What can AI and machine learning do for your business?

Kamalpreet Badasha

person working on laptop and talking on smartphone

 

As businesses look for new ways to stay ahead of the curve, they’re turning to AI and machine learning. But what’s realistic, and what’s just hype? And how can AI and machine learning actually benefit your business?

In our latest Cloudspotting podcast episode, hosts Alex Galbraith and Sai Iyer, who are both Solutions Architects at Rackspace Technology®, are joined by AI & U podcast host Mark McQuade, Practice Manager, Data Science and Engineering at Rackspace Technology to discuss AI and machine learning.

Tune in to hear about the following topics:

  • How the data explosion is helping businesses
  • Exploring the meaning of AI and machine learning
  • AI capabilities for business use, for example churn prediction
  • Using chatbot technology to increase business efficiency
  • Advice on getting started in a career in AI and machine learning
  • How edge technology improves smart device performance
  • The benefits to humanity of data democratization

Sai begins by describing how businesses are exploring the opportunities to monetize with data. “We've had discussions with customers talking about the explosion of data and data analytics. We've had customers asking us, how can they enhance their products? How can they expand their applications? And how to use predictive programming?”

With businesses changing how they use data, Mark explains what this looks like as he defines AI and machine learning. “Machine learning is a subset of AI, and deep learning is a subset of that. It's computers making predictions without being explicitly programmed to do so using historical data and maybe new data.

“What does AI mean to me philosophically? It’s the possibilities of being able to do something that you could have never imagined doing 20 years ago.”

One particularly interesting area is voice communication, as Mark says, “The next frontier of communication is voice. Everyone's using an Alexa, Google Home or a voice enabled device. Voice is becoming readily available and that's the way the world is going with everything being voice enabled.”

Another area that is gaining traction is edge technology, with Alex sharing how he is securing his home. “I've recently put in a camera system but I didn't want all my footage sent up to the cloud, or permanently streaming. ML is built into my cameras so it recognizes vehicles and people.

“Pre-processing at the edge means keeping only the data points you need. That is far more valuable and cost effective in the long run.”

Mark goes on to explain how Rackspace Technology used machine during the pandemic. “We used data sources that were freely available on the internet, like mobility data, to predict hospitalizations and deaths in New York State. We outperformed the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) modelling. We were doing something for the better, the right kind of good. So that was extremely exciting.”

Alex elaborates on the theme of humanity benefitting from technology. “The democratization of data is really key. Insights can allay people's fears. A really simple example, my mum lives on the west coast of Scotland and was concerned about the local COVID rate spiking. My brother went to the Scottish Government website to show her the data and show her that there is nothing to worry about.

"For us, as businesses or organizations, to get insights from data and share that with the wider world, and for people to take advantage of that information is just fantastic. I think it's something we're probably going see more of. People will become their own data scientists at home."

 

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