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Artificial Intelligence & Co - What Does It All Mean?

AI as part of the overall concept of Digital Transformation

What Is Artificial Intelligence?
30.06.2020
Artificial Intelligence
Digital Transformation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and in this context also Cognitive Services, Neural Networks, Deep or Machine Learning; all these are terms we hear and read more and more often lately. Yet -- contrary to what many believe -- AI is not a new phenomenon of the digital age. AI concepts have been around for much longer. As early as 1956, the term was first used and coined by U.S. computer scientist John McCarthy at the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence. And as early as 1950, Alan Turing formulated his idea for a procedure to find out whether the thinking ability of machines could correspond to that of humans. The methods and algorithms of Artificial Intelligence are therefore basically old hat.

And Why Just Now?

But why are these topics surfacing so vehemently right now? The answer to this question is simple: AI & Co are receiving so much attention because we now have the technical means (unlike Turing) to make AI usable. These are exponentially increased computing power, cloud computing and the ability to collect, store and analyze extremely large amounts of data. Moreover, the potential of these now feasible AI applications is extremely exciting.


In this respect, Artificial Intelligence should be seen as the next stage of Digital Transformation. AI has long since left the research labs and is taking over more and more tasks in our everyday lives. It supports us, gives us tips and recommendations, and makes our lives easier and more convenient in many areas, for example through digital assistants, cooperative robots, autonomous vehicles, or drones. Smartphones tell users the traffic situation for the way to work at the right time without their manual intervention. Continuous intelligent analysis of machine data allows optimized and predictive maintenance. And on websites, we communicate with chatbots that act as the first point of contact for online stores.

So What Exactly Is AI?

At first, the idea of AI is quite simple: Artificial Intelligence imitates human abilities to see, hear, analyze and understand - for example, for image recognition or natural language processing - and applies them to large amounts of data. In this way, activities that require cognitive skills can be performed by machines, and new insights can also be gained that were previously inaccessible - for example, when it comes to learning more about customer behavior. What offers can companies make to their customers and at what (appropriate) time? What conclusions can be drawn from customer behavior about the further development of the company's own portfolio? The list of possible questions and areas of application seems endless. The sub-disciplines of Artificial Intelligence include machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL). In the Machine Learning sub-discipline, IT systems can use algorithms to recognize patterns in data sets. The insights gained in the process are used to answer new questions, allowing the software to learn independently and develop new solutions. Deep Learning, on the other hand, refers to neural networks that are designed to imitate human thought processes and can solve classification problems (recognize and react to facts) on text, sound and voice, image or video files by training them in advance.

Possible Applications of Cognitive Skills

See & Understand: Text

Artificial Intelligence can help predict the probability of success of product, service or project descriptions. It can also support processes in which humans have to qualify large quantities of text, for example, proofreaders or editors. Chatbots also help improve customer portals and content management systems.

Listen & Understand: Acoustic recognition and speech recognition

AI enables what is known as predictive maintenance. For example, machine noises can be analyzed and anomalies detected in order to predict failure probabilities. Another area of application is the use of voice assistants as a supplement to customer portals or as a relief for important resources.

See & Understand: Photos & Videos

Artificial Intelligence makes it possible to recognize objects in images, photos and videos as well as moods (a person is in a good or bad mood) and classify them accordingly. For example, in returns management, returned items that are difficult to classify unambiguously (for example, jewelry without a barcode) can be automatically compared with product catalogs and classified correctly. Automatic archiving and tagging of video material is also possible: Objects as well as associated scenes and locations can be recognized and classified accordingly in the content management system.

Of course, these are just a few generic examples of the sensible use of artificial intelligence in a corporate context. Various concrete application examples can be found here.

AI - Not a Short Hype

All of this shows that Artificial Intelligence is no longer a dream of the future. The technical possibilities for realizing AI projects are there and AI has already arrived in a growing number of companies. Due to the possible applications that already exist today and the continuing rapid technological development, it is becoming very clear that artificial intelligence is not a short-lived hype, but has substance and will decisively shape the future in the business environment as well. AI is not an end in itself, but an intelligent way to realize efficient solutions for business challenges. Or to put it another way: Artificial Intelligence is already an extremely useful tool today that can support the business success of companies.

AI Services

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a great opportunity and enables IT to be taken to the next, intelligent stage of development. However, many companies are still hesitant to implement concrete AI projects and are unsure. But the time is right for AI - don't hesitate!

AI in Practice

Be inspired by our application examples for AI. Discover our AI cases from practice.

Written by

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Niels Pothmann
Expert for Artificial Intelligence