Artificial Intelligence

Get up to speed on artificial intelligence and learn how it can help you drive business value with our curated collection of insights, reports and guides.

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is a constellation of many different technologies working together to enable machines to sense, comprehend, act, and learn with human-like levels of intelligence. Maybe that’s why it seems as though everyone’s definition of artificial intelligence is different: AI isn’t just one thing.
Technologies like machine learning and natural language processing are all part of the AI landscape. Each one is evolving along its own path and, when applied in combination with data, analytics and automation, can help businesses achieve their goals, be it improving customer service or optimizing the supply chain.
Narrow (or “weak”) AI
Some go even further to define artificial intelligence as “narrow” and “general” AI. Most of what we experience in our day-to-day lives is narrow AI, which performs a single task or a set of closely related tasks. Examples include:

Weather apps
Digital assistants
Software that analyzes data to optimize a given business function

These systems are powerful, but the playing field is narrow: They tend to be focused on driving efficiencies. But, with the right application, narrow AI has immense transformational power—and it continues to influence how we work and live on a global scale.

General (or “strong”) AI
General AI is more like what you see in sci-fi films, where sentient machines emulate human intelligence, thinking strategically, abstractly and creatively, with the ability to handle a range of complex tasks. While machines can perform some tasks better than humans (e.g. data processing), this fully realized vision of general AI does not yet exist outside the silver screen. That’s why human-machine collaboration is crucial—in today’s world, artificial intelligence remains an extension of human capabilities, not a replacement.


3 out of 4 C-suite executives believe that if they don’t scale artificial intelligence in the next five years, they risk going out of business entirely.

Artificial intelligence has long been a subject of anticipation among both popular and scientific culture, with the potential to transform businesses as well as the relationship between people and technology at large. So, why is AI usage reaching critical mass today?

Because of the proliferation of data and the maturity of other innovations in cloud processing and computing power, AI adoption is growing faster than ever. Companies now have access to an unprecedented amount of data, including dark data they didn’t even realize they had until now. These treasure troves are a boon to the growth of AI.

A critical source of business value—when done right
AI has long been regarded as a potential source of business innovation. With the enablers now in place, organizations are starting to see how AI can multiply value for them. Automation cuts costs and brings new levels of consistency, speed and scalability to business processes; in fact, some Accenture clients are seeing time savings of 70 percent. Even more compelling, however, is the ability of AI to drive growth. Companies that scale successfully see 3X the return on their AI investments compared to those who are stuck in the pilot stage. No wonder 84 percent of C-suite executives believe they must leverage AI to achieve their growth objectives.

Agility and competitive advantage
Artificial intelligence is not just about efficiency and streamlining laborious tasks. Thanks to machine learning and deep learning, AI applications can learn from data and results in near real time, analyzing new information from many sources and adapting accordingly, with a level of accuracy that’s invaluable to business. (product recommendations are a prime example.) This ability to self learn and self optimize means AI continually compounds the business benefits it generates.

In this way, AI helps businesses adapt at speed, with a regular stream of insights to drive innovation and competitive advantage in a world of constant disruption. When scaled, AI can become a key enabler of your strategic priorities—and even a lynchpin to survival: Three out of four C-suite executives believe that if they don’t scale artificial intelligence in the next five years, they risk going out of business entirely. Clearly, the stakes are high to scale AI.

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