Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the way it could completely change our lives are two of the most current and discussed topics in Latin America and the rest of the world. The responsibility for this is often laid at the door of new ventures, since they are expected to generate innovations that will lead to the massification of technology. However, large companies such as Google, Microsoft, IBM – among many others – are also betting heavily on the development of AI.
A good study about AI entrepreneurship in Latin America was recently launched by Endeavor and Everis. This article discusses some aspects of this issue following Wholemeaning’s observation of developments in the region.
Entrepreneurship solves problems
One of the first questions that come up when dealing with new technologies is how to encourage their adoption by companies. This is the main challenge, chiefly because of the (often unjustified) popular belief that decision-makers do not understand AI properly. The amount and variety of doubts about what AI is and what it can do are impressive. Popular myths range from the creation of Skynet and AI’s impending takeover, to the solution of completely irrelevant issues.
Because of this, for Wholemeaning it was key to thrust the concept of Artificial Intelligence aside and to focus on real solutions. The truth is that Wholemeaning is not an AI company, but one that seeks to make account managers happier. We do not use Artificial Intelligence to replace them, we want technology to empower them and to help them become super executives who can manage their time better. We use AI to achieve this goal: it is a means, not an end, for our company. The value our company gives to our clients would be the same if there were an army of people analyzing messages and delivering feedback to executives, but the cost would probably be greater than the value if that were the case.
The key is to understand that, at the end of the day, companies sell solutions. Certainly, the fact that these are supported by an Artificial Intelligence allows these services to be offered, but the key to the success of many companies does not lie in selling AI, but rather in delivering a solution that has Artificial Intelligence as one of its components. Artificial Intelligence is clearly the basis of what is done – which means that innovation in methods, algorithms, etc., must be constant –, but that does not mean that we must lose sight of the objective we want to achieve.
How to compete in Latin America
It is likely that, in the near future, 95% of the solutions designed for a diversity of problems will incorporate an AI component. It is important not to get carried away by fads – like using special terms to show off technological expertise –, but to understand the reasons why the solution is being delivered. If we only consider algorithms, competing against big players will become increasingly difficult, not only in terms of budget, but also in terms of the control of trainable data they possess.
The key to all entrepreneurship – as it has always been – will be to find problems and deliver solutions.
Placing the focus on Latin America reveals substantial opportunities. In Latin America, companies trust local artificial intelligence ventures much more than traditional companies, chiefly because the latter have been trained with data from markets that are vastly different from ours, as has been empirically proved by contrasting local and foreign solutions.