Artificial intelligence is already here. Soon it will be everywhere.

Over the last five years, artificial intelligence (AI) has exploded out of the research laboratory and is thriving in the outside world. AI technologies have become so successful, so rapidly, that their presence is now ubiquitous in many sectors. AI algorithms drive the systems that choose the content displayed on social media feeds, rank product recommendations on e-commerce sites, and allow smart speakers and digital personal assistants to parse and respond to spoken questions. So far, the most significant impact of AI has been felt in the consumer space, but according to a new report from DHL, AI technologies are poised to transform the B2B economy too.

To understand the potential of AI, say the report’s authors, it’s important to recognise that the term refers broadly to human intelligence exhibited by machines. These systems make use of data and learning frameworks to solve the kinds of problems humans solve, interact with humans and the world as a human does, and create ideas like humans. It’s vital to understand the capabilities and limitations of today’s AI techniques. Computing systems of the past were, by and large, deterministic in nature. They were designed to achieve specific objectives and operated using explicit rules created by their developers, where a set of inputs generated a fixed set of results. While they excelled in speed and accuracy, conventional computer systems were unable to learn from experience or find new, creative solutions to previously unseen challenges. AI shifts this paradigm by demonstrating the ability to perceive, translate and understand the content of vast amounts of data generated by individuals, systems and businesses every day.

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