Resident Experts with Dr. Lak Lakshmanan

Entrata’s Virginia Love recently sat down with Lak Lakshmanan, Operating Executive, Data Science for Silver Lake to discuss the impact AI is having on businesses currently and what they can do to leverage it in the future to increase efficiency and deliver a better customer experience. Below is a recap of some of the highlights of their conversation. If you want to watch a recording of the webinar, click here.

ChatGPT took the industry by surprise this year

If you were to ask people in early 2023 if they knew what ChatGPT was, odds are a vast majority wouldn’t know what you were talking about. Fast forward a few months and it’s amazing how far we’ve come with AI and ChatGPT, in particular. Now, it’s a technology that’s accepted as something that’s going to drive content creation going forward. Even if we still don’t know exactly what its applications will be.

In what ways does AI act human

What are some of the key characteristics that make a human a human? They have senses. They can touch, taste, hear, see, and speak. When we say that AI is machines acting like humans that’s what we mean. They have ‘senses’ so to speak. They don’t have eyes but they have cameras that give them sight, they don’t have ears or mouths but they have smart speakers that can “hear” and answer our questions. Taste is a little harder, but there are some AI programs that can look at something like the chemical composition of wine and tell what region the grapes were grown in.

Where AI is vastly superior to humans is it is constantly taking in new information and learning and getting better. When companies leverage those learnings to reduce friction and improve the customer experience, that’s how they’ll win/gain an advantage over the competition.

To illustrate this point, Lakshmanan offered the example of how things have changed with how eye examinations are completed. In the past, patients would have to have their pupils dilated before the doctor was able to conduct the examination. And because of the dilation, the patient couldn’t drive for at least 30 minutes after the appointment. Now, there are machines that are able to look into the eye more efficiently and less invasively, helping the doctor make a better diagnosis and making the experience better for the patient.

AI and Automation will work hand in hand

When it comes to the relationship between automation and AI, automation is the end goal. The first thing you need to do is identify manual, repeatable processes that you can utilize technology to help those processes move more seamlessly and eliminate bottlenecks. AI doesn’t create automation, but it helps enable the processes and ensures your processes will be more scalable as you grow.

In what ways will AI continue to develop?

AI is typically used to help individuals or companies make better decisions. When you’re starting to train the AI, you’ll want to create a simple rule where if the rule is met then the process can continue. If it isn’t met, then it can’t. That’s AI in its simplest form.

But as we all know, most processes aren’t that simple and straight forward. There are hundreds if not thousands of variables that need to be considered, so the next step is to incorporate those variables. The cool thing about AI is it can take into account all of those variables at once and help you make correct decisions based on the criteria you provide. And over time the AI will learn and improve and make better decisions. This is what’s called deep learning and it’s how humans learn.

“You now have this evolution of going from something that is super simple and very straightforward, very rule-based to learning from data, to learning from unstructured real world information to actually explaining the decision,” said Lakshamanan.

AI is nothing to be scared of

AI might seem ‘scary’ now, but in 5-10 years it will just be normal. If you watch old episodes of Law & Order from the early 2000s, many of them centered around the dangers of the internet,  but now we don’t think about ‘the information superhighway’ that way. We see it as a necessity to help us with almost everything and that’s how AI is going to be in the future.

Incorporating AI into your processes

When it comes to incorporating AI into your processes, Lakshmanan said it comes down to these four factors. 

  1. Can AI reduce the friction involved in a customer taking advantage of your service

  2. Are you confident in the data that you are inputting into your AI system

  3. Are you looking to be more scalable?

  4. Do you want to  be more efficient?

We need to remember that AI isn’t there to replace us. It’s to help us be more efficient and more accurate all while reducing friction for the end customer.

Learn more

To hear the entirety of Virginia and Lak’s conversation, you can access the latest episode of our Resident Experts series here.