Risks and limitations of artificial intelligence in business

Artificial intelligence (AI) involves giving machines and programs the ability to think like a human. Businesses are increasingly looking for ways to put this technology to work to improve their productivity, profitability and business results.

However, while there are many business benefits of artificial intelligence, there are also certain barriers and disadvantages to keep in mind.

Limitations of artificial intelligence
One of the main limitation of AI is the cost. Creation of smart technologies can be expensive, due to their complex nature and the need for repair and ongoing maintenance.

Software programs need regular upgrading to adapt to the changing business environment and, in case of breakdown, present a risk of losing code or important data. Restoring this is often time-consuming and costly.

Other AI limitations relate to:
• implementation times, which are often lengthy
• integration challenges and lack of understanding of the state-of-the-art systems
• usability and interoperability with other systems and platforms

If you’re deciding whether to take on AI-driven technology, you should also consider:
• customer privacy
• potential lack of transparency
• technological complexity
• loss of control over your business decisions and strategy

AI and ethical concerns
With the rapid development of AI, a number of ethical issues have cropped up. These include:

• the potential of automation technology to give rise to job losses
• the need to redeploy or retrain employees to keep them in jobs
• fair distribution of wealth created by machines
• the effect of machine interaction on human behaviour and attention
• the need to eliminate bias in AI that is created by humans
• the security of AI systems (eg autonomous weapons) that can potentially cause damage
• the need to mitigate against unintended consequences, as smart machines are thought to learn and develop independently

While these risks can’t be ignored, it is worth keeping in mind that advances in AI can – for the most part – create better business and better lives for everyone. If implemented responsibly, artificial intelligence has immense and beneficial potential.

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