The role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Australian businesses

Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning have exploded in popularity. With the release of ChatGPT and other natural language processing models, thousands of everyday Australians have been able to access and converse with the next generation of search and information gathering. There is no doubt that AI will change the way we do things, for better or worse in the coming years. Done right AI has the potential to improve business processes and enable new capabilities.

Chat bots and virtual assistants are already used today by many businesses. Be it on websites, text and messaging or automated phone systems. AI such as ChatGPT could greatly enhance customer experience in these situations. Think of how frustrating it can be to talk to these chat bots currently, they are very rigid and provide answers only when prompted with keywords. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants could provide personalized customer service and support. Machine learning algorithms could also help analyse customer behaviour and preferences to offer personalized recommendations and improve customer satisfaction. This could help drive customer engagement and keep them returning to your business.

With the amount and frequency of cyber-attacks happening in Australia currently, security has never been more at the forefront of businesses and business owner’s minds. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and heuristics can play a huge role in preventing against cyber-attacks. AI can help detect and prevent cyber-attacks and ransomware. By analysing user and program patterns AI could block threats in real time. Machine learning could also be trained on known good and infected files from a huge number of endpoints, it can then be used to detect new and unknown threats. AI could also be used to monitor network traffic and detect potential threats before they even reach staff endpoints. Many of these technologies are in use today, however could be enhanced by AI and ML in the future. This would strengthen the cybersecurity of many Australian businesses.

AI will allow staff to be more efficient and automate repetitive tasks, freeing up time for them to focus on more creative and strategic work. ChatGPT already gives staff a place to ask initial questions and get ideas for writing and creative work. Microsoft has already announced Copilot, this will integrate into the entire Microsoft 365 ecosystem. This will introduce AI to millions of people who use Microsoft 365 every day. Copilot will allow staff to use natural language in software such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook to complete mundane tasks. In word it could help staff to write, edit and summarise their documents faster. It could allow you to clean up your inbox in Outlook, to allow more time responding to critical emails. You could use it in PowerPoint to design your slides and content using natural language commands. Once released, Copilot could skyrocket productivity and save time and resources.

Marketing can be one of the hardest things for a business to get right, it can make or break a business. AI could Improve marketing effectiveness through analysing customer data to identify patterns and predict behavior, helping businesses tailor marketing campaigns to specific customers and market segments. Through plugins and access to popular website and CRM platforms such as WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, Hubspot etc, AI could easily gather the required data for this type of analysis. AI also shines at giving staff a place to start with content creation, optimizing their messages, and helping to identify the best marketing channels for reaching their target audiences.

The future for AI and ML looks bright for helping businesses improve process and security, while also helping staff to create and be more efficient. While this all sounds great, businesses and staff should take care to not take AI at face value. While it is a good starting point and useful as an initial tool, it should not be relied upon as a sole trusted source. AI such as ChatGPT is in its infancy and will inherently get things wrong or provide false information. You should take care to reference and verify information you are provided. That said, as long as you are aware of its limitations it should be a very useful tool for businesses both directly and indirectly.