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What Today's Execs Need to Know About AI

Steve Safarowic
March 28, 2019
Last updated on
March 13, 2024

Big data and Artificial Intelligence(AI) are transforming organizations in multiple ways. From changing how decisions are made to automating low-level tasks, the AI and the Big Data are bringing massive efficiencies for businesses.

While Hong Kong was lagging behind tech hubs like Singapore, Shenzhen, and Shanghai in the past few years, it has recently opened up to the potential of data sciences.

From AI-based tech startups to data science applications in real estate, finance, and supply chain, Big Data is everywhere. No wonder executives today are expected to understand what Big Data is all about and how it can transform businesses.

What is Big Data and AI?

While there is no dearth of Big Data, AI and Machine Learning courses, few people really understand what these concepts are and what they represent.

Big Data defines very large sets of data; both structured and unstructured data. It then works on this data to get actionable insights on the basis of which executives can make more informed decisions. While businesses always had massive amounts of raw data, big data allows them to develop actionable insights. Big Data has single-handedly transformed how businesses make important decisions which is why there are so many data science and Big Data courses available in Hong Kong today.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the other hand, is a form of computing that enables machines to learn from input and react to it in a manner similar to human beings.

While AI and Big Data are intrinsically different, they do work well together. This is because AI needs large amounts of data to actually build its intelligence. This applies especially in Machine Learning. An image recognition app that uses Machine Learning algorithms for instance; uses thousands of images of airplanes to "learn" how to recognize an airplane.
How are they being applied in transformative ways across industries?

There's a reason why Big Data courses in Hong Kong have recently become so popular. In a survey of 250 C-suite executives in Hong Kong, 87% of the respondents said that AI is very important for improving their product offering. 92% said that AI was helping them transform their internal processes, and 57% said that AI will be a competitive differentiator for them in the next 2-3 years.

From automation of internal processes to product improvement to competitive advantage, AI is driving almost every aspect of business transformation. An HBR study found three main ways in which organisations are using AI.

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Process Automation

The most common use for Big Data and AI for businesses was process automation. Using RPA(Robotic Process Automation) to automate low-level administrative tasks in banks and financial service firms is a common example.

Cognitive Insight

The second use-case for AI is cognitive insight. 38% of the projects surveyed used AI and ML algorithms to detect patterns in large volumes of data and make decisions based on the resultant insights. Most Big Data courses in Hong Kong are also centered around cognitive insight.

Cognitive Engagement

Lastly, companies are using Big Data and AI to build projects that actually engage customers. These include NLP(Natural Language Processing)chatbots and intelligent agents.

Why has it become important for executives to understand Big Data and its potential?

There are two aspects to this. The first is that most companies are not able to implement AI projects at the pace they'd like because there is a huge skills gap. This skills gap exists not just in terms of finding data scientists or AI engineers but also in terms of non-tech executives who understand Big Data or AI enough to be part of these projects.
Plus, no matter how fast or advanced an AI algorithm is, it needs human beings who can feed it with the right data.

Secondly, when it comes to mid and senior-level executives, a knowledge of AI and Big Data is a must. Since most companies are banking on AI becoming a competitive advantage, only those executives who have a thorough understanding of how AI works can actually drive their companies towards an AI-driven future.

How to learn about AI and Big Data?

If you're wondering how to learn about AI and Big data, luckily there are a few exceptional machine learning courses and Big Data courses in Hong Kong. While online courses are a great option, an offline course that combines the advantages of cutting-edge curriculum with face-to-face interaction might be a better bet. While Hong Kong has not always been known for its AI, there are some high-quality offline courses that are available now.

Xccelerate's course on data science, for instance, is one of the best Big Data courses in Hong Kong. While there is a 16-week immersive course available, most working professionals prefer a part-time course. Just WhatsApp us for more info!

Summing up

Many executives are resistant to AI because of the traditional notion that AI will cause massive job losses. However, AI has now been around long enough for most leaders to acknowledge that it has the potential to transform their business. With Big Data and AI projects poised to grow in a big way in Hong Kong, this is the perfect time for you to gain a thorough understanding of AI and get ahead of the curve.

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