Every once in awhile, an innovation comes along that irrevocably changes the way we communicate with each other and how we share and process knowledge. The printing press did it. So did Facebook. Could artificial intelligence (AI) be the next big disruptor?
Although AI has been around since as early as the 1950s, it’s grown in leaps and bounds over the last several years, continuing to integrate itself into more and more aspects of everyday life. Cars that drive themselves. A hotel staffed by robots. Supercomputers better at game shows than we are. With software getting smarter, learning at a rate that often far surpasses our own, it forces us to question and adapt in how we manage knowledge.
Making Data More Digestible
The simultaneously best and worst part of being connected to a global internet that never runs out of resources is just that; the staggering amount of information available. Even within a single corporation, the depth of data collected over years of business can be intimidating, and finding what you need can easily take on the feel of searching for a needle in a haystack. Knowledge management is what allows us to make sense of all that information, to share and implement the knowledge we capture.
Where, then, does artificial intelligence come into play? AI enables us to sort through all those channels of data with incredible efficiency, narrowing in on the most relevant sources. Difficult and time-consuming tasks become less so, freeing us to focus on applying the information we receive.
David McCullars, VP of Engineering at Bloomfire, explains: “In decision making, information is king. Thankfully in today’s world, we have a near endless supply of data, but that data on its own is typically just useless noise. This is where AI comes in. AI can efficiently distill and transform massive amounts of data into a form that we humans can pair with our tacit knowledge to make consistently good decisions.”
In short, processing data becomes more efficient, with less (human) work required.
Cognitive Computing and the Power of Automated Data Processing
Going hand in hand with artificial intelligence is cognitive computing, a branch of computer science which mimics the functionality of the human brain. For example, some software may search for patterns, applying logic to compound and improve processes based on outcomes. Others may organize data so that content is more easily found. Capable of learning your preferences, they suggest increasingly relevant results, thus cutting out hours, even days, of culling through data.
Several fields where research is bread and butter have already begun to take advantage. Law firms are now so successfully utilizing cognitive computing for researching precedent that a 2015 survey revealed half of firm leadership believe it will eventually replace the role of paralegals altogether.
Marketing and sales are further instances, their AI tools offering practices as varied as deep learning, to better identify relationships and customer wants; search engine optimization and ad targeting for increased profit; and career coaching.
And those are only a few recent examples. As we continue to develop new applications, cognitive software will be applied to any number of industries, cross-departmentally, from routine solutions for IT to conversational interfaces and chatbots for customer service.
A New Era of Knowledge Sharing
The way companies share knowledge is changing rapidly — and a major part of that is the incorporation of AI. Knowledge sharing software is increasingly reliant on it, raising new questions, and, in turn, introducing new thought processes.
As company knowledge continues to grow, so does the difficulty of processing it to form opinions and make decisions. One way knowledge sharing can help is by consolidating information, making it findable, and predictably surfacing relevant content to employees who could benefit from it. Imagine the power of being able to sort through all the knowledge your company possesses, and surface unique content recommendations for each member of your team.
Part of that process involves leveraging AI. By automatically tagging content and deep indexing all file types, knowledge sharing platforms help employees quickly get what they need – even if that’s the exact moment a word was spoken in a video. This can not only make research more efficient but can help transfer knowledge and best practices from your experts to the rest of your company.
While it’s still too early to predict the full impact of artificial intelligence, what’s already clear is that, with the opportunity it represents, there’s never been a more exciting time for knowledge sharing.