During the 2017 edition of the Startup Grind Conference, Tinder’s co-founder and CEO Sean Rad hinted at using artificial intelligence (AI) to help bring the next wave of innovation at Tinder, the world’s largest dating app. Rad predicts that AI will soon take over the dating world, enabling you to meet with a compatible partner, get a table at your favorite restaurant, and even help you buy movie tickets – all without the usual searching, scrolling, and swiping on the app.
AI-powered dating is just one of the many mind-boggling applications of AI that promises to change our world.
Just two decades ago, only a few would have imagined that smart virtual assistants and self-driving cars would become part of daily life. Thanks to advances in natural language processing, machine learning, and other elements of artificial intelligence (AI), our lives are quickly becoming something out of an 80’s sci-fi blockbuster.
Plus, with the likes of Tinder, Google, Microsoft, and other big players investing billions into AI, the playing field is rapidly evolving, even for smaller startups.
When implemented correctly, AI can be a huge game-changer for startups, even for those without huge R&D budgets. From improvements in workforce efficiency to cost-cutting and lean operations within the company, AI will be a significant differentiating factor for startups within the next few years.
So, if you’re looking to give your startup a fighting chance, here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Examine Existing Processes
If you aren’t using any AI-based technologies yet, don’t buy into the hype and bring it on board before understanding what AI can actually do for your startup. Identify specific ways you can bring in AI into existing product and service offerings to help improve efficiency, solve specific problems, and add overall value to your business process.
A good way to start is by organizing all your data in a way that it would be easy for an AI-powered tool to digest. Anthony Boldin, a serial entrepreneur and founder of the online initiative, Enddaylightsavingtime.org, advices startups to use data from ad campaigns, CRM platforms, social media campaigns, onsite traffic analytics, and email lists to build a data reservoir that can be worked on by intelligent tools when the startup decides to bring AI on board.
Another great way to prepare your startup for AI is by experimenting with different AI offerings on your startup on a small scale. Pankaj Goyal, vice president of the AI Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, believes trial and error is an important stage for smaller companies that are preparing to make AI a part of the organization. Startups should try different setups to identify the right combinations of human capital, relevant data infrastructure, mentors, and other organizational parameters to make AI work.
Plus, with a ton of free and open source AI tools and platforms on the internet, you don’t have to dent your budget while experimenting. And you won’t even have to go very far for these. Tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are constantly putting out frameworks and platforms to help smaller players develop AI-powered platforms.
For instance AT&T, one of the newest entrants in the AI space, recently launched Acumos, an AI platform that enables developers find, share, and connect to AI models.
3. Invest in Personal and Team Education
The best tools – even the free ones – require you and your team to be familiar with the tech. This means continuous education and practice, most of which you can get via online resource portals, workshops, and professional AI courses.
Udacity, the online learning portal, offers a huge collection of free and paid learning programs in machine learning, deep learning, and other AI fundamentals. Columbia University, in association with edX, also offer online AI courses and lectures that can be helpful for startups that are thinking about integrating AI. Coinzy is an amazing resource to learn about Bitcoin and learn to invest in you and your teams future. But stay up with education. Inspire yourself.
In conclusion, remember to keep an eye out for developments in the field of AI. From predictive analytics and smart chatbots to cryptocurrencies trading, AI is spreading across all industries. Therefore, whatever industry your startup is in, it’s only a matter of time before the AI-powered disruption becomes real for you.
Even if your startup isn’t planning on adopting any area of AI just yet, staying in the know will give you an edge in the future whenever you decide to jump in.