Fact or Fiction: The 3 Biggest Misconceptions About Artificial Intelligence
Alan Pelz-Sharpe

By: Alan Pelz-Sharpe on January 17th, 2019

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Fact or Fiction: The 3 Biggest Misconceptions About Artificial Intelligence

Machine Learning  |  Artificial Intelligence (AI)

While Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to be a very powerful tool in information management, the topic is so wrapped up in hyperbole and confusion that it can be challenging to cut through all the noise, causing many to fear the complexity of AI.

As you may know, AIIM recently launched a new training course titled Practical AI for the Information Professional. The challenge presented to my colleague Kashyap and I was to take a very complex and hyped topic and make it understandable and relevant to the real world needs of the business -- cutting through the hype, demystifying the technology and providing sound advice and guidance.

What we found in our research was that AI is not as complicated or daunting as most believe. We discovered in our dozens of conversations with folks from organizations of all sizes that there are three major misunderstandings about the use and value of AI.

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May this advice help you in your own AI journey:

1: You Don’t Need an Army of PhD’s

There’s no question that it can be hard to find machine learning experts and data scientists, but a common misconception is that AI projects are led and staffed by a small army of PhD types. That’s simply not the case. While you do need some of these skills, it’s even more critical that you leverage your business insights and awareness. What your Artificial Intelligence implementation really needs are business analysts, a project manager, a data analyst, and often some legal input.

Most of the work of being performed by even the most specialized AI people is not focused on writing and tweaking algorithms and models, rather it’s spent preparing, labeling and cleaning data. This kind of work does not require your team to have advanced math skills. They simply need to understand your business processes and figure out how they can be improved with Artificial Intelligence.

Most people are not building an AI system from scratch. Instead, they are buying something that has already been built and optimizing it for their particular needs. Artificial Intelligence offers fantastic opportunities for traditional IT and business folk to get involved and lead the way.

2: AI Projects Are All about Continuous Learning

Perhaps the biggest misunderstanding regarding AI projects is that, once they go live and into production, you walk away and the system does all its amazing work for you. That’s simply not the case. To get the most out of your AI system, it will need to be monitored and optimized over time. This requires you feeding it with new data to improve its results.

AI has a very different lifecycle to traditional business applications and that requires you to plan, staff and budget accordingly. Going live and into production is just the beginning of your AI journey.

3: AI Increases in Value Over Time

Finally, we often find that many people underestimate or misunderstand the value that AI can bring to their organizations.

Some organizations are now adopting AI and more still are running pilot programs. In most cases, these are not massive digital transformation engagements. Instead, they are small, pragmatic projects that target specific areas that can benefit from more automation and better insight. The motivation is often to improve sales or productivity.

While it’s true that AI can deliver a positive return on investment quickly, it’s better than that. Where many traditional IT applications depreciate in performance and value over time until they are eventually replaced or removed, AI does the exact opposite. It gets better and better over time and grows in value. If you plan for that in your business case and get started early, AI could be one of the best investments your business will ever make.

The bottom line is that today there is a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence but surprisingly little actually happening in organizations, both public and private. That’s soon about to change and you have an opportunity to be one of the first to lead the way in making information management truly intelligent!

You don’t have to be scared of the term AI – you don’t need to be a math wizard to implement it. You can start small and you should definitely start early. While AI won’t totally transform your organization overnight, it can help you resolve your business problems in the short-term and continue to deliver more and more value over time.


Free eBook: How to Fit Artificial Intelligence into Your Information Management Strategy

About Alan Pelz-Sharpe

Extensive experience in information & process management working with businesses and IT executives to analyse and define needs and priorities. Also advising technology vendors large and small to understand specific buyer patterns and goto market requirements. Over the years my clients have included FedEx, The Mayo Clinic, AstraZeneca, Shell & BP and public organisations including the Federal Reserve Board, Global Intelligence Agencies, State and National Governments.