There’s hardly a company that won’t be faced with the impact of AI on a massive scale in the coming years, says Frank Verhage.
Ever since the ChatGPT chatbot provides fairly clever answers to even the craziest questions and ‘computer-generated’ images win art contests, artificial intelligence has been on everyone’s lips. For mid-size companies, now is the time to take a serious look at AI.
When a medium-sized company needs to restructure, there are two timelines. In the short term, it’s often about saving the company from an economic collapse, for example by creating liquidity quickly. But once this first hurdle has been cleared, it’s time for the long-term perspective. AI must be given a permanent place in this plan.
There are often opportunities for AI applications that aren’t obvious at first glance, but I’d wager a good bet that there’s hardly a company that won’t be massively impacted by the effects of AI in the coming years. This can be positive if the company finds good ways to use AI, or negative if its competitiveness or even its business model is challenged by AI concepts from more innovative competitors.
It could be argued that not every SME needs restructuring. But that’s not true. We just call it business transformation. Any company that wants to secure its long-term future would do well to undergo permanent business transformation. In this context, it’s important to investigate the possible applications of AI not once, but time and time again.
Many an established mid-sized company may need to jump over its shadow and put aside its reservations about AI. The term alone can sound very far from its own business for some reason. In this case, it’s necessary to play out concrete application scenarios. AI can be used, for example, in customer communication on the telephone or via a chatbot, in the optimization of production and logistics, in authentication and security systems or in the maintenance of machines and equipment. The list is often longer than you think when you look closely.
In parts of academia and the general press, AI continues to be treated as a philosophical subject, discussing the battle between artificial and human intelligence and speculating on whether AI could one day subjugate humanity. However, these esoteric digressions shouldn’t divert attention from the economic benefits of operational AI applications.
For example, all Brainport companies would do well to take a closer look at Google’s Language Model for Dialog Applications (Lamda). Lamda is actually the competitor of the technology used in ChatGPT. Crucially, Google has announced that it will provide an application programming interface (API) for Lamda. It means that in the future, companies will be able to use this AI technology as part of their applications without having to invest in artificial intelligence themselves. It mainly provides generative AI, ie AI that generates appealing texts.
The core of the IT industry around Eindhoven offers us a huge opportunity to make our mark in the field of artificial intelligence. The undeniable spirit of optimism in our Dutch Silicon Valley must be put to work. It’s now up to us to recognize the signs of the times and make AI a strong driver of the local economy.