How To Cut Through The AI Nonsense And Find The Gold

Most “AI” companies I’ve spoken with aren’t actually deploying artificial intelligence. They are instead using rules-based engines, which are essentially glorified IF/THEN statements. Rules-based engines are valuable in many contexts, particularly in a product’s early days, but are manipulated by humans and therefore not scaleable. The most successful branch of AI in solving business problems today is supervised machine learning- a system that takes labeled inputs and generates outputs in an automated learning loop. Over time, the quality of the output improves by tracking input/output pairs across a variety of contexts. A simple way to start to understand if a startup is using true AI is to ask what these input/output pairs are. If the entrepreneur can’t articulate them clearly, there probably isn’t AI under the hood. Another way to dig in: Ask a customer if their results are getting better over time. If they are, and you’ve confirmed there’s an automated learning loop in place, your chance of striking gold is much higher.


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