AI has a place in your business if you’re careful about deploying it

We are still in the early days but the benefit artificial intelligence (AI) is having on businesses is immense. The ability to reference information from a massive corpus of data nearly instantly has clear benefits across the various departments of any company beyond just chatbots. This has seen as many as 55 percent of firms in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region adopting the technology.

This is according to Kaspersky which surveyed companies globally for its Connecting the future of business research report for 2024.

The adoption of artificial intelligence in the business world highlights that platforms operated by OpenAI, Google and others, have moved from the quirky chatbots that popularised the technology to real business solutions. Businesses can now deploy artificial intelligence models trained on bespoke data to improve business processes and drive efficiency.

One of the most popular ways businesses use AI, as per a Forbes survey, is customer service. With a more intelligent AI chat platform, customers can more easily log queries, manage their accounts and resolve problems. Of course, that’s if a business invests the time and resources required to train such a platform and ensures that a team of humans is on hand to take action where needed.

The functionality of artificial intelligence in a business extends beyond customer engagement. Given the correct data, AI platforms could be used to design and improve products. NASA used off-the-shelf AI software to design spacecraft parts that were tougher than parts designed by a human. This doesn’t mean that AI will replace rocket scientists (at least not yet) but rather showcases how said scientists and engineers can use AI to improve their work.

Solutions driven by AI can also improve business processes by spotting potential inefficiencies or automating certain processes. This of course all depends on how much data the AI has access to and access to data is what seems to be causing hesitancy among some businesses. Transmitting the data needed to train AI means that a cybercriminals could pick that data up for themselves.

As Kaspersky notes, while AI adoption has grown, so has adoption of the Internet of Things. This makes a lot sense as IoT devices can be used to gather and send data but if not properly secured, they become doorways for ne’er-do-wells.

“Because AI and IoT have become so widespread, they are vulnerable to new vectors of cyberattacks. According to the research, 16-17% of organisations think AI and IoT are ‘very difficult’ or ‘extremely difficult’ to protect (18% and 16% in META), while only 8% of the AI users and 12% of the IoT owners believe their companies are fully protected (9% and 14% in META),” Kaspersky reports.

Adoption of various interconnected technologies. Source: Kaspersky.

Chief risk officers who participated in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Outlook Survey in 2023 say that risk management practices haven’t kept pace with AI’s development. The fact that AI is so easy to trick into divulging data it shouldn’t – even with guardrails in place – is a massive concern for any business owner. The fact that this data could be accessed by nearly anybody, using plain language also isn’t helping the technology’s cause.

Furthermore, we know precious little about the black box that is AI and beyond the hallucinations large language models are prone to, unintentional biases could be introduced. We’ve already seen facial recognition fail miserably in the legal sphere and while AI has improved a lot, humans inevitably train AI and humans are incredibly biased.

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns about artificial intelligence comes in the form of it being a tool used by cybercriminals. Not only can AI help cybercriminals craft better phishing emails but it can also assist in developing malware.

More than that, firms that have deployed AI should be wary of leaving the data used to train or feed that AI unattended.

“Interconnected technologies bring immense business opportunities but they also usher in a new era of vulnerability to serious cyberthreats. With an increasing amount of data being collected and transmitted, cybersecurity measures must be strengthened. Enterprises must protect critical assets, build customer confidence amid the expanding interconnected landscape, and ensure there are adequate resources allocated to cybersecurity so they can use the new solutions to combat the incoming challenges of interconnected tech. Businesses integrating AI and IoT into their infrastructure need to protect it with Container Security and Extended Detection and Response solutions, to detect cyberthreats at early stages and provide effective defense,” comments Ivan Vassunov, VP of corporate products at Kaspersky.

Cybersecurity and AI have been bedfellows for many years already. The technology has been used to passively scan for anomalies which information security teams can then analyse.

There are still many risks for AI developers to address and the threat of job losses is a problem that cannot be ignored especially with the global economy seemingly spiraling downward constantly.

However, the potential artificial intelligence has to improve and evolve businesses is becoming more readily apparent. Like most things though, businesses should be thoughtful in their adoption of the technology. A bit of hesitancy can be healthy after all.

[Image – Jo_Johnston from Pixabay]


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