In 2011, global tech visionary and investor Marc Andreessen declared, “Software is eating the world.” His message was bold but clear: technology had reached a point where it was capable of transforming industries on a global scale. 

The technology constraints of the past were gone. The possibilities for the future were endless. 

Of course, this was not ‘news’ for nimble disrupters like Amazon and Netflix. They were already living this reality. At the time Andresson’s post went live, Amazon was already a ‘software’ company and preparing to enter the tablet market with the launch of its Kindle Fire device. 

In contrast, within a month of Andressen’s post, Blockbuster – bought out of bankruptcy – tried to launch a digital rival to Netflix – Blockbuster Movie Pass. It was too little, too late. Ultimately, its failure to adapt to the software revolution led to its demise, allowing Netflix to flourish in its wake.

As software becomes everything, everything becomes software

While some were sceptical of Andressen’s projections at the time, he was spot on. From shopping to entertainment to how we manage our health and money, software has become the backbone of everything we do. Every business relies on it. It’s impossible to imagine life without it.

Fast-forward to today, and we hear the same bold predictions about artificial intelligence (AI). Of course, AI is not new; it’s been in the making for many years. Even back in 2011, there were rumblings of its potential with the launch of Siri and IBM Watson’s victory on Jeopardy. Despite a few false starts, this time is different. AI is here to stay. It’s no longer a question of if it will transform organisations but rather when and how.

Just as software has become the beating heart of every organisation, AI is now poised to take it to the next level.

So, what does this shift mean for your organisation, and what can you do to stay ahead?

AI—a new kind of software for solving problems

It is important to realise that AI is not a parallel or separate technology that competes with traditional software but rather an evolutionary advancement that extends and amplifies its capabilities. As a result, software can now address complex problems that were traditionally the domain of humans or were thought to be beyond human capability.

In reality, despite software ‘eating the world’, many business challenges and customer experiences have largely remained the same. While they may have moved from a physical to a digital form, human intervention is still needed to make them work. For example, in most customer service centres, humans still answer emails. 

But AI is changing this. For instance, Klarna’s AI assistant is now handling over 2.3 million conversations, nearly two-thirds of Klarna’s customer service chats.

AI offers a new kind of software. Software that can adapt and learn can change based on what it observes about the world from the data that it consumes, and ultimately, it brings software to a whole host of business problems that previously had been the sole domain of human decision-makers or had been at a scale where human decision making just wasn’t possible. Putting it this way, we can clearly see how software is just now beginning to meet its full potential in terms of efficiency and solving problems.

AI—a new kind of software for decision-making

It’s crucial to frame these problems as decisions in order to understand how AI can really help and benefit your organisation.

Decisions made by traditional software have long been meme-worthily characterised as “Computer says ‘no.’” That’s because traditional software is rigid, inflexible, and incapable of learning. AI, on the other hand, is flexible and can learn and develop continuously.  This makes it a powerful tool for organisations to simplify processes, improve customer experiences, and extract valuable data to make smarter decisions.

The best way to uncover AI’s potential in your organisation is to start by asking yourself: How can AI assist and complement my human decision-makers?

AI solutions to these problems will vary depending on a number of factors. Humans will continue to be necessary for some decisions. You can read more about our views on this here.

Don’t fear AI, embrace it.

As a technologist, AI practitioner, and someone who is genuinely passionate about an AI-enabled future, I want to encourage you to take action today. Don’t wait for tomorrow and miss out on opportunities this era offers.

At Faculty, we’ve had the privilege of being at the forefront of developing AI capabilities for over a decade now. It is exciting to see the new types of problems it is solving for our customers, and we know there is still so much potential to explore.

To echo Marc Andreessen’s recent words, “AI can make everything we care about better.” Imagine what that could mean for your organisation’s future.

Need help getting started? Let’s talk about how we can support your organisation to get on the right track with AI. Click here to contact our team.

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