AI for Non-Techies

Shaun Coghlan

Our copy writer Shaun explores his view on AI and delves into how he uses it everyday.

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If you’re anything like me, you aren’t especially talented when it comes to the world of technology. Even my computer and I are currently in a love-hate relationship where we are constantly pushing each other's buttons. 

But regardless of our lack of tech knowledge, you and I aren’t idiots. We’ve all heard about AI and how it's transforming every industry and changing how people do their jobs. We might have no idea how it works, but we are aware of its existence! 

So today, I wanted to approach AI from the viewpoint of someone with no background in the industry and share with you some ways that I am utilizing AI every day to improve my quality of work and share some tips I found that helped me through my journey. 


What the hell is AI in the first place? 

You've got to be kidding me, YOU haven’t heard of AI, Artificial Intelligence? Well, congratulations on leaving that rock you were living under. Put simply, AI is the title given to solutions capable of taking data and learning things like patterns or rules from it. 

For example, an AI product such as our own PolyVision Cameras can be trained to recognize a range of different items, people, etc., by training it on existing footage. By training the AI on what exactly you want it to detect, you become capable of integrating automated systems to then take that information and complete set tasks. 

Reusing PolyVision as an example, for a client, our team trained the AI solution to recognize different car types from captured footage. Our team did this by first showing the PolyVision AI footage of a highway and using software I'm not smart enough to tell you about, highlighted Cars as they passed. From there, they told the AI to do the same and set it so that every car it recognized correctly would earn points. This process was then run repeatedly, with the highest-scoring AI continuing onto the next stage of training. 

What's the point of this? Well, after so many levels of training, the AI becomes adept enough to not only recognize how many cars have traveled down the road but also more details such as color, car type, speed, and so much more. This data can then be fed through an automated process to deliver clients full reports on the ongoings of a filmed road. 

If this isn’t obvious, this doesn’t just apply to cameras and roads. AI can learn almost anything from automating data reports to creating artwork. You train an AI model with 1000 photos of an apple and then award it every time it creates an image of an apple; then eventually, it will be able to create you a whole fruit basket. 


AI is everywhere; it's time to start using it! 

Now, this might be a surprise to you, but if you own a mobile phone or computer, you’ve probably had AI affect you in some way already. From social media algorithms to email spam folders and personalized YouTube videos, everything nowadays seems to run on some form of AI. 

I can’t speak for you, but for me, this is a GREAT THING! Thanks to the implementation of AI in everything, we are getting greater access to streamlining repetitive tasks like never before. 

Even software such as PowerPoint now has its new “Designer” feature capable of assessing the words on a slide and providing you with customized designs to instantly improve your quality of work. 

So, regardless of what industry you're in, look at what tools are relevant to you and find out how you can start transforming your work life today. 

Tip 1: Not all AI is useful 

With AI being the word of the week for almost a year now, every company and their dog seems to have tried to jump on the bandwagon and create their own AI product. I’m warning you now, most of them are bad. As I mentioned above, training an AI model is about time and management, and most of these companies jumping on the AI trend are more interested in getting a product out the door and getting your money than creating a fully fleshed out product. 

What this can lead to is an AI that produces less than optimal results or worse, produces very close results, and you don’t recognize them as wrong until it becomes a problem. I know personally I have had a few cases where I have stopped using AI programs due to inconsistency issues. So, without publicly shaming these programs, all I will say is make sure to investigate any AI program before putting your money into it. 

What does AI mean for us non-tech people?   

A big worry that a lot of people, myself included, seem to have when it comes to AI is about job security. I mean, if a robot can pump out 20 articles a day and manage all Lynkz’s posts now, what chance does my career have in 5 years? 

While this is a scary thought, I like to think of it differently: “AI was made to make our jobs easier, not replace them.” Rather than running away screaming “AI Bad, CHAT GPT evil,” we should be running towards these technologies, embracing them, and asking “How can we push ourselves more now that we don’t have to focus on the mundane time-consuming tasks.” The future is moving towards us, regardless of how we feel, so the question is, how are you going to adapt once it’s here? 

Tip 2: Do not rely solely on AI 

That being said, as of the moment I'm writing this article, AI technology is still far too young to be left to its own devices. With even the best AI’s prone to making errors from time to time, it is important for us all to not become too reliant on this tempting technology. Whether it’s reading over reports before they are sent out or running tests to confirm that the AI has remained configured and hasn’t trained itself on the wrong things, I am a firm believer that there should always be an element of human control when it comes to AI. 

And truthfully, we are still a few years away before these AIs have reached a point where they can replace our copywriters and creatives. Can you imagine replacing this wit with a robot? I think not. 

All in all, AI is here, and we’d all better get used to it. It’s a super helpful tool that can speed up your day-to-day operations and take your workplace to the next level. While not perfect now, it’s only going to keep getting better, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. 

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