Alpharetta companies have potential to use artificial intelligence

This article was originally published for Appen Media Group.

July 26, 2017

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Alpharetta companies may soon employ artificial intelligence as part of their business plans. In fact, it’s already begun.

Local business leaders attended a panel discussion June 27 featuring four companies that already use AI in their work. Representatives at the Startup Connect event at the Alpharetta Innovation Center told attendees how the systems can help a business and some of the challenges they’ve encountered.

Arul Murugan, CEO of Alpharetta-based Eleven Eleven Investments, hosted the panel discussion.

Murugan said he sees a huge growth in the business application of systems that emulate aspects of human cognition. And while his company is in the early stages of adopting AI, he wanted to introduce the topic by bringing in representatives from other firms with more experience in the field.

Murugan said the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which blends digital and physical worlds, is beginning. Using AI will allow Alpharetta companies to stay ahead of competition, he said.

“Being in the forefront of technology adoption in the last decade and having the infrastructure and talent, Alpharetta companies are well positioned to use machine learning, Robotic Process Automation, Chatbots and advanced analytics,” he said.

The panel included J.P. James of Atlanta-based Leap Credit, who told the crowd that artificial intelligence systems are like infants with the brain maturity of adults. They use neural networks similar to the human neocortex, he said.

AI systems need an objective, and they must receive feedback on performance as well as sensory input and output, James said.

“If you don’t have a goal for AI, it’s very hard to design an AI system,” James said.

Efficiency is another consideration when employing AI, he said.

“You don’t want to give feedback on how to give a handstand if you’re trying to achieve walking,” James said. “A lot of systems are inefficient because they’re being given so much data to process that aren’t statistically relevant.”

James said AI can be made useful in all-size companies. Most powerful AI systems are now being ported over to the cloud, remote servers that can be accessed online.

An issue that companies may run into is the cost of data transfer, James said. While larger companies may allow smaller startups to use AI to get up and running, James said costs for managing systems can be expensive from an infrastructure standpoint.

This can be tricky for startups, because once they are stuck in one system, it can be hard to get out, James said. However, he added, small companies can piggyback on big companies who have infrastructure in place or can more afford it.

Other panelists included: Rajen Palaniswamy of Softwear Automation, George Murphy of Adcuratio and Dustin Ward of Splitty.

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