing test. In other words, the machine was certified as having the ability to think and act on a par with humans. However, Alan Turing was unable to implement his theoretical model during his lifetime. He simply lacked the necessary hardware to develop a mature AI. 

It took a long time before the first AI-based applications were developed. The first chatbot “Eliza” was developed in 1965 by the MIT Al Laboratory. Subsequently, the AI industry stagnated in the so-called “AI winter” for several years. Then in 1997 IBM’s AI “Deep-Blue” finally defeated the reigning world chess champion Garri Kasparow. From this point on, the development of the AI picked up speed again.

2002 saw the launch of “Roomba”, the first production-ready vacuum cleaner robot on the market. Today such machines also mow our lawn and occasionally even become internet stars when pets suddenly drive on them.

An end of the AI boom is currently not in sight

Since 2005, AI applications have increased significantly. One reason for this is the rapidly increasing amount of available data. Over the past three years, 90 percent of all data available worldwide has been generated. This rapid development is triggered by the continuing growth and spread of the Internet, social media and the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, the AI boom is also driven by the exponentially increasing computing power, which is becoming increasingly affordable. Machine learning algorithms can process large amounts of data much faster. 

No wonder, then, that AI is making its way into more and more areas of our lives. In the last four years alone, artificial intelligence has proven to be an important aid in areas such as object recognition, speech recognition, reading tests and translations.

But AI has not only moved into our apartments and houses, it can also be found in medicine (disease detection), in shops and service centers (chat-bots) and in cars (voice control). AI is used across all industries, especially in production and customer care. It has been so well integrated into our everyday lives that it is no longer noticed by many.

How AI optimizes retail

The AI boom has proven that the development of intelligent technology is exponential. It is extremely unlikely that this direction will change soon. But what areas of life is AI actually penetrating in its triumphal march? What milestones are ahead of us in the near future? One area in which AI has already revolutionized business is retail. From personalized product suggestions to smart chatbots in customer service to visual product search, artificial intelligence can and is used wherever individual solutions for customers are required. However, the end of the road is far from in sight, quite the opposite. The integration of AI into application areas such as demand management or process optimization leads to significant increases in efficiency, better business results and, last but not least, to happier customers. This is not a dream of the future, but already a reality today with the solutions from aifora.

Interested in finding out where the triumphal march of AI may lead to and where it is already being used in retail today? Then join us at the upcoming ECR Day in Essen on September 18th and attend the speech “Goodbye Excel, gut feeling and intuition. Welcome AI for retail” (held in German), by our colleague Boris von Brevern, Head of Business Development & Sales.

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