经济学人官方译文 | 商业中的人工智能 Artificial intelligence in business

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Artificial intelligence in business
GrAIt expectations
Artificial intelligence is spreading beyond the technology sector, with big consequences for companies, workers and consumers, says Alexandra Suich Bass

商业中的人工智能
远大前程
本文作者亚历山德拉·苏伊希·巴斯观察认为:人工智能的传播已超越技术领域,给企业、员工及消费者带来重大影响

LIE DETECTORS ARE not widely used in business, but Ping An, a Chinese insurance company, thinks it can spot dishonesty. The company lets customers apply for loans through its app. Prospective borrowers answer questions about their income and plans for repayment by video, which monitors around 50 tiny facial expressions to determine whether they are telling the truth. The program, enabled by artificial intelligence (AI), helps pinpoint customers who require further scrutiny.
测谎仪并未在企业中广泛应用,但中国平安保险公司相信自己能探测谎言。这家公司让客户通过它的一款应用程序来申请贷款。未来的贷款人在视频中回答有关收入和还款计划的问题。视频会监测他们的大概50个细微面部表情,判断他们是否在说真话。这套人工智能(AI)驱动的程序帮助筛查出需要进一步审核的客户。

AI will change more than borrowers’ bank balances. Johnson & Johnson, a consumer-goods firm, and Accenture, a consultancy, use AI to sort through job applications and pick the best candidates. AI helps Caesars, a casino and hotel group, guess customers’ likely spending and offer personalised promotions to draw them in.

Bloomberg, a media and financial-information firm, uses AI to scan companies’ earnings releases and automatically generate news articles. Vodafone, a mobile operator, can predict problems with its network and with users’ devices before they arise. Companies in every industry use AI to monitor cyber-security threats and other risks, such as disgruntled employees.

AI将改变的不仅仅是贷款人的账户余额。消费品公司强生和咨询公司埃森哲(Accenture)用AI查看应聘资料,筛选出最佳人选。AI帮助赌场和酒店集团凯撒娱乐(Caesars)估测客人的消费水平,提供个性化促销来吸引他们。媒体和金融信息公司彭博社用AI扫描企业财报,自动生成新闻报道。移动运营商沃达丰(Vodafone)用AI监测其网络和用户设备,提前预警故障。各行各业的公司都在使用AI监控网络安全威胁和其他风险,比如心怀不满的员工。

Instead of relying on gut instinct and rough estimates, cleverer and speedier AI-powered predictions promise to make businesses much more efficient. At Leroy Merlin, a French home-improvement retailer, managers used to order new stock on Fridays, but defaulted to the same items as the week before so they could start their weekend sooner.

The firm now uses algorithms to take in past sales data and other information that could affect sales, such as weather forecasts, in order to stock shelves more effectively. That has helped it reduce its inventory by 8% even as sales have risen by 2%, says Manuel Davy of Vekia, the AI startup that engineered the program.

相比依赖直觉和粗略的估算,更聪明也更快速的AI预测将帮助企业大幅提高效率。法国家居装饰零售商乐华梅兰(Leroy Merlin)的管理层以前每周五下新订单,默认的设置是重复前一周的订单,这样大家可以早点下班过周末。现在,公司用算法来斟酌历史销售数据和天气预报等其他可能影响销售的信息,以更有效地安排库存。据创建该算法的AI创业公司Vekia的曼纽尔·戴维(Manuel Davy)说,这帮助该公司将库存减少了8%,同时销售额却增长了2%。

经济学人官方译文节选 | 商业中的人工智能 Artificial intelligence in business

AI and machine learning (terms that are often used interchangeably) involve computers crunching vast quantities of data to find patterns and make predictions without being explicitly programmed to do so. Larger quantities of data, more sophisticated algorithms and sheer computing power have given AI greater force and capability. The outcomes are often similar to what an army of statisticians with unlimited time and resources might have come up with, but they are achieved far more quickly, cheaply and efficiently.

AI和机器学习(这两个术语常被混用)用计算机处理查看海量数据,从中找出模式并做出预测,而不需要编程来作出明确的指示。更多数据、更复杂的算法和更高的计算能力已经赋予了AI更强大的能力。它得出的结果往往和一大批拥有无限时间和资源的统计师所得的差不多,但它远为快速、便宜和高效。

One of AI’s main effects will be a dramatic drop in the cost of making predictions, says Ajay Agrawal of the University of Toronto and co-author of a new book, “Prediction Machines”. Just as electricity made lighting much more affordable—a given level of lighting now costs around 400 times less than it did in 1800—so AI will make forecasting more affordable, reliable and widely available.

AI的主要成果之一将是令做预测的成本大幅下降,新书《预测机器》(Prediction Machines)的合著者、多伦多大学的阿杰伊·阿格拉沃尔(Ajay Agrawal)表示。就像电力让照明变得便宜了许多——如今的照明成本比1800年时低400倍左右——AI会让做预测更便宜、更可靠、更普及。

Computers have been able to read text and numbers for decades, but have only recently learned to see, hear and speak. AI is an omnibus term for a “salad bowl” of different segments and disciplines, says Fei-Fei Li, director of Stanford’s AI Lab and an executive at Google’s cloud-computing unit. Subsections of AI include robotics, which is changing factories and assembly lines, and computer vision, used in applications from identifying something or someone in a photo to self-driving-car technology.

Computer vision is AI’s “killer app”, says Ms Li, because it can be used in so many settings, but AI has also become more adept at recognising speech. It underlies voice assistants on phones and home speakers and allows algorithms to listen to calls and take in the speaker’s tone and content.

计算机能阅读文本和数字已经有几十年了,但直到最近才学会了看、听、说。AI是一个综合性术语,就像是涵盖了不同领域和学科的“一碗色拉”,斯坦福大学人工智能实验室主管、谷歌云计算部门负责人李飞飞说。它的下属分支包括正在改变工厂和组装线的机器人技术,以及部署在各种应用程序中的计算机视觉——从识别照片中的人或物到无人驾驶汽车技术等。李飞飞说,计算机视觉是AI的“杀手级应用”,因为运用场合是如此之多,但AI在语音识别方面也已变得更加娴熟。它是配备在手机和家用音箱上的语音助理的技术基础,还让算法能够监听来电并识别说话者的语调和内容。

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