Why call it weak then? Because when the dream of creating an artificial intelligence became a possibility thanks to GPUs and rapid advances in storage tech, human imagination went berserk and we believed we would soon have humanoid helpers, sentient beings that grow beyond their programming and learn about the world just as humans do – by observing and experiencing “life”. Instead, best we’ve been able to do is an AI assistant who can, on voice command, book your flight tickets without trouble, but can’t actually be a sparkling conversationist on the journey. Which is fine, because honestly you want a human for that. Which is actually really fine, because your AI assistant did this without trouble. Which means it is really good at its job.
Still, this kind of AI is classified as “weak AI”. Just because it can’t make human-like scintillating conversation. However, what this term is missing is what it can do. And more importantly, what a number of focused, accurate and fast models can do together – which can be quite significant.
Consider a module that can help take away one of the biggest pain points of a B2B distributor – that of ensuring the up-to-date-ness of supplier data. Such as pricing, images, user manuals, warranties, installation guides, technical specifications and any other digital asset, including the activation or deactivation of SKUs. Suppliers and manufacturers are frequently making changes to product data, and whether the distributor knows this on time is at best touch-and-go. It is definitely not good business to provide customers with outdated product information. Or worse, tell them about a product that isn’t even made any more. Or fail to tell them that a color variant they specifically asked for is now available. Or name a price that is current, but for a different region. There could be any number of scenarios where the distributor would have to go back to customers and give them new information along with apologies.
It needn’t be this way. It is definitely possible for distributors to have the most current information on every product, down to the last SKU, if only they would harness the power of the most inaptly named “weak AI”. It would be more accurate to call it “focused AI” whose one job, in this particular case, is to monitor supplier websites and immediately flag any change that is going to affect the distributor. And what a job that is! Done correctly and consistently, it eliminates the need to manually open up the website of every supplier and check every digital asset of every product they sell, and compare this with the data on hand to see if something has changed. Not only is this task pure drudgery, it is also inefficient and prone to errors and misses, if done completely manually. However, when a human teams up with an AI module, the performance efficiency can be staggeringly high. Imagine a pair of eyes that never get tired, never miss a SKU, and can spot every small change in a document, all in a matter of seconds, and potentially forever. This information is organized and presented to a human in neat, color-coded categorization, with ability to drill down to details or take a high-level view, whatever suits the human for the next task, which, if all goes according to plan, should not involve apologies.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash