Leaders face more complex decisions than ever before. For example, many must deliver new and better services for their communities while meeting sustainability and equity goals. At the same time, many need to find ways to operate and manage their budgets more efficiently. So how can these leaders make complex decisions and get them right in an increasingly tricky business landscape? The answer lies in harnessing technological tools like Artificial Intelligence (AI).

CHONGQING, CHINA – AUGUST 22: A visitor interacts with a NewGo AI robot during the Smart China Expo … [+] 2022 on August 22, 2022 in Chongqing, China. The expo, held annually in Chongqing since 2018, is a platform to promote global exchanges of smart technologies and international cooperation in the smart industry. (Photo by Chen Chao/China News Service via Getty Images)

China News Service via Getty Images

What is AI?

AI can help leaders in several different ways. It can be used to process and make decisions on large amounts of data more quickly and accurately. AI can also help identify patterns and trends that would otherwise be undetectable. This information can then be used to inform strategic decision-making, which is why AI is becoming an increasingly important tool for businesses and governments. A recent study by PwC found that 52% of companies accelerated their AI adoption plans in the last year. In addition, 86% of companies believe that AI will become a mainstream technology at their company imminently. As AI becomes more central in the business world, leaders need to understand how this technology works and how they can best integrate it into their operations.

At its simplest, AI is a computer system that can learn and work independently without human intervention. This ability makes AI a powerful tool. With AI, businesses and public agencies can automate tasks, get insights from data, and make decisions with little or no human input. Consequently, AI can be a valuable problem-solving tool for leaders across the private and public sectors, primarily through three methods.

1) Automation

One of AI’s most beneficial ways to help leaders is by automating tasks. This can free up time to focus on other essential things. For example, AI can help a city save valuable human resources by automating parking enforcement. In addition, this will help improve the accuracy of detecting violations and prevent costly mistakes. Automation can also help with things like appointment scheduling and fraud detection.

2) Insights from data

Another way AI can help leaders solve problems is by providing insights from data. With AI, businesses can gather large amounts of data and then use that data to make better decisions. For example, suppose a company is trying to decide which products to sell. In that case, AI can be used to gather data about customer buying habits and then use that data to make recommendations about which products to market.

3) Simulations

Finally, AI can help leaders solve problems by allowing them to create simulations. With AI, organizations can test out different decision scenarios and see what the potential outcomes could be. This can help leaders make better decisions by examining the consequences of their choices. For example, a city might use AI to simulate different traffic patterns to see how a new road layout would impact congestion.

Choosing the Right Tools

Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies can revolutionize how governments and businesses solve real-world problems,” said Chris Carson, CEO of Hayden AI, a global leader in intelligent enforcement technologies powered by artificial intelligence. His company addresses a problem once thought unsolvable in the transit world: managing illegal parking in bus lanes in a cost effective, scalable way.

Illegal parking in bus lanes is a major problem for cities and their transit agencies. Cars and trucks illegally parked in bus lanes force buses to merge into general traffic lanes, significantly slowing down transit service and making riders’ trips longer. That’s where a company like Hayden AI comes in. “Hayden AI uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to detect and process illegal parking in bus lanes in real-time so that cities can take proactive measures to address the problem,” Carson observes.

Illegal parking in bus lanes is a huge problem for transit agencies. Hayden AI works with transit … [+] agencies to fix this problem by installing its AI-powered camera systems on buses to conduct automated enforcement of parking violations in bus lanes

Hayden AI

In this case, an AI-powered camera system is installed on each bus. The camera system uses computer vision to “watch” the street for illegal parking in the bus lane. When it detects a traffic violation, it sends the data back to the parking authority. This allows the parking authority to take action, such as sending a ticket to the offending vehicle’s owner.

The effectiveness of AI is entirely dependent on how you use it. As former Accenture chief technology strategist Bob Suh notes in the Harvard Business Review, problem-solving is best when combined with AI and human ingenuity. “In other words, it’s not about the technology itself; it’s about how you use the technology that matters. AI is not a panacea for all ills. Still, when incorporated into a company’s problem-solving repertoire, it can be an enormously powerful tool,” concludes Terence Mauri, founder of Hack Future Lab, a global think tank.

Split the Responsibility

Huda Khan, an academic researcher from the University of Aberdeen, believes that AI is critical for international companies’ success, especially in the era of disruption. Khan is calling international marketing academics’ research attention towards exploring such transformative approaches in terms of how these inform competitive business practices, as are international marketing academics Michael Christofi from the Cyprus University of Technology; Richard Lee from the University of South Australia; Viswanathan Kumar from St. John University; and Kelly Hewett from the University of Tennessee. “AI is very good at automating repetitive tasks, such as customer service or data entry. But it’s not so good at creative tasks, such as developing new products,” Khan says. “So, businesses need to think about what tasks they want to automate and what tasks they want to keep for humans.”

Khan believes that businesses need to split the responsibility between AI and humans. For example, Hayden AI’s system is highly accurate and only sends evidence packages of potential violations for human review. Once the data is sent, human analysis is still needed to make the final decision. But with much less work to do, government agencies can devote their employees to tasks that can’t be automated.

Backed up by efficient, effective data analysis, human problem-solving can be more innovative than ever. Like all business transitions, developing the best system for combining human and AI work might take some experimentation, but it can significantly impact future success. For example, if a company is trying to improve its customer service, it can use AI startup Satisfi’s natural language processing technology. This technology can understand a customer’s question and find the best answer from a company’s knowledge base. Likewise, if a company tries to increase sales, it can use AI startup Persado’s marketing language generation technology. This technology can be used to create more effective marketing campaigns by understanding what motivates customers and then generating language that is more likely to persuade them to make a purchase.

Look at the Big Picture

A technological solution can frequently improve performance in multiple areas simultaneously. For instance, Hayden AI’s automated enforcement system doesn’t just help speed up transit by keeping bus lanes clear for buses; it also increases data security by limiting how much data is kept for parking enforcement, which allows a city to increase the efficiency of its transportation while also protecting civil liberties.

This is the case with many technological solutions. For example, an e-commerce business might adopt a better data architecture to power a personalized recommendation option and benefit from improved SEO. As a leader, you can use your big-picture view of your company to identify critical secondary benefits of technologies. Once you have the technologies in use, you can also fine-tune your system to target your most important priorities at once.

In summary, AI technology is constantly evolving, becoming more accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes. By harnessing the power of AI, leaders can make better decisions, improve efficiency, and drive innovation. However, it’s important to remember that AI is not a silver bullet. Therefore, organizations must use AI and humans to get the best results.