Disrupt or be disrupted: the impact of AI on industries


The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a game-changer for industries across the globe. From finance and healthcare to transportation and entertainment, AI is revolutionising the way we live and work. As businesses navigate this rapidly evolving landscape, one thing is clear: adapt or face disruption. Gone are the days when AI was confined to the realms of science fiction. Today, it is a tangible force that has already transformed numerous industries, reshaping business models and challenging traditional norms. With its ability to process massive amounts of data, identify patterns, and make informed predictions, AI offers unprecedented opportunities for innovation and efficiency.

Digital Strategist Alyssa Schroer describes AI as a broad branch of computer science that aims to develop machines that are capable of performing tasks that require human intelligence. AI has revolutionised the way people work (WOW) and the speed at which they work (SOW). There is no denying that artificial intelligence has become the order of the day, and every industry has adopted one or more artificial intelligence tools. In developed countries, it is more prevalent; but it is also spreading rapidly to developing countries, including sub-Saharan Africa and Ghana – to be more precise.  Using AI, machines can simulate or even surpass the capabilities of the human mind. With globally adopted and generative AI tools like Chat GPT and Google’s Bard, and self-driving cars through Google Maps, AI is becoming more and more ubiquitous, and companies across every industry are investing in it.

A simple description of how AI works is that large data sets are combined with intuitive processing algorithms. AI manipulates algorithms by learning behaviour patterns in datasets. It is critical to understand that AI is not a single algorithm but rather a complete machine learning system that solves problems and proposes solutions as sited in the article by Kortney Phillips, Working smart, not harder: How AI will transform events. Artificial intelligence operates through five main steps.

These include inputs, processing, data outcomes, adjustments and assessment. AI, like big data, has become a major phenomenon worldwide. AI has redefined work processes and digital product and service delivery. It enables industries to adopt modern ways of working and delivering products and services. For example, AI integration into payment gateways allows customers to conveniently request goods and services from their homes or offices. Local industries can access banking products through Internet banking solutions. This includes online ordering of raw materials, payments, tracking delivery timelines, and receiving orders from customers. AI has enhanced local industries’ efficiency across all sectors of the economy.

In Ghana, the increasing presence of financial technology companies (Fintechs) in indicates significant growth in AI, with cutting-edge technologies disrupting the financial sector and shaping human interaction in the digital ecosystem. Innovative products, such as mobile-based crowdfunding solutions, balance inquiries, customer services, remittance services, and insurance technologies empowered by AI are examples of this transformation. Also, demand-driven services like transportation benefit from AI through Google location systems and maps. In the banking sector, AI is utilised for chatbot solutions that assist with customer service, credit scoring, fraud prevention, account management, loan applications, and money transfers. Telecommunications, insurance, e-commerce, hospitality, agriculture and other industries in Ghana also deploy AI tools to meet their business needs. AI’s impact on Ghana’s digital ecosystem is substantial, driving efficiency in the new technology-driven world.

Despite AI’s benefits, concerns about job losses and increased unemployment persist. However, instead of focusing on job losses, employees should adapt to the digital world. They should acquire knowledge and skills in the digital ecosystem and explore new AI opportunities. The evolution of the digital ecosystem necessitates learning, adoption and active participation. If an AI tool can reduce an 8-hour task to just 10 minutes, it is prudent to embrace the tool as it reduces man-hours, costs and errors, and enhances job delivery efficiency.

One of the issues that has gained currency in the wake of massive deployment of AI technology is whether or not businesses are at risk of disruption if they do not embrace AI. Disruption is subjective. However, if a business’ vision and mission involve expanding its client base, growing revenue, reducing costs, and entering new markets, incorporating technology-based solutions powered by AI is essential for relevance. Businesses can choose to embrace technologically advanced digital edge solutions and boost revenue, improve customer service delivery, increase their intention to recommend (ITR) and intention to purchase (ITP), and ultimately enhance their return on investment (ROI).

Deploying AI tools is non-negotiable in today’s business environment. Industries can partner Fintech companies or develop their own AI tools to drive efficiency. A technology-focused business may develop its own AI tools while non-technology businesses like banks can partner with enhanced payment service providers (Fintech) and telecommunication network providers to offer AI-powered solutions to customers, including corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individuals. This allows them to stay innovative in the market to attract and convert customers based on convenience and security.

AI’s benefits outweigh its disadvantages. One significant disadvantage is the cost of developing and implementing AI tools along with potential security concerns. However, there are several benefits to consider. AI enables quick data and research analysis, allowing information gathering and predictions within minutes. This is a task that takes humans hours. AI also reduces errors by comprehensively understanding all possible outcomes and selecting the best decision. Additionally, AI frees up employees to focus on critical projects by handling repetitive tasks. AI facilitates intelligent decision-making by providing unbiased predictions and problem-solving based on high-quality data.

In conclusion, as we navigate the age of AI, it is crucial for businesses and individuals to embrace the technology and harness its potential. Organisations that fail to adapt may find themselves on the losing end of disruption. Governments and policy-makers must also play a role in establishing regulatory frameworks that address ethical concerns, ensure data privacy, and foster responsible AI deployment.

The impact of AI on industries is profound and far-reaching. It is transforming the way we work, altering business landscapes and redefining our relationship with technology. Embracing this disruption and understanding the possibilities it presents will be vital for organisations to stay competitive and thrive in the AI-powered future.

 Abdul-Wahab is the Head, Client Implementation & Channel Solutions – Stanbic Bank Ghana


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